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Covid-19 Unemployment Payment issued to 283,000

LAST Friday payments were issued in respect of 283,000 people who were awarded payment of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. These payments are in addition to the 201,000 people in receipt of standard jobseeker payments as of Friday 27 March (an increase of 19,000 on the figure at the end of February). A further 25,000 wage subsidy payments were made in respect of the Employer Refund Scheme* administered by the Revenue Commissioners on behalf of the Department. All payments issued on Friday will be in customers’ bank accounts or at their local post office from tomorrow, Tuesday.  The level of payments reflects the unprecedented demand for the Department’s income supports over the past two weeks. Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment In total (since launch on March 16) the Department received and processed 389,000 applications for the Covid-19 Unemployment Payment.  This is equivalent to a 19 month claim-load in two weeks. A significant number of duplicate applications – over 66,000 …

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Clare Musicians Home From Chile Thanks to Fans Generosity

THERE was huge relief on Monday last (March 23) for a group of Clare musicians who braved major travel disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to make their way back to Shannon Airport from South America. The nerve-wracking journey of Los Paddys took them more than 11,000 kilometres from Chile, and was fraught with uncertainty because of the international travel chaos. With vast sections of international airspace shut down and ongoing severe flight disruption, the six Clare members of the outfit came close to finding themselves stranded on the other side of the world. The musicians had been on a tour of Chile and Argentina for St Patrick’s Day, and when their original travel plans were thrown into disarray, they had to fundraise online to make alternative arrangements. Paddy Mulcahy, Head Programmer for Los Paddys, told The Champion the response, which raised more than €7,000, had been incredible and essential in getting them home. “Our outward journey and the end …

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Shannon Chamber confer with member companies on Covid-19 guidelines

THE publication on Saturday evening of the list of essential service providers under the new public health guidelines is most welcome, according to Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes following a day of confusion amongst member companies as to how their operations would be classified. Having received a many phone calls from concerned chief executives following An Taoiseach’s announcement of new travel and work restrictions, as to whether they would need to start shutting down operations at short notice, Ms Downes has welcomed the fact that companies, on reading the detail, can now assess if their operations are classified as essential. While many Shannon companies have kept production operational to date, many were questioning overnight as to what steps they would need to take over the weekend to either shut down or maintain operations and advise staff accordingly. Following a teleconference call with over twenty companies on Saturday, Ms Downes stated: “Our members want to do what’s best for their staff …

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County told to stay at home

A deserted market area in Ennis showing that Clare citizens are observing the new rules.

As of midnight on Saturday, Clare citizens have effectively been ordered to stay indoors except for a few clearly identified circumstances. The announcement was made during a televised address from Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar. All public and private gatherings outside of a single household are also prohibited in the most stringent attempt so far to deal with the Corona virus. People will be allowed to leave their homes to travel to essential work, to travel to medical appointments, to shop for food or medical necessities or for vital family reasons, for example providing care to a vulnerable person. Exercise can be taken outdoors but only singly and within 2km of your home. Non essential shops and services will close and all non-essential surgery will be postponed. A ban on visiting hospitals and other health facilities is in place except on compassionate grounds. A list of essential businesses will be published later today and some shops will be restricted to call out …

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Bridgetown woman sends stark warning from Milan

Milan's Duomo

By Fiona McGarry A SOUTH-East Clare woman, living in Northern Italy, has pleaded with the Irish people to take Government guidelines on social distancing seriously in order to contain the spread of Covid-19. Rachel Turner, originally from Bridgetown, has been living in Milan for more than a decade and said people here should be taking every possible precaution to avoid contracting and spreading the coronavirus. As the death toll in Italy surpasses that of China, Rachel told The Clare Champion the mood is very low and people are desperately missing their normal lifestyles, after more than a month of severe restrictions on movement. Earlier this month, Italy put around 16 million people into lockdown. Under the measures, people are forbidden to enter or leave the region of Lombardy, where Milan is the main city. “We had a neighbour taken away in an ambulance this morning and the apartment block disinfected,” Ruth said. “The death toll is very high for Milan …

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Sunday Mass on local radio

Mass can be heard or viewed on line during the coming weekend, on Clare FM at 9am on Sunday morning and on Scariff Bay FM  (88.3 FM) at 11am. Scariff Bay FM is  available in East Clare parishes. All the masses at the usual times from Ennis, Kilrush,  Shannon and Quin churches  can be seen on their webcams and these can be accessed through the parish websites.

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Gardai to implement Covid-19 measures

Following the Government’s announcement in relation to measures to delay COVID-19, An Garda Síochána is putting in place a number of measures to maximise our operational availability and support other vital public services including: – A contingency roster will go into effect from Monday next – Annual leave for personnel will be restricted to no more than 5% of a Divisional/Bureau workforce at any given time with effect from 13 March 2020 – Approximately 325 Garda students in the Garda College will be attested as Garda members next week and allocated to Garda stations nationally in the coming weeks (approximately 200 from one class, and 125 from the next class) – Garda members working as tutors/instructors in the Garda College will be deployed to operational duties or essential training services – Training in the Garda College will be deferred until further notice expect for specialist training activity (firearms, driver, armed support) – In order to enhance community support, 210 additional vehicles have been hired – Members …

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McNamara attacks ‘cynical’ FF and FG coalition talks

A SCATHING attack has been launched on Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil by Clare’s Independent TD, who is accusing them of using Coronavirus concerns as a cover for a potential coalition government. Senior figures in both parties have this week stepped up talks on government formation, with care-taker Taoiseach Leo Varadkar citing “a dramatic change in context” because of Covid 19. Deputy Michael McNamara is one of a number of deputies, including Fianna Fáil’s own Éamon Ó Cuiv, who has called instead for a type of grand coalition involving most or all of the major parties, with a view to addressing the public health emergency. “I would be prepared to support a national coalition government which might be in place for a limited period, in order to address the threat posed by Coronavirus. That doesn’t look likely, unfortunately. What we have instead is a rather cynical move the FF and FG to use the fact that this horrible virus is …

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