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Tag Archives: lockdown

Clarity amid the chaos for McEvoy

Confirmation last week that the re-arranged Olympic Games will go ahead in Tokyo this summer has provided a timely boost to Ennis swimmer Rory McEvoy, he spoke to Ronan Judge. 22-year-old Rory McEvoy is at the start of an intensive block of training at the Sports Ireland campus in Dublin as he bids to to book a place on the plane to Japan.  The postponed Irish Olympic Trials are just around the corner and after the uncertainty of the last 12 months, McEvoy is fully focused on the task at hand. After a welcome visit home to see family at Christmas, McEvoy is back in the pool with fellow members of Swim Ireland’s high performance unit as Olympic preparations step up a notch. “Since we came back last week, it’s full steam ahead for the next two weeks. I’m based in Dublin and training out of the Sports Ireland campus in Blanchardstown. We’re in the thick of one of the …

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East Clare Community Response Group here to help

WITH the return of Level 5 restrictions, communities across East Clare are responding with the kindness and solidarity that they have shown throughout the last nine months of 2020. The East Clare Community Response group covers Flagmount, Killanena, Feakle, Scariff, Tuamgraney, Ogonnelloe, Bodyke, Mountshannon and Whitegate, and can be contacted on 085-8659889. Volunteers will respond to calls to that number, as well as texts or WhatsApp messages, and will support anyone who is elderly, vulnerable, or who has chosen to self-isolate. The response group will deploy Garda-vetted local volunteers in the relevant community area to ensure people have access to medicines and general supplies. Response group members work within strict medical protocols and in compliance with all public health guidelines. All requests for support are confidential and information is never held or shared. Anyone who wishes to volunteer is advised to contact their local community group.

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Councillor appeals for support in promoting anti-Covid ventilation message

AN alternative to repeated lockdowns, in response to the pandemic, could lie in the promotion of ventilation and air filtration systems in homes and businesses, according to a West Clare member of Clare County Council. Addressing the November council meeting, Councillor Cillian Murphy asked the authority to undertake a campaign and to contact other councils “to build awareness at a national level of the impact better indoor air quality has in reducing the spread of Covid-19”. His motion was seconded by Councillor Patrick O’Gorman. Noting a written response from Senior Engineer Cyril Feeney saying that responsibility lay with the HSE, Councillor Murphy urged the authority to consider what it could do to promote the message. “To-date the health promotion message had focused on social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing, but there is now an increasing understanding of air-borne transmission and proper ventilation of buildings,” the Fianna Fáil member said. “Clare County Council has been instrumental in delivering HSE recommendations …

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Mystery yarn-bomber returns to Whitegate

AS LOCKDOWN returns, so too has one of the most talked-about mysteries to grip East Clare this year. After an interval of several months, a person, or persons unknown, has once strewn almost every spare inch of Main Street in Whitegate – and a bit of neighbouring Mountshannon – with colourful knitted and crocheted items. Working under cover of darkness, the mystery yarn-bomber(s), have put their considerable craft expertise to use to try to brighten the dark days of Level 5 restrictions, and lift the spirits of the locality. Last week, in a coded message, the covert crocheter contacted The Champion to alert us to their activities. While swearing us to secrecy as to their identity, the yarn-bomber has pledged to leave their colourful handiwork in place until after Hallowe’en. This time around, the deer statue in Mountshannon has had his iconic antlers festooned in knitwear, while in Whitegate, there are colourful crocheted items on poles, with signs outside the …

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Senator shares concerns over mental health impact of lockdown

CLARE’S Green Senator has shared her experience of trying to help a woman who was experiencing suicidal feelings during the lockdown earlier this year. Speaking at the meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Senator Róisín Garvey said she was concerned for the woman, as well as the time it took to access emergency support services. She called for more detailed figures to be made available to members on the number of mental health issues Gardaí had responded to. “There has been an increase in the number of people experiencing mental health crises because of Covid-19,” she native said. “I met a woman who was suicidal and after speaking to hear for an hour, I phoned the Gardaí. I rang one of those stations that we have spent a lot of money on. The Garda couldn’t come out for 40 minutes and after that, the woman was seen by a GP. I found the whole situation deeply disturbing.” Senator Garvey …

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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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Online safety concerns spiral after lockdown school closures

A CLARE-based psychologist has said she has been inundated with concerns from parents over their children’s online activities during the months while the schools were closed. Dr Maureen Griffin is an online safety expert who provides psychological services in the areas of online offending and safety. She also works, at a preventative level, with schools, students and parents. The forensic psychologist has reiterated calls for social media companies to do more to enforce age controls. Dr Griffin also described the availability to children of dangerous content on apps like TikTok as “deeply concerning” and warned we are in danger of creating “a guinea pig generation” in terms of potential online harm. Last week, research from Cyber Safe Ireland showed that, over the last year, 61% of children had been contacted by strangers through online games. TikTok was found to be the most popular app. Despite the fact that it has a minimum age requirement of 13 – three years below …

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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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