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Tag Archives: Deputy Michael McNamara

McNamara Claims €38 Million Extra Isn’t Available for Mental Health

DEPUTY Michael McNamara has accused the government of being “deceitful” over its announcement that an extra €38 million has been provided for mental health services in the Budget. Welcoming the total package of €50 million, Deputy McNamara claimed in the Dáil recently the assertion that €38 million is being provided for additional mental health services is “untrue and is simply playing with statistics”. “Some €38 million is provided for additional services. On the face of it, this is very welcome and badly needed. This is, however, to be matched with €12 million for the existing level of services (ELS). “Anybody who has anything to do with mental health provision would accept that the existing level of services, as paltry and deficient as it is, cannot be provided for €12 million. “What then is the additional mental health budget announced today? To say that it is €38 million is, frankly, deceitful because it is not. There is a total package of …

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Concerns grow over second wave of Covid at region’s nursing homes

THE number of nursing homes with Covid-19 outbreaks in the Midwest stands at 20, according to the most recent update from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). As high rates of community transmission spill over into enclosed settings, the number of outbreaks in this region has risen steadily since July. However, clusters of infection in private houses, of which there are 155 in the Midwest, account for the largest number of clusters. Last week, a major outbreak at the nursing home in East Galway sparked concern about the capacity of the sector to cope with a second wave of the virus. The Nightingale Nursing Home in Ahascragh had 25 cases among 27 residents, with only one nurse and one carer available to cover at 72 hour period because of positive cases among other staff. Councillor Ann Norton, director of the Clare Crusaders in Barefield, was sharply critical of the response of the Health Service Executive (HSE), saying that they had …

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Deputy McNamara Calls For Inquiry Into Meat Processing Industry

Deputy Michael McNamara has confirmed he proposed an amendment to the final report of the Dáil Special Committee on Covid-19 Response calling for a new state inquiry into the meat processing industry. The Clare Independent Deputy has welcomed the fact his amendment was adopted and included in the final report thanks to the support of the committee. This report has recommended an ‘Inquire, Record and Report Inquiry should be established to examine the operation of the meat processing industry, including the use of agents to procure workers, the State’s response in terms of protecting workers, while ensuring necessary food supplies to the general population, as well as ensuring fairness for primary producers. Meat processing plants emerged as a significant hotspot for Covid-19 infections. While meat processing is highly regulated regarding food safety and hygiene, the same level of regulation and protection is not extended to workers and their conditions of employment. The committee heard that the Health and Safety Authority …

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‘Our home is falling slowly’ – homeowners tell politicians

MORE than 20 people shared their stories of living in homes which are cracking, crumbing and letting the elements in, at a meeting between members of Clare Pyrite/Mica Action Group and political representatives. In one case, a homeowner has had to put metal cladding over a gable wall to stop the rain getting in. Since the action group was set up at the start of last month, 31 people have contacted it to call for the extension of a grant scheme for those with defective concrete blocks. A number of their stories have been covered to-date by The Champion. At the outset of last Monday’s meeting, which was held on Zoom, group founder Dr Martina Cleary outlined details of a survey conducted with 24 members. Homeowners across the county have now come forward, from Fanore to Feakle and Kilrush to Meelick. The majority of the houses were built in 1989 and 1990, but homeowners with properties built between 1984 and …

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Forestry owners want to cut tree felling licence delays

CLARE forestry owners with mature trees are waiting more than 12 months in some cases to secure a tree felling licence due to red tape, a local deputy has claimed. Deputy Michael McNamara recently asked the new Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue the measures he will take to address the backlog in applications for planting permits and felling licences in the forestry section in a Dáil question. Deputy McNamara said it is legitimate that people want to plant trees but it is also legitimate that nobody wants a monoculture sitka spruce plantation surrounding their house. The Independent Deputy said there is no point in pretending that planting sitka spruce will help the environment as it is a short term cash product. In addition to requesting more ecologists in the Department of Agriculture, Deputy McNamara stressed the Department of Agriculture had to adequately deal with a variety of issues concerning tree felling and planting. “We need timber but it is all a …

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McNamara sharply critical of Covid restrictions

THE head of the Dáil’s Covid-19 committee has questioned whether those who set the rules on curbing the virus understand how people really live their lives, insisting that the current approach is not working. In a sharp attack on government and the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), Deputy Michael McNamara said a greater focus must be placed on educating people about how to live alongside the virus. Reacting to news that Gardaí are to be given enhanced powers to shut down pubs in breach of regulations, the Scariff man was highly critical of the government’s current policies. “We’ve had inspection, after inspection, after inspection,” he said. “On one weekend alone, Gardaí inspected 6,000 premises. At the same time, our infection rates continue to rise. In other countries, all pubs have been open all summer and yet we now have higher rates of Covid-19 than Sweden who avoided a lockdown. The policy seems to be that the beatings will continue …

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Hopes new Garda powers will allow full pub re-opening

CLARE vintners are hopeful that enhanced powers for Gardaí to close pubs not complying with Covid-19 guidelines, will pave the way for the full reopening of their industry. According to the Clare Chairperson of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI), the forthcoming enforcement powers, which were discussed in the Dáil on Wednesday, are cause for optimism that all pubs might be allowed to re-open in compliance with public health guidelines. “It’s only fair that those flouting the rules should be shut down,” said Darragh McAllister of Lucas’s Bar and Considines in Ennis. “What we are hoping is that tighter rules might allow those of us who run wet pubs to open. In the VFI, we have been seeking these powers from the very beginning because we see them as an indication that all pubs will be given the chance to open and operate responsibly.” Mr McAllister denied that the differential treatment of food pubs, which re-opened in June, had created …

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Craggaunowen closure ‘ideological’ says McNamara

FUTURE development of tourism in East Clare will require new strategies to ensure that key historical sites are sustained as drivers of economic activity, according to a local TD. Scariff’s Deputy Michael McNamara has made the case, once again, for an alternative management structure for the Clare sites operated currently by Shannon Heritage. Since the advent of the pandemic, sites like Craggaunowen and Knappogue Castle outside the village of Quin have remained closed, amid a steep fall-off in international visitor numbers. Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, which had been set to close in the autumn, secured an eleventh hour reprieve after a government funding injection of €2.6m. The money will enable it and King John’s Castle to stay open until the end of this year. Speaking to Scariff Bay Community Radio, the Independent TD said he had raised the need to support the wider Shannon Group, with Micheál Martin, before and since his election as Taoiseach. Deputy McNamara added that …

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