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Councillor Tom McNamara maintains Clare has taken one of the biggest hits nationally in Leader funding.

More staff sought to reduce waiting lists

  NEW measures are needed to attract more consultants and nurses in acute hospitals to reduce the high numbers of patients on in-patient and out-patient appointments in the Mid-West. That’s according to former HSE West Forum chairman, Councillor Tom McNamara, who described the latest figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund for the Mid-West as “totally unacceptable”. With an estimated 30% of consultant posts in the UL Hospitals’ Group vacant, Councillor McNamara claimed there aren’t enough medical staff to open a second operating theatre at weekends. The Kilmaley Councillor called on Health Minister Simon Harris to introduce a new incentive to defray the cost of training for new nurses on the basis they commit to working for at least three years in the public health service to address the nursing shortage. According to figures released by the National Purchase Treatment Fund (NPTF),  the total number of in-patients waiting for treatment in the UL Hospitals’ Group increased from 5,533 last January …

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nurses support strike ballot

    NURSES in Clare and throughout the Mid-West have overwhelmingly supported a national ballot for industrial action. The result of the ballot coincides with the revelation there are up to 60 nursing vacancies in University Hospital Limerick (UHL), which continues to struggle with overcrowding as INMO figures recorded 56 patients on trolleys on Tuesday, December 18. According to INMO industrial relations officer, Mary Fogarty, this doesn’t include ward nursing posts that were not funded since reconfiguration removed 24-hour casualty cover from Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals in April 2009. Ms Fogarty said eight beds were closed in St Camillus Hospital, Limerick and about ten funded beds in St Joseph’s Geriatric Hospital, Ennis. The union official pointed out if there was an examination about what St Joseph’s really required, this figure would be much higher. Asked if industrial action in the new year would made chronic overcrowding even worse, she stressed nurses were left with no other option. She said the …

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Drugs worth €97,000 taken off Clare Streets for Christmas

GARDAÍ in Clare and Limerick have seized cocaine and cannabis with an estimated street value of €97,000 following a joint operation on Wednesday evening and two arrests have been made. Gardaí stopped a vehicle at Junction 11 (Dromoland) on the M18 motorway shortly after 7pm on Wednesday and a subsequent search resulted in the seizure of cocaine with a value of €56,000 (subject to analysis). A 41 year old man was arrested and is currently being detained under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996 at Ennis Garda Station. He was detained for an initial six hour period, which has now been extended to 18 hours. Under this legislation and with approval from the Chief Superintendent and the courts he can be detained for up to seven days. Superintendent Brendan McDonagh, of Ennis Garda Station described this seizure as “significant” as it has taken these drugs which were destined for the Clare market off the streets for …

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Darragh crash causes traffic delays

  Motorists travelling to and from West Clare were subjected to long delays following a traffic accident at Darragh just outside Lissycasey on Monday evening. According to AA Roadwatch, emergency services were called to the scene of a crash on the N68 between Darragh and Lissycasey, which resulted in long delays, particularly for traffic coming from the Ennis side. Drivers were advised to avoid this route, which is a notorious accident blackspot, if possible.    

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Kilrush Gardai investigate Cree burglary

KILRUSH Gardai are investigating a burglary in the Cree area at 9.15pm on Thursday night. Gardai are advising local people not to open their doors to callers, unless they are aware of their identity. The vehicle involved in the burglary is believed to be a blue or navy English registration BMW. Kilrush Gardai are seeking further information and anybody who saw anything of interest should contact them on 065-9080550.

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EU to fund two Clare locations for WiFi hotspots

TWO new Wifi hotspots are to be funded for Clare under the WIFI4EU initiative, according to Sean Kelly MEP. Each location will receive a grant of €15,000 from the EU while matching funding of €15,000 will also be provided by the Department of Rural and Community Development. Each successful local authority now has 18 months to select locations for the WiFi4EU hotspots and complete their installation to be ready for public use. These locations need to be ‘centres of public life’ where no other free WiFi service is already available. The WiFi4EU service will be free of charge, free of advertising and free from commercial re-use of data. The provision of free public WiFi supports the goal of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce of improving broadband access in rural communities; In addition to stimulating demand in high-speed broadband connectivity and encouraging widespread take-up at community level, the intervention will also have several positive knock-on effects ranging from enhanced access …

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Youthreach in Shannon to close its doors

SOUTH Clare Youthreach in Shannon will close its doors for the last time in the coming days. The Shannon facility had the capacity to accommodate 13 learners at any one time. The service users are people who have left mainstream schools prematurely, for various reasons, and engaged with Youthreach to continue education. Young people aged from 15 to 18 were catered for in Shannon and they will now have to go to Ennis instead. The Shannon closure is an unpopular decision locally, and Councillor Mike McKee said the timing is unfortunate. “I’m very disappointed with the decision. While it had been expected I didn’t expect it’d happen during the middle of the term. It’s very unfortunate for the students that participated in the Youthreach course and I think it’ll have a detrimental effect on them, having to move to Ennis.” He added, “These are teenagers who left second level education for one reason or another. It could have been bullying …

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Lisdoonvarna Direct Provision Centre exceeding capacity

MORE people are now living at the Direct Provision Centre in Lisdoonvarna than its contracted capacity. While this does not necessarily mean that the centre at the King Thomond Hotel is overcrowded, it does mean that the numbers coming to the North Clare village are greater than what locals were told would be arriving. According to figures provided by the Department of Justice, there are 117 people living there, while the contracted capacity is 115. In a statement accompanying the figures, the department said, “The contracted capacity is not the maximum capacity. It is what we would ordinarily pay as per the contract. It is not at all unusual for the actual number of persons present in an accommodation centre to be in excess of the contract. This does not indicate that there is overcrowding at the centre. The overcapacity may be due to family configuration reasons, eg where a baby is born to a family etc.” Paddy Dunne of …

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