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Tulla Teen in Barretstown ‘Virtual Hug’ Campaign

BEING locked down and having to work and learn at home are challenges for everyone at the moment, but for one young East Clare native, who is battling a brain tumour, these are part of normal life. Sixteen-year-old Labhaoise Fitzgerald has had brain surgery twice, as well as gruelling rounds of follow-up treatment. As well as cocooning and keeping up with her studies, Labhaoise is undergoing chemotherapy at her home in Tulla. She is also taking time out to raise funds for the Barretstown charity, which runs medically-supported holiday camps for sick children at its base in Kildare. Like all charities, Barretstown is facing a major shortfall in its funding and urging people to send a ‘virtual hug’ donating €2 in the process. Labhaoise was recently chosen as the Clare ambassador for the initiative and took part in a video with fellow ‘campers’ sending their virtual hugs to friends, family and frontline medical staff. “Barretstown picked a camper from every …

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Ennis fashion retailers rising to the challenges of Covid-19

THE personalised, customer-focused shopping experience that has become synonymous with the town of Ennis is still continuing despite the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. The pandemic has resulted in retail closures throughout the county, with businesses increasingly focusing their efforts online in a bid to meet these new unprecedented challenges. The last few weeks have highlighted the importance of having an online shopping presence, according to Gwen Culligan of the County Boutique in Ennis. While Patrick Burke’s is set to launch a personal shopping service utilising popular apps so people can purchase while still maintaining social distancing. The County Boutique launched its website last year allowing people to buy the latest looks from the comfort of their own home. Gwen tells us they were “incredibly lucky” to already be online when the Covid-19 restrictions were introduced. “We’re selling every day at the moment. I had been spending some time over the last few months putting things on the site, but I’ve been …

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President pays tribute to health workers on May Day

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has singled out health care and all frontline workers for their dedication during the Coronavirus crisis in his May Day address. He also paid tribute to those who have died and the bereaved families. “Today, May Day, we honour and commemorate the important role of the organised labour movements across the globe. We recall to memory, and celebrate, the lives of workers who have marched, fought, and stood in solidarity with their colleagues, their fellow citizens, and with people all over the world, in struggles against injustice, inequality and exclusion. “Today’s SIPTU MayFest is different, by necessity, but recognising the role of workers and their unions is more important than ever. Both Sabina – who is patron of MayFest – and I take this opportunity to pay a particular tribute to all the frontline workers who have played their part for the greater good of all during the Covid-19 crisis. Today we remember those who have …

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Lock-down boost for Clare Wildlife

NATURE has felt the benefits of decreased human activity during the lock-down, according to experts in Clare, who feel that staying close to home has also given people an opportunity to develop a greater appreciation for local wildlife. “Over the last while, people have become much more aware birdsong in particular,” noted Tom Lynch, Secretary of the Clare branch of Bird Watch Ireland. “It’s not the numbers of birds has increased, it’s just the quietness has made their song much clearer. Chicks have a better chance of survival too and it’s easier for birds to forage.” The drop-off in human activity and regulations confining people to their immediate localities have also lead to a spike in interest in bird-watching, Tom added. “All of our group and formal activities are curtailed, but people are definitely reconnecting with nature and things they were aware of in their youth. We’ve had calls about people hearing cuckoos in mid-April. A bit of a novelty …

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Young people urged to share a day in their life for writing competition

CLARE’S young people are being urged to show they have the write stuff by getting involved in a new county-wide competition. Clare County Library have launched a creative writing competition for children and teenagers. “With schools currently closed and students working remotely on assignments set by teachers Clare County Library would like to offer a different type of exercise to children and teenagers aged between 7 and 15 who like to write stories,” explained a spokesperson. To enter, all you have to do is write a story up to 700 words based on ‘County Clare 2020: A Day in My Life’. Entries must be in before 12 noon on May 12. All entrants are asked to type their name and age at the end of their story and email their entry to library_mailbox@clarecoco.ie When sending entries include the words Creative Writing Competition as the email subject. The shortlisted and winning entries will be posted on www.clarelibrary.ie on June 3 and …

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Rescue services advise against water activities

In advance of the May bank holiday weekend the Irish Coast Guard and RNLI are appealing to the public not to take part in any water-based activity on or in the sea, while the Covid-19 restrictions are in place. Both organisations are concerned that as the restrictions continue, people may become complacent and be tempted to take to the water or proceed to coastal areas for recreation. However, it is crucial to continue to minimise the risk to Search and Rescue, volunteer crews, helicopter crew and other front-line emergency services, from being unintentionally exposed to Covid-19. RNLI and Coast Guard Search and Rescue services continue to be fully operational and on call 24/7. As the current COVID-19 restrictions continue to apply it is appreciated that people will want to get out for a break and take to the water if they are living or exercising near the coast or inland waters. However, both organisations are urging everyone to follow Government …

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Shining a light on mental health during Coronavirus crisis

IN response to COVID-19, Shine has put measures in place to ensure continued vital support is available to people experiencing mental health difficulties and their family members. A national organisation, Shine is dedicated to upholding the rights and addressing the needs of all those affected by mental ill health, through the promotion and provision of high-quality services and working to ensure the continual enhancement of the quality of life of the people it serves. Ann Marie Flanagan, Shine’s Mid-West regional development officer, said, “As our name suggests, we shine a light for people who are in crisis and we know our work is more important than ever at this time. Our service is available to anyone who has mental health difficulties, as well as their families. For the period of the Covid-19 pandemic, in order to comply with Government guidelines about distancing and travel, we have moved our group and individual supports and education to phone, email and social media. …

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Caring continues under Covid-19 pressures

CARERS impacted by Covid-19 restrictions are struggling with a lack of respite and home support visits, but keeping their spirits up through check-in phone calls, virtual quizzes and even Zoom bingo. While home care continues to be provided, many carers have chosen to cocoon alongside their loved ones, and paused their services voluntarily. The restrictions have also placed a big burden on charities providing support to family carers, as they have meant key fund-raising activities have been curtailed. “We are still 100% open and taking new cases, but our home visits are limited,” explained Margaret Naughton, from Ennis, who works with Jack and Jill, a home nursing care service for children. “At this stage, the only visits we make would be for end-of-life and palliative care.” The Specialist Children’s Liaison Nurse works with 30 families across Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary, and said her daily contact are, for the most part, made by phone. “They’re not always easy calls, and …

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