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Breaking News

HSE closes Scariff Health Centre for refurbishment

THE HSE is carrying out refurbishments to Scariff Health Centre commencing on Monday next (October 19) which will require the closure of the Centre for approximately 6-8 weeks. Services will be relocated to Tulla Health Centre, Broadford Health Centre and Scariff Medical Centre for the duration of these works. Queries for services can be directed to Tulla Health Centre at 065 -835264 or 061-921286. The HSE said in a statement that it apologises for any inconvenience caused as a result of this closure and looks forward to welcoming back clients into a newly refurbished Scariff Health Centre as soon as possible.

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Hospital Doesn’t Confirm Opening Date for €19.5 Million 60-bed Unit

THE UL Hospitals’ Group hasn’t announced a definite opening date for the long-awaited €19.5 million 60-bed ward block at the University Hospital Limerick (UHL), despite a pledge for a government minister it is expected to be in operation by Monday, November 9. A new 60-bed ward modular unit was established to provide a rapid build interim solution to begin to address the bed capacity issue at UHL in response to the National Capacity Review by the Department of Health. The four-storey ward block will provide an additional 60 beds for the hospital, all single patient rooms with ensuites. Additional single rooms will help to improve patient comfort, safety, privacy and dignity and assist with the management of infection control in the hospital. Overcrowding has continued to be a major problem for Clare patients at the hospital, which regularly has the highest number of patients in the country waiting on trolleys. Responding to Clare Champion queries after this issue was raised …

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GP warning over flouting of self-isolation guidelines

AS CLARE’S Covid-19 infection rate continues to rise, a busy family doctor has warned that many people, who should be self-isolating, in line with public health advice, are failing to do so and putting others at risk. Dr Yvonne Williams from Shannon said she was concerned that people who should be restricting their movements, while they have potential symptoms, are not listening to the advice of their GPs or the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). ‘What I am finding is that people are still going out and about with coughs and other possible symptoms,” she said. “The truth is that you can’t say that something is just a sinus infection, or just a chest infection or a just a sore throat until you have a negative Covid-19 test. If you are unwell in any way, we have to treat that as Covid until it is proven otherwise.” Dr Williams also expressed concerns over turnaround times for tests which she …

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Call for communities to be allowed to attend mass under level 3 restrictions

BALANCING physical health with the viability of the economy may be the challenge facing the government at the moment, but a call has been made by an East Clare priest for the emotional and spiritual health of the nation to be factored in too. Parish Priest of Tulla, and Communications Officer for the Diocese, Fr Brendan Quinlivan, said he is hopeful that, even under the current level 3 restrictions, consideration may be given to allowing masses to resume. Since the guidelines ramped up a gear last week, religious ceremonies have moved online and the four Catholic archbishops have sought a meeting with the Taoiseach over what are seen as inconsistencies in the level 3 guidelines. “The guidelines would seem to suggest that while it’s fine for 15 people to go training or to a gym, 15 people wearing masks and social distancing can’t attend a mass,” Fr Quinlivan said. “There is a concern that religious observance is being treated as …

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Decision to allow 51-house Newmarket on Fergus development overturned

A CLARE County Council decision to grant planning permission for 51 houses at Ballynacragga, Newmarket-on-Fergus has been overturned by An Bord Pleanála. An appeal against the decision was made by a group called Concerned Ballynacragga Residents. A report from An Bord Pleanála inspector Irene McCormack set out a number of issues. “It is considered that the proposed development would be premature by reference to the existing deficiencies in the Newmarket-on-Fergus wastewater treatment plant to which connection is proposed and the period within which this constraint may reasonably be expected to cease. The proposed development would, therefore, be prejudicial to public health and would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area,” she wrote. Ms McCormack also found that the Board could not be satisfied that the development would not have a significant effect on the Lough Gash River Special Area of Conservation. Thirdly she stated that, “It is considered that the development as proposed fails to …

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Chief Super appeals for patience over Level 3 check points

CLARE’S Garda Chief Superintendent has acknowledged the frustration some people may experience as a result of check points set up as part of Operation Fanacht. The policing operation re-commenced on midnight October 6 when the country moved to Level 3 Covid-19 restrictions. Addressing the meeting of Clare’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) last Monday, Chief Superintendent Seán Colleran noted that complacency had begun to set in in terms of following public health guidelines and that part of Operation Fanacht involved making people more aware of the restrictions currently in place. “All of us have become somewhat complacent,” the Chief Superintendent said. “The increase in the Covid-19 figures show this. We are making people more aware of the guidelines.” Currently, three static checkpoints are in place and members of the forces are engaging with the public on the M18 on the Limerick county boundary, as well as in Killaloe and Ennis. Staggered mobile checkpoints are also in use, the Chief Superintendent explained. …

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Aer Lingus plan to restore Shannon services

OFTEN criticised around Shannon, Aer Lingus spokesman Sean Doyle last week told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications Networks that the airline is committed to Shannon, and plans to have transatlantic flights from the Clare airport next year. During the debate Clare TD Joe Carey, who chaired the meeting, put it to Mr Doyle that Shannon has had more services cut by Aer Lingus than other airports. “I would like to ask Mr Doyle about the commitment of Aer Lingus to Shannon Airport. Transatlantic services are of vital importance to FDI and tourism right along the western seaboard. Is the airline committed to restoring those American routes and, in particular, the Heathrow route? I note that Aer Lingus operates routes out of Cork, Dublin and Belfast. Mr Doyle has spoken about Ireland being an outlier (in terms of having more restrictive aviation policies). Shannon Airport is an outlier because it is not being treated the same as any …

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Wynne calls for Shannon to go back under DAA

CLARE TD Violet Anne Wynne has called for Ryanair to commit to restoring Shannon services in 2021. “In the week were the Government committed around €5m to Shannon Airport along with their pledge to sign up to the EU Traffic Light system in Tuesday’s budget it would appear this may be a case of too little too late. While I understand that this decision was made on a commercial bases it is imperative that Ryanair commit to reopening their Shannon bases after the winter lockdown,” she said. “One would have to question how their Dublin base is not at all effected. I feel again that this shows that Shannon as a standalone airport does not have the bargaining power of the DAA,” she added. However, Cork Airport is still part of the DAA group and that too has been closed, showing a certain flaw in Ms Wynne’s argument for reintegration with the other State airports.

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