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Concern over “worrying” backlog of eye appointments

HEALTH Minister Stephen Donnelly has been urged to ensure primary care team are adequately staffed to clear the “worrying” backlog of Clare people waiting for eye appointments. Figures released to Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne have revealed the adverse impact of Covid-19 on vital health services such as eye appointments. The current waiting list for Ophthalmology services across the Mid-West at the end of August showed 374 Clare people were waiting for an appointment. This includes 73 people waiting up to three months, 15 people waiting from three to six months, 147 people waiting from six to nine months, 93 waiting from nine to 12 months and 46 waiting more than one year to get an eye appointment. It compares to 243 people in total in Limerick who hadn’t got an eye appointment and just one less in North Tipperary contributing to 859 people waiting for this health service through the region. The figures also show there were 27 people in Limerick …

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INTO calls time on supersized class sizes

Ireland’s classes are the largest in EU and well above the European average of 20 pupils per class. Our average class size is 25 pupils, but the reality is that one in five children in Ireland is taught in a class of 30 or more. Keeping an adequate distance between children, or even groups of children, in the average Irish classroom, when you have more than 30 children in that room, is a near impossible task. Our supersized classes hindered our ability to reopen schools and may well challenge Micheál Martin’s great intentions to keep them open. In Clare, 21% of pupils learn in classes of more than 30 children. As we approach this year’s budget, it seems we may have to live with this pandemic in our communities well into the future. If we want to keep our schools open, we simply have to lower our class sizes and that needs to happen in the budget. The INTO is …

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Have your say on #MakeWayDay20

TOO many people with disabilities are on “permanent lockdown” due to access issues, according to Ann Marie Flanagan, disability rights activist ahead of this Friday’s return of Clare’s ‘Make Way Day’. Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Councillor Mary Howard, will host representatives and guest speakers from a number of disability organisations such as Clare Leader Forum, Shine and the Irish Wheelchair Association in a virtual meeting on ‘Make Way Day’ this Friday at 11am. This year’s event will ensure that the voices of people with disabilities are heard as they raise awareness around access issues in public spaces from their lived experience of disability. Welcoming this year’s event, Councillor Howard said, “Everyone has a role to play in Make Way Day and it is so important that people with disabilities have this opportunity to inform the public about the impact obstacles and access issues have on them as they navigate public spaces in their daily lives. The majority of these …

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Illegal fireworks worth €1,000 seized by Gardaí in Ennis

GARDAÍ in Ennis have seized illegal fireworks worth approximately €1,000 and questioned a suspect as part of Operation Tombola. The discovery was made when Gardaí searched a car at Drumbiggle Drive, Ennis shortly before 10pm on Tuesday. No arrests were made but gardaí are following a definite line of enquiry and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions. “An Garda Síochána continue to target issues arising from the sale and use of illegal fireworks & associated anti-social behaviour as part of ‘Operation Tombola’. Anyone with information about the importation, sale or use of illegal fireworks is asked to contact their local Garda Station,” stated a spokesperson from the Garda Press Office.

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€21,500 of suspected cannabis seized in Clare

Gardaí have seized €21,500 of suspected cannabis in Clare. Shortly after 7.30pm on Monday, September 21, gardaí from the Kilrush Drugs Unit, assisted by uniform Gardaí from Kilrush, executed a search warrant at a house in the Kilmurry-McMahon area. During the course of the search Gardaí discovered €16,000 of suspected cannabis plants. As Gardaí continued to search the property they discovered €5,500 of suspected cannabis herb. All of the suspected drugs will be sent to Forensic Science Ireland for analysis. No arrests have been made but Gardaí are following a definite line of enquiry.

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Shannon GP critical of Covid plan ‘chaos and confusion’

A SHANNON GP has hit out the handling of circumstances around the health minister’s Covid-19 test last Tuesday the day it unveiled the new roadmap for living with the virus. Dr Yvonne Williams said that misunderstanding over who should isolate while a contact of theirs is awaiting a test result, smacked of “chaos and confusion”. “The advice is that while someone is awaiting results of a test, their household should restrict their movements,” she explained. “If someone has a positive test, then their contacts are advised to isolate.” On Tuesday, shortly after addressing a press conference on the Living with Covid-19 plan, Minister Stephen Donnelly felt unwell and contacted his GP to arrange a coronavirus test. Following that news, the cabinet, as well as Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn, were told to restrict their movements as a precaution. The Dáil was then adjourned, at first for a period of one week, before being reconvened later on Tuesday evening. …

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Rineen ambush centenary: Bodies transported through Ennis

A FRONT page report of the Clare Champion described the transport of the coffins containing the six dead policeman through the town of Ennis. It claimed that local businesses were told to close. “Early in the morning police went through the town, requiring the townspeople to close their housing during the passing of the funerals. As a result all places of business in the town were closed, and in the main thoroughfares nearly all the houses had their blinds drawn.” It said that the bodies were carried in three vehicles, while all of the coffins were wrapped in Union Jacks. The dead men were Constable Hodnett of Cork, Constable Hardman of London, Constable Keely of Roscommon, Constable Maguire of Mayo, Constable Harte of Sligo and Sergeant Hynes of Athlone.

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“Dangerous” Ennis road sparks calls for return to two-way traffic

A HOUSE which has been derelict for decades in Ennis has been described as a “blight”, while calls have been made for a return to two-way traffic at Upper Cusack Road. Councillor Mark Nestor, speaking at the monthly meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, branded the current road system as “dangerous” with traffic not stopping at the yield sign. “This is a very, very serious matter”. Responding to the motion, Ian Chaplin, acting senior executive engineer stated, “The installation of the one way system at this location was to facilitate safe passage of pedestrians and cyclists when the Greenway route was installed a number of years ago. The width available did not allow for a two way carriageway and path. To revert to a two way carriageway within the available space would require the removal of the cycle path which would leave an unsafe situation for pedestrians and cyclists. Alternatively if land acquisition was pursued here extra width could be …

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