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Tag Archives: lockdown

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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Cusack Park swaps balls for swabs for Covid-19 testing

MORE than 1,000 Covid-19 tests have been taken in Clare over a four-week period, according to new figures released by the Mid-West HSE. The HSE has confirmed 1,055 tests for the virus were carried out in Cusack Park from July 20 to August 16 and it previously confirmed there were more than 1,000 appointments at the drive through community test centre at the county GAA grounds of Cusack Park from April 23 until early June. Figures provided by the Health Surveillance Protection Centre have shown the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases notified in Clare grew slightly from 439 up to midnight on August 17 to 445 up to midnight on August 23. It looks as if the recent growth of cases in has slowed to an average of about two a day after a significant spike in previous weeks. A few weeks ago, Clare had a very low incidence rate of Covid-19 with only one case recorded between May 31 …

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Sweet smell of success for childhood friends

TWO enterprising Ennis ladies put the long weeks of the lockdown to good use when they learned news skills and started their own business. Danielle Kenneally and Chantell Keane, who are long-time friends, and hail from Waterpark Heights and Hermitage respectively, both have day jobs that they love, but recently found that a shared passion for candle-making has inspired them to work towards building their own business. “We go back a long way,” said Chantell. “We spend a lot of time together and during lockdown, we decided that we would do some online training. We were interested in scented candles because we both love them and saw a gap in the market in terms of providing a great customer service.” The girls were soon putting their training and creativity to good use with the production of a special line of wax melts. “A wax melt is basically a wickless candle,” Danielle explained. “They’re fragranced and you melt them by putting …

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Covid doesn’t take a holiday when the sun comes out

AN EMOTIONAL appeal has been issued by the father of a young Shannon girl with Cystic Fibrosis, as the county’s rate of Covid-19 spiked sharply this week. Kieran McCarthy, dad of 12-year-old Aoibheann, and a member of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland (CFI) is urging people not to become complacent about their safety and that of others, especially the most vulnerable. He said that in recent days, he has seen “crazy things,” that are very upsetting to his family and to others at risk. He told The Champion he believes the change in government has led to confusion over the safety message, and called for more to be done to convince younger people of the need to protect their families and the wider community. “Some people don’t understand because they have never had to experience illness or loss,” he said. “Some people are oblivious. Nine out of ten teens don’t understand hardship and loss. What they don’t realise is that it will …

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