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Pat Dowling, CEO Clare County Council.

Council CEO calls for ‘champions’ in battle against Covid-19

CHAMPIONS are needed in every family and parish across the county in order to win the battle against the coronavirus, according to the CEO of Clare County Council.

Making an appeal to the public to continue to stick to government guidelines and to avoid complacency, as Ireland sets out on the road to re-opening, Pat Dowling also thanked the public for their efforts to-date. “We are very grateful for all of the sacrifices everyone has made,” he said. “We understand that there can be slippage and fatigue, but we must continue to comply, and to adapt in order to survive. We have to persevere in order to prevail. We have civil leadership from all of our agencies who continue to collaborate, and who are used to working together for the greater good. What we need now is deeper leadership and people who are willing to be champions of the cause in every family and in every parish, because we must stay the course. I appreciate that people feel they’ve had enough but we need to remember that this is a global emergency, right across the world, the likes of which none of us has seen in our life-times.”

Mr Dowling, who is Chairperson of the Clare Covid-19 Community Response Team (CCRT), noted that, as some council facilities re-open under Phase 1 of the national road map, the authority would be monitoring the situation closely. He said that while compliance at beaches and public parks is high, the authority would not be slow to draw on the support of other agencies, including the Gardaí. “A number of parks are open; Active Kilrush, Active Ennis Tim Smythe Park, Shannon Town Park, and Active Ennis John O’Sullivan Park, Lees Road,” he noted, “and car parks at our beaches are operating again. The situation is being managed and people are urged only to travel within the five kilometre limit. We did have a wave of people travelling to the West at the early stages of the crisis. By and large, that has stopped, but bad habits can develop as the weeks go by and we will be vigilant. If we see crowded beaches, we will contact the Gardaí immediately.”

Mr Dowling said he appreciated that people wanted normal life to return, but that for the foreseeable future, varying levels of restrictions would be in place. “The World Health Organisation (WHO) has told us that the most likely scenario is recurring waves of transmission of Covid-19, interspersed with low level transmission,” he outlined. “That means that social distancing and all of the advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) are likely to remain in place in the long term.”

In terms of the full re-opening of council services Mr Dowling said that council staff were continuing to work to ensure essential services are available. He noted that the roads programme had recommenced to include: road repair, drainage and safety work; and surface dressing work. Maintenance of green spaces has been increased from and street cleaning operations continue as normal. While council offices remain closed to the public until further notice, this week has seen the start of the opening of the planning public counter, by appointment. Enhanced on-line services are available from Clare County Library at www.clarecoco.ie/services/library and a book delivery option is available by contacting branches in Ennis, Shannon, Kilrush, Scariff and Ennistymon.

The Clare Covid-19 Community Response Helpline is available on Freephone-1800 203600 or by email to covidsupport@clarecoco.ie.


About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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