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Clare gardai in operation targeting organised criminality

Gardai from the Clare Garda Division are involved in a major search operation across counties Limerick, Clare and Tipperary targeting organised criminality in Limerick City and its environs. Currently nine people are in custody in relation to this operation. As part of Operation Coronation, in excess of 170 members of gardaí from Limerick, Clare and Tipperary Divisions supported by the Criminal Assets Bureau, Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Emergency Response Unit, the Armed Response Unit and Regional Dog Unit commenced a search operation at over 60 premises this morning at 6am. The operation is also supported by three teams of  Irish Army Search Engineers, the Army EOD team and the Army Helicopter. Operation Coronation is targeting organised extended criminality, drug trafficking and the financial returns achieved from this type of activity through money laundering. This operation is being co-ordinated by Limerick Gardaí to address the accumulation of wealth by those engaged in serious …

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Thunder storms prompt swimming ban at Ballyalla Lake

EXTREME thunder showers last Monday evening have prompted a ban on swimming in Ballyalla Lake, because of a spike in bacteria levels. Clare County Council and the HSE have issued the temporary swimming ban, which will remain in place until levels of bacteria drop. “The situation is being monitored regularly,” a council statement said. “The probation on swimming will be removed when the bacterial levels recede to acceptable levels. The elevated bacterial levels are as result of the extreme thunder showers which took place on Monday evening last.”

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Increase in numbers awaiting driving tests in Clare

THE number of people awaiting driving tests in Clare has increased dramatically since Covid-19 arrived, according to Sinn Féin TD Violet-Anne Wynne, who has called on Transport Minister Shane Ross to publish plans for the return of driving tests in Clare. “Figures from the Road Safety Authority show that there are almost 12,000 people waiting for a driving test across the 3 testing centres in Clare,” said Ms Wynne. “These numbers have skyrocketed by over 66% from the numbers being reported.” “There is now an urgent need for clear plans as to how driving lessons and driving tests can be re-introduced in a safe manner. Perspex dividing screens, PPE for instructors and testers, shorter driving routes all need to be examined.” “Ennis has 719 people waiting on a driving test, the Shannon test centre has 303 and Kilrush 171 people waiting. Limerick has 1,850 people waiting for a driving test.” Ms Wynne concluded, “Car driving tests are due to begin …

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No back to school blues in 2020

EVERY summer the arrival of ads with the grim phrase ‘back to school’ strikes a little bit of depression into the hearts and psyches of young people. It has happened every year for decades now, but this August St Patrick’s Comprehensive teacher Jacquie Murphy thinks everyone concerned will actually relish getting back to textbooks and classrooms in 2020. “I think we all need it, the big part of teaching is the interaction with students and we all miss that. I’m sure students miss their friends and they miss the interaction with people, I’m sure parents would like their children to be learning in a more interactive way than online. I think it’ll form a big part of teacher’s summers, we all plan over the summer and we’ll be planning in the background that it might be online again or part of it might be online, so we’ll be trying to build up resources for that as well,” she says. Even …

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HSE unveil new €1 million field hospital in UL

UP to 25 patients will be brought to a new Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) in the University of Limerick (UL) Sports Arena in its first week of operation thanks to a unique collaboration between UL and the UL Hospitals’ Group. Constructed at a cost of €1 million, all the equipment for the new field hospital in UL was provided by the HSE and all of its contains including the floor are reusable elsewhere. The ICF is a fully staffed and fully equipped Model One hospital facility that will provide rehabilation care for non-Covid patients who are discharged from acute public hospitals in the region. The 68-bed facility, with capacity to scale up to 84 beds, is fitted out with a typical ward support accommodation such as clean and dirty utilities, pharmacy, pantry, staff change, clinical treatment areas, two recreation areas, and four enclosed rooms. It is expected that up to 50 patients will be treated at peak demand with capacity …

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Clare medical staff play key role in new UL hospital

THE provision of a new field hospital in the University of Limerick has been described as “amazing” by a local social worker. Medical staff from Clare and the Mid-West will pool their expertise to operate the new intermediate care facility. Joanne Hayes Inch outside Ennis is a medical social worker who will be working in UL as part of a multidisciplinary team with occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists. She will play a key role in the safe discharge process of a patient to a step down facility or their own home. Having met the patient, she will discuss their admission, experience in the facility and establish if they have any additional medical needs that need to be addressed when they are discharged at home. She will discuss the patient’s needs with their family and organise community supports, if they are deemed necessary. For the last four years, she has worked in the ED, rehabilitation of stroke patients …

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Fears that ‘2m rule’ will force rural pub closures

PUBLICANS in Clare have reacted positively to news that pubs will be allowed to open three weeks earlier than planned, but have voiced concern that the two metre social distancing rule will force some rural pubs to remain closed. Under the accelerated road map unveiled by government last Friday, so-called “wet pubs,” which don’t serve food, can open for business from July 20. Pubs serving food may re-open, along with the rest of the hospitality sector, from June 29. While the news has been welcomed by organisations representing the trade, there is broad agreement that the two metre social distancing rule could mean smaller pubs face closure for the foreseeable future. In Feakle, Gary Pepper of Pepper’s Bar and Restaurant, said described the two metre rule as “a non-runner,” but expressed optimism about the pledge by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) to reconsider the guideline. “We’re looking forward to June 29.” he said. “There is a lot of …

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Economic taskforce to tackle impact of Covid-19

AN ECONOMIC taskforce is to be set up to address the massive financial impact of the coronavirus on Clare economy, which the council’s CEO has likened to that of a “juggernaut”. Members of the local authority were updated on the measure, as they gave unanimous backing to a cross-party motion to freeze commercial rates for the duration of the crisis. At their monthly meeting, councillors heard that the authority anticipates a hit this year of €19.7 million. They agreed that central government must compensate for this loss. Calling for “a complete freeze on the collection and charging of commercial rates… for the duration of this pandemic and for a time after at the very least,” Councillor Mary Howard said business owners were distraught. She also called for a “mandatory fund” from central government to compensate councils. “I’ve been getting calls from tearful people who didn’t know when they would be able to re-open their business,” she said. “Some still don’t …

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