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Great Shannon community response to crisis

THERE has been a very good response to the Covid-19 crisis locally, according to Niamh O’Callaghan of the Love Shannon group.

One of the few problems she identified is a tendency for young people to still come together, breaching the social distancing requirements. “Kids need to do a lot more, but that’s probably the same in every town in the country. We need to find something for kids to do, they’re bored off their heads. In this weather computer games aren’t necessarily going to kids. It isn’t kids in primary school but young teens, they’re hanging around together and they were causing quite a nuisance in the nighttime,” she said.

However most people have done what has been required in the battle to limit the spread of the deadly disease. “In general it has been amazing and the place has been dead. Really, really dead.”

Niamh said there have been street parties in certain areas, but with the residents staying in their own driveways. There was also a very successful virtual bingo event, which saw a large amount of money raised for Pieta House.

She is part of a local group working to provide support to those who need it during the crisis. “It’s an amalgam of Love Shannon, the Community and the Shannon Scouts. We have more than 60 volunteers at this point and we have a central number at which people can call us, it’s 089 4692242. We have six co-ordinators and they hold onto the phone for three days at a time.”

Of the help offered, Niamh said, “It’s about shopping and prescriptions and such things. We also have somebody who’s ringing a lot of vulnerable people on a daily basis. That man is just doing such a super job, his name is Frank O’Hanlon. He has been doing an absolutely unbelievable job, he’s ringing all of these people, and he’s a contemporary of theirs so he understands where they’re coming from. He’s cocooning himself, it’s something for him to do as well, and he has been doing amazing work. If he’s in any way concerned he either rings the co-ordinator or the Community Guards and they go and check.”

She paid tribute to a number of local businesses and individuals who have made a big effort. “We’ve had a few companies who’ve really helped us with PPE, like FHB, DNM Electrical, Ballycasey Pharmacy and EI Electronics. A number of ladies are making masks for us and they are making laundry things to put your clothes into and then straight into the machine. Anne Magoufis, Alice Myers, Karen Barrett, Jacquie Murphy have all been brilliant.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.