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Protection for Shannon is a must

There are a number of options for the future of Shannon Airport on the table following the publication of the redacted version of Booz Report by the coalition. Which option will be chosen remains a mystery at this stage but whichever it may be, it is safe to say this is a critical point in the airport’s history. Given the comments in this paper last week from the main Fine Gael representatives at local and national level about a buy-in by local authorities, that would seem to be the preferred option by the Government. This may not be the case of course but generally that seems to be the way these things work.

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Unit delay for Alzheimer’s patients

VULNERABLE Alzheimer’s patients in Clare are being deprived access to a new purpose-built residential unit in Ennis costing an estimated €225,000 and nearby day-care services, due to chronic staffing shortages.The claim was levelled by retired psychiatric nurse, Councillor Tom McNamara, who has called on Health Minister Dr James Reilly to allocate funding from the €35 million earmarked for mental health services to facilitate the use of a new 15-bed residential Alzheimer’s unit in St Joseph’s Hospital for local patients.According to the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, there are 1,300 Alzheimer’s patients in Clare. Councillor McNamara believes some of them should be benefiting from dedicated facilities, while up to 100 families struggling to cope with patients in their own homes could get badly needed day respite if a nearby day-care centre is also opened.The HSE had 303 elderly people with Alzheimer’s disease on its active treatment list last year and also dealt with another 380 new referrals.Councillor McNamara blames chronic staffing shortages …

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Booz favours Shannon-DAA split

THE long-awaited Booz Report on the future of the State airports has recommended that Shannon be separated from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).It has also identified a concession model as the “preferred option” for Shannon, which could see Clare County Council take a leading role in its operation.While Transport Minister Leo Varadkar is not bound by it, he will draw on the options outlined in the document, released this week in a redacted form, and said he will make a decision on Shannon’s future by Easter.The report goes through five options for Shannon’s future: no change or full centralisation within the DAA; DAA restructure toward greater separation; a concession model; public-private partnership and full privatisation.With regard to the concession option, the report states it is the one favoured. “The introduction of a holding entity at Shannon Airport with the objective of appointing an appropriate airport board and facilitating a long-term operating concession would bring a number of benefits over the …

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Cliffhanger as coast guard rescues Rosie

MEMBERS of the Doolin Coast Guard executed an unusual rescue on Tuesday when they abseiled down a sea cliff to rescue a puppy trapped on a ledge 65ft above water.Boxer pup Rosie and her mum, Ruby, had gone missing from the farm of Pat and Margaret Considine at Rehy near the mouth of the River Shannon on Monday. The dogs accompanied a group of people taking part in a farm walk on the land but are thought to have wandered off after picking up the scent of a herd of wild goats.“Rosie will be one in April. Ruby will be six in March so she would have had more sense than to go chasing the goats but Rosie is just a pup so she wouldn’t have known better. She probably just got the scent and took off. Ruby would have followed the pup rather than the goats, I think,” Margaret told The Clare Champion.Margaret and Pat searched frantically for the …

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Bed reduction claim refuted by HSE

THE Mid-West HSE has rejected union claims that up to 19 beds will be removed from the Acute Psychiatric Unit at Ennis hospital as part of the reorganisation of the Clare Mental Health Service.IMPACT had claimed mental health services would be badly hit with the removal of 19 beds in Ennis and 26 beds closing in Limerick at St Joseph’s Hospital. It also warned that community mental health services would be affected by the closure of some high-support hostels and a reduction in day services.Clare Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) representative Denis Meehan claimed 13 of the 36 beds at the Ennis unit are already being filled by patients from North Tipperary, following the closure of a mental health facility in Clonmel and queried where Clare patients with acute psychiatric problems would be treated if the 19 beds are removed.The Mid-West HSE confirmed there would be a reduction of 30 acute mental health beds in the Mid-West, following the closure of …

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Bed reduction claim refuted by HSE

THE Mid-West HSE has rejected union claims that up to 19 beds will be removed from the Acute Psychiatric Unit at Ennis hospital as part of the reorganisation of the Clare Mental Health Service.IMPACT had claimed mental health services would be badly hit with the removal of 19 beds in Ennis and 26 beds closing in Limerick at St Joseph’s Hospital. It also warned that community mental health services would be affected by the closure of some high-support hostels and a reduction in day services.Clare Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) representative Denis Meehan claimed 13 of the 36 beds at the Ennis unit are already being filled by patients from North Tipperary, following the closure of a mental health facility in Clonmel and queried where Clare patients with acute psychiatric problems would be treated if the 19 beds are removed.The Mid-West HSE confirmed there would be a reduction of 30 acute mental health beds in the Mid-West, following the closure of …

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