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Only Four Extra ICU Beds at University Hospital Limerick

THE number of critical care beds in University Hospital Limerick to treat seriously ill non-Covid-19 and Covid-19 patients has only increased by four, a hospital boss has confirmed. UL Hospitals’ Group chief executive Colette Cowan has revealed there are currently 22 critical care beds in UHL – 12 intensive care and 10 high dependency beds. This represents an increase of four since the start of the year. During the peak of the first wave, the group initiated their critical care surge plan involving training and redeployment of staff, the temporary conversion of other beds in the Critical Care Block into ICU/HDU beds and the procurement of equipment. “The group are currently monitoring matters closely in the event we may need to open critical care surge capacity in the coming weeks. A plan is in place should we need to increase capacity,” she stated. In a recent overview provided for public representatives, Professor Cowan confirmed it is planned to hand back …

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22 cases referred since June to Divisional Protective Services Unit

TWENTY-TWO investigations have been referred to the new specialist Garda unit tasked with investigating sexual and domestic crime, since the Clare unit was set up this summer. The Divisional Protective Services Unit (DPSU) opened in May and became fully operational a month later, according to Detective Sergeant Paul English who made a presentation to the Joint Policing Committee last Monday. There is now a unit in every Garda division, Sergeant English noted, tasked with investigations into areas involving vulnerable adults, sexual crime, online child exploitation, domestic abuse, trafficking, organised prostitution and victim liaison. He also told JPC members that while there had been a drop, during the lockdown, in the number of survivors coming forward to organisations such as Rape Crisis Midwest (RCMW), there had been a noticeable increase as the country reopened. Of the 22 investigations referred to Clare’s DPSU, 18 related to sexual assaults, including rape; two concern child exploitation and two involve coercive control. Giving an overview …

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Garda patrols stepped up after graveyard thefts in Ennis, Tulla

GRAVEYARDS in two locations in the county have had Garda patrols stepped up in response to a spate of thefts that has been going on since the start of the year, Clare’s Garda chief has said. Addressing last Monday’s meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Chief Superintendent Seán Colleran urged people to continue to report incidents and pledged that they would be fully investigated. Since January of this year, there has been a hike in incidents of theft and anti-social behaviour at Drumcliffe Cemetery in Ennis. There has also been an ongoing issue at the graveyard in Tulla, with a spate of thefts of grave ornaments and flowers, over the last nine months. The issue at Drumcliffe was raised by the Mayor of Clare, who voiced frustration with the perception that calls were not being logged. “Since January, I’ve been bringing this to the attention of the Gardaí and the local authority,” Councillor Mary Howard said. “I have found …

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Call for assets of local drug dealers to be seized

DRUGS have been described as “a catalyst for many other crimes,” by Deputy Cathal Crowe who has called for dealers who parade their wealth around villages and towns in Clare to be tackled by the Gardaí. “They are in every town and village and a real scourge,” he told last Monday’s meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC). “We all know the guy who doesn’t go to work in the morning, but has a lifestyle that none of us could hope to aspire to. There are people going in and out of his house at all hours and packages are being dropped through car windows. These are the people that we want to see taken down. The trouble they are causing is untold.” Deputy Crowe added that “a mini CAB” in the county had been effective in tackling those living on the proceeds of crime. He also called for a liaison officer to be tasked with working with the council …

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Hotel Moves To Clear The Waters Over Covid-19 Restrictions

A WELL known hotel on the banks of Lough Derg has moved to clear the waters over confusion surrounding its location in view of national guidelines for people to remain in their own county during Level Three Covid-19 restrictions. The Lakeside Hotel, Ballina, Killaloe has confirmed their registered address with Fáilte Ireland is Killaloe, County Clare, even though the hotel are located just inside the Tipperary border and pay their commercial rates to Tipperary County Council. Straddling two counties and located just a short distance from the historic bridge linking Ballina and Killaloe, the hotel created something of a social media flurry when it posted government advice for people to stay in their own county. Manager, Eoin Little is a bit bemused by this “unusual situation” for the town, as he believes Killaloe and Ballina work together as one community, apart from Gaelic Games. “It is what you get from being in a twin town. Before I moved to this …

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Taking the artists’ view

THEATRES and concert halls closed, TV productions stalled, art galleries shut, it has been a hard time to work in the creative sector in Ireland. Siobhán Mulcahy is Arts Officer for Clare and she acknowledges that the last seven months have been very hard. “It has, I suppose on two fronts. “Number one with the closure of cultural venues, that would be the most obvious one, or to the public it would be the most obvious one anyway. “It has affected those artists that might have been working on programmes and projects, which have now been delayed or signficantly altered because the public elements of them have changed, which can be very challenging, if you’re working on something and things change. But they have changed for society generally so most people would be very understanding of the necessity that artists have to regroup and realign, in terms of what they are doing. “That would be one element and the second …

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Clare County Council Faces €16.5 Million Deficit

CLARE County Council will face a major financial headache trying to balance its books next month following confirmation the authority is facing a €12.6 million deficit in funding due to the catastrophic economic impact of Covid-19. The grim financial situation facing the council was laid bare this week after it emerged the projected loss of income from commercial rates will total €5 million, €5.6 million will be missing from other income that is normally generated, while an additional €2 million had to be spent on unplanned public health measures. The major financial challenge facing the council was raised by Councillor Pat McMahon at a recent local authority meeting when he asked chief executive Pat Dowling to outline the financial impact of Covid-19 on the operations of the council and the council’s interactions with other bodies and agencies. Councillor McMahon stressed it will be vital to seek substantial government support as no local authority could sustain this shortfall. Commenting on the …

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Older people report feeling ‘unsafe’ in Clare towns

ONE-fifth of Clare’s older people living in towns have reported feeling unsafe at all times, according to the coordinator for the county’s Age Friendly initiative. Karen Fennessy revealed the findings of a survey of the county’s older residents to last Monday’s meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC). She noted that ongoing cooperation between the Gardaí, the council and other agencies is required to boost the safety of older people in their own homes and in public. Ms Fennessy outlined how an incident at a wedding had highlighted for her the challenges faced by older people. “I was speaking to a woman who had been a nurse and given a huge contribution,” she said. “She told me that when she retired she became invisible. She said that when she goes out in public, she is invisible. She said she’s afraid of groups of teenagers on street corners and she is afraid of falling down. She also said she doesn’t understand …

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