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Tag Archives: Senator Martin Conway

Scrutiny issue of new blocks grant proves politically divisive

INTENSIVE efforts to ensure consultation on the new defective concrete blocks grant, which is to cover this county, have resulted in an agreement to hear from affected homeowners before legislation is finalised. The announcement from the Housing Committee falls short of full pre-legislative scrutiny (PLS), which had been sought by campaign groups, including that in Clare. However, it will mean that members of Clare Pyrite Action Group (CPAG) are likely to get the opportunity to address the committee next week. It also means the legislation can be fast-tracked. The move follows a request by Deputy Joe Carey and two party colleagues to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing to engage in a PLS process. “With Deputy Kieran O’Donnell from Limerick and Deputy Joe McHugh from Donegal, I have written to the Chair of the Housing Committee seeking PLS,” Deputy Carey confirmed. “I have also asked Minister Darragh O’Brien to facilitate a full briefing for the Clare Pyrite Action Group (CPAG) …

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Expert team commences scrutiny of UHL ED operations

HEALTH specialists from the HSE’s Performance Management Team have started a review of the management of the Emergency Department in UHL. Responding to questions from Senator Martin Conway at a Health Committee meeting this week, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said these specialists would be working with the clinical and management team to address issues at the hospital. Senator Conway asked Mr Reid what was his view on the need for an independent review of overcrowding in UHL, which has been requested by the staff and nursing unions. Mr Reid said the issues affecting the ED in UHL were different than Galway and didn’t support the call for an independent review as he felt their specialist team had the expertise to look at patient flow and other factors that are impacting on the hospital. National HSE acute operations director, Liam Woods said while the situation at UHL is not unique, he acknowledged attendance growth is one of the highest nationally …

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Clare rate payers ‘will not tolerate’ heritage site expenses

SHOULD the Clare County Council takeover of Shannon Heritage proceed it can’t come at the expense of services in Clare County Council or the ratepayers of Clare. This was the view expressed by Senator Martin Conway in the Seanad this week, as he raised the transfer with Minister of State Robert Troy.  “Some €15 million over three years is required, but that will only be the start of it. I understand that due diligence is still under way. “This investment is necessary so that ratepayers and the council do not take a financial hit. We cannot compromise critical services that the local authority provides, for example, housing. “If the council is expected to take over the facilities – it is happy to do so – then the Government needs to step up to the plate and provide the necessary financial resources to make this happen, allow it to be successful in the short term and make it sustainable into the …

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School bus hitch for Ukrainian arrivals in North Clare

ASSURANCES have been given on the arrangements for school transport for Ukrainian pupils who have recently arrived in North Clare. Among them are 26 children who have been welcomed into St Augustine’s National School in Kilshanny. They are part of a group of around 500 people to take up residence in Lisdoonvarna in recent weeks. More than 100 children are being provided with educational facilities, based on availability in neighbouring schools. While the new arrivals were provided with private bus transport for a number of days, the Department of Education has not made any formal provision yet and the children have no other way to get to the school, which is around seven kilometres away. Councillor Joe Garrihy said Lisdoonvarna Fáilte are prepared to do all in their power to welcome new arrivals and ease their access to local services. “We have been searching behind every hedge for bus transport and everyone has been really cooperative, however we did have …

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Call to employ Ukrainians to support own community in Clare

JOBS for Ukrainian professionals could help to provide support for those fleeing to Ireland and minimise the impact on services, Clare’s Fianna Fáil senator has said.  During a Seanad debate, all three of Clare’s senators commended the efforts made in this county to welcome refugees. Senator Timmy Dooley said that, after speaking to a number of health and education professionals, he believes they have the capacity to support their community.  He said that following his own first-hand experience in Ukraine and Poland, the scale of the crisis has not yet become apparent. “I do not think we have seen anything like the scale of the demand just yet,” he said. “I hope and I have great faith in the Irish people that they will stick with it. Everybody I have met wants to be part of the solution right now. “This will require holding the nerve as numbers increase. We are at 10,000. It is a long way to 100,000 …

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Shannodoc service to be examined as part of wider GP review

THE provision of out-of-hours GP services in the Mid-West will be examined as part of a wider strategic review of general practice, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler has announced. Responding to questions in the Seanad from Senator Martin Conway, Minister Butler stated preparatory work for this review has already started this year. Since the emergence of Covid-19, the HSE provided out-of-hours co-operatives with a support grant to ensure continuity of care. Minister Butler confirmed funding for Shannondoc was increased to over €6.8 million in 2020. “Where there is increased demand in certain areas, Shannondoc can provide support from other treatment centres, to ensure services are provided where needed most,” said Minister Butler. “The service is demand-led, and the HSE has advised that Shannondoc has continued to meet the targets for urgent and routine calls set out under its service level agreement. “The Government is committed to increasing the number of GPs working nationwide and …

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Clare senator demands timeline for free HPV vaccines

A COMMITMENT and timeline to provide the free HPV vaccine to young Clare people must be given by the Department of Health, according to Senator Martin Conway. Senator Conway’s call coincides with the publication of a new health report recommending a review of options for a HPV vaccine catch-up programme without any commitment to provide free jabs. This is in conflict with a commitment given by Minister of State, Anne Rabbitte during a Seanad debate last September following representations made by Senator Conway. Senator Conway has warned the cost of the HPV vaccine is a punitive €600 and is extremely off-putting for people who decided latterly to take up the vaccine, having not done so when the opportunity was initially available in schools. He said the family of the late HPV Ennis vaccine campaigner Laura Brennan continue to campaign tirelessly for the removal of these costs, as she continues to inspire the people of Clare as well as the entire …

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Forestry operators wrecking Clare roads, claims senator

A CLARE senator has been sharply critical of damage to rural roads by forestry operators, writes Fiona McGarry. Senator Martin Conway raised the issue with the minister with responsibility for the sector, Senator Pippa Hackett last week. The Ennistymon native told Minister Hackett that Coillte and other operators were ‘wrecking’ roads. The Fine Gael member called for forestry operators to be required to set aside funds to pay for the repair of damage. He also voiced concerns about “non-existent” communication from operators with the local authority. “The problem is when Coillte, for example, goes in and fells trees, unfortunately the roads, which are largely built on bog, are not able to handle the heavy goods vehicles that are transporting the timber,” Senator Conway said. “This has caused a major problem for people who live in the area, such as farmers and families who use the roads and the local authority. “The issue is that the local authority could have resurfaced …

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