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Minister slated over stance on defective Clare homes

SHARP criticism has been directed at the minister for housing, after he refused to help to Clare homeowners who believe their properties are affected by defective building materials containing pyrite or mica. One local TD has estimated that over 40 people in this county may be affected by the materials which can cause severe structural damaged to buildings, and that many others have not yet come forward. Following the setting up last month of the Clare Pyrite Action Group, the personal experiences of a number of homeowners across the county have been reported by The Champion. The situation in this county was raised in Dáil Éireann last week by Deputy Cathal Crowe and the Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin, with Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien ruling out any extension to Clare of the existing remediation schemes. Dr Martina Cleary, the founder of the action group, has hit out at the fact that Minister O’Brien when in opposition, slated the …

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Traffic calming measures planned for the Turnpike

THE concerns of residents in Ennis’ Turnpike about speeding motorists have resulted in plans to develop traffic calming measures. Members of the Ennis Municipal District have agreed to a plan to install traffic calming ramps at the Turnpike Road and Limerick Road. The works include the removal of an existing traffic calming ramp; refurbishment of two existing traffic calming ramps; installation of five new ramps and the provision of all associated signage and road markings. A report furnished to members of the Ennis Municipal District outlines that the traffic calming measures are proposed “due to a number of concerns raised by residents in the area about traffic speeding and traffic volumes”. Following surveys a design was prepared in accordance with the Road Traffic Act, 1994 and associated Regulations, the Traffic Management Guidelines and the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets. Four submissions were received in relation to the proposals, including one by Councillor Johnny Flynn. The councillor outlined his …

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Green light for council beach toy ban

A BAN on the use of inflatable toys at Clare beaches and waterways is in the offing, as part of a review of bye-laws designed to improve safety. Mayor of Clare, Councillor Mary Howard, proposed updating the regulations to ban the toys. She described them as being “meant for the pool in Ibiza, not Ballyalla, Killaloe or Lahinch”. The motion, which received a warm welcome at the monthly meeting of Clare County Council, comes on foot of a number of near misses over the summer months when children got into difficulties. Over the summer, lifeguards around Clare and other coastal counties, reported a sharp rise in the use of air mattresses, inflatable rings and other toys. Councillor Howard said that despite the known dangers, many people were still buying the items because they were inexpensive and widely available. “It was just €5 in one shop last week for what was either an inflatable unicorn or a flamingo,” she remarked. The …

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Smartphone classes for older people in Clare libraries

A SERIES of smartphone classes for older people in a number of libraries across Clare will begin at the end of September. The daytime classes will take place in the libraries in Ennis, Shannon, Scariff, Kilkee and Ennistymon. The four-week programme will include a session on Zoom video conferencing and the WhatsApp platform so that participants can learn how to connect with others and how to avail of online classes and activities. The tutor-led classes will be of two hours’ duration and will take place in the mornings or afternoons. Numbers at the classes are limited due to current restrictions. The classes are specifically for those who do not have a smartphone or have just recently received one. Karen Fennessy, Age Friendly Development Officer for Clare County Council, has advised that many older people felt isolated when cocooning during Covid-19 restrictions. Other Council staff on the Clare Covid-19 community response helpline also noted requests for service provision for older people, …

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Quin health advocate welcomes discussion about Dying with Dignity Bill

CONTROVERSIAL legislation which seeks to give those with a terminal illness the right to authorise voluntary, assisted dying, is being backed by a prominent Clare health campaigner. John Wall, who has a terminal cancer diagnosis, said that the Dying with Dignity Bill, which has been introduced to the Dáil by Deputy Gino Kenny, is about offering a choice so that people can die peacefully. Mr Wall has now added his voice to those including cervical screening campaigner Vicky Phelan, who are calling for a mature debate on the issue of assisted dying. “There are many people with terminal illnesses who die peacefully,” the Quin resident said. “There are others, sadly, who don’t. Some cancers ravage the body and the mind and, for a fraction of people, no amount of medication will allow them to pass with dignity. You have to ask if there is a need for someone to die in pain, or drugged to the point where they don’t …

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‘Huge hurt’ caused by ongoing Tulla graveyard thefts

HUGE hurt is being caused to families in Tulla because of an ongoing spate of thefts from the graves of their loved ones, according to Councillor Pat Hayes. Seven incidents have been reported to Gardaí in recent months, with the latest taking place between 10am on Thursday, September 16 and 5pm last Friday, September 18. It is understood, locally, that up to 20 thefts or disturbances may have taken place, many of which people have considered to minor to report. “This is a disturbing and sensitive issue,” said Councillor Hayes. “In some cases, the families affected have suffered very sad losses and the last thing you would want is for the graves of their loved ones to be disturbed.” The Fianna Fáil member, who is chairperson of the county council’s Rural Development Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) which has responsibility for burial grounds, said every possible means of preventing a reoccurrence was being examined. “Burial grounds should be kept safe and …

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Call for exemption for support group meetings if Covid-19 restrictions increase

ADDICTION support meetings should be allowed to continue in person, as and when Covid-19 restrictions move to Level Three and beyond, according to Clare-based senator Martin Conway. Fine Gael’s Seanad spokesperson on health, has described support group meetings as “life saving” and called for them to be designated as essential services, even in the event of restrictions moving to the highest, Level Five, status. Since Dublin moved to Level Three restrictions last Friday, face-to-face meeting have been suspended there. Senator Conway said the issue wasn’t just of concern to the capital but to the whole country, given the likelihood that restrictions would have to be tightened in different areas as we move through the pandemic. “I understand that AA together with Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Gamblers Anonymous (GA) have had to take this decision in order to comply with the public health guidelines as set out in the roadmap,” the Ennistymon native said. “These organisations are a lifeline to thousands …

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McNamara pressures experts for answers on nursing homes Covid crisis

FURTHER questions have been asked about the transfer of patients from acute hospitals into nursing homes during the first wave of Covid-19 in this country, with Clare TD Michael McNamara repeatedly pressing experts about accountability for decision-making in the early months of the pandemic. An expert report finalised last month, shows that Clare had the highest incidence in Munster of Covid-19 cases in nursing homes during the first wave of the pandemic. Clare had 176 cluster-related cases in nursing homes, while Limerick had 78, during the same time-frame. Another interim report on the situation was published by the Dáil Special Committee on Covid-19 and, its chairperson, Deputy McNamara said last week’s hearings will inform the recommendations of its final report, which could include a call for a public inquiry into the issue. With close to 1,000 Covid-related deaths in Irish nursing homes in the first wave of the pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that Ireland, as a …

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