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Tag Archives: Special Committee on Covid-19 Response

Comment: Toddling TDs take six-week nap

PERHAPS like toddlers up past their bedtime, TDs were just over-tired as they hurled abuse at each other across the floor of the Convention Centre last week. As the first term of the 33rd Dáil drew to an end with a blazing row over speaking slots, the Leas Ceann Comhairle Catherine Connolly noted that it was very late and everyone was very tired. And after all, forming a government had taken a full four months. The gruelling process caused at least one minister to sink into those plush-looking Convention Centre seats for 40 winks, once the three-way coalition deal was finally done. Toddlers, we can easily forgive. With seasoned politicians, it’s more difficult. Several aspects of first term for the history-making coalition have been unedifying. We have had conflicting messages from the parties and internal wrangling within them. After packing their bags for a six-week break, TDs engaged in further back-biting; online and in the national newspapers. You could be …

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McNamara hears of lockdown plight of children with special needs

THE plight of parents who have been on lockdown caring for their children with special needs, and who would normally access the support of services like those provided by The Clare Cruaders, has been highlighted at the Special Committee on Covid-19. Chairperson of the committee, Scariff TD, Michael McNamara heard from a number of those advocating for children and families, including representatives from Inclusion Ireland, who outlined in detail the strains put on households and the regression experienced while services were closed. While the Department of Education and Skills has initiated an expanded summer programme, known as July provision, there are concerns about the children who will be excluded on the basis of their disabilities. Enda Egan, CEO of Inclusion Ireland told the committee, “The scheme continues to exclude cohorts of children with disabilities and has been characterised by poor planning, leaving schools and families frustrated and in the dark.” He also urged that the scheme be opened to “all children with …

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McNamara concerned lockdown favoured multinationals over small business

CONCERN has been raised by the Chairperson of the Covid-19 Committee that restrictions associated with the coronavirus have disproportionately impacted on small business and driven economic activity “into the hands of multinationals”. Deputy Michael McNamara made his remarks this week as the committee heard from representatives of the business sector. The Scariff-based deputy handed over the chairperson’s role to Deputy Mary Butler, in order to question witnesses Danny McCoy of IBEC and Neil McDonnell of ISME. He noted that a concerning trend during lockdown had been a boost in business for multinationals at the expense of small business. “One of the most worrying economic or financial aspects of the restrictions was the extent to which all economic activity was driven into the hands of multinationals, many of which are headquartered outside of Ireland and pay their taxes elsewhere,” he told the committee. “Farmers’ markets, for example, were inexplicably shut down and people had to go to supermarkets, all of which …

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McNamara Covid Committee Warned Over Hospital Waiting Lists

WAITING lists for procedures at public hospitals could reach one million, the Clare-based Chairperson of the Special Committee on Covid-19 Response, has been told. At a meeting of the committee, Deputy Michael McNamara was told by Dr Anthony O’Connor, a member of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) consultants’ committee, that the delays in routine care in the public sector because of Covid-19 had created that possibility. In response to a question from Deputy McNamara as to what waiting lists in the public health system were likely to be in at the end of the year, Dr O’Connor warned, “Unless we get the system back up and running for routine care in the public sector, we could be looking at one million people by November or December.” Deputy McNamara also questioned Professor Alan Irvine of the Irish Hospital Consultants’ Association (IHCA) about increasing non-Covid capacity at the so-called ‘Model 2’ hospitals, which includes the likes of Ennis General. “Tier 2 hospitals are …

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‘Out of the difficulties and sadness of this pandemic, it has brought us closer together as a community.’

IN recent weeks, debate has been raging over the Covid-19 death toll in residential facilities across Ireland. Despite the differing political opinions, there is little doubt that those living and working in nursing homes were at the forgotten front line for a number of crucial weeks as the pandemic took hold. Keeping coronavirus out involves a heroic struggle against an ever-present enemy. St Theresa’s Nursing Home in Kilrush, is one of the facilities that has managed to avoid an outbreak, while as many a quarter of homes in Clare have been affected to-date, according to the Health Service Executive (HSE). “My heart goes out to those who have had outbreaks,” said Yvonne Moroney, Director of Nursing at the family run facility on the Kilkee Road. “They have done everything in their power, but there is a constant risk and we are all living with that risk.” Yvonne, who is on call 24/7 at St Theresa’s, has seen an already demanding …

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Call for funding equality for public and private nursing homes

THE director of a West Clare nursing home has called for greater equality in funding, so that both private and public operators can meet the highest standards of care. Yvonne Moroney, Director of Nursing at St Theresa’s in Kilrush, called for an end to the current “two tiered service.” She said that the focus on nursing homes, in light of Covid-19 crisis, was an opportunity to plan for improved care of the elderly. In April, The Champion reported on the gap in State support for the private and public nursing home sectors, and published figures showing HSE-run services receiving the lion’s share. “I would like to see changes to the Fair Deal (Nursing Home Subvention) Scheme,” Ms Moroney said, “so that the private sector is paid equal to the public health system, as currently we are a two tiered service as regards financial capital and inspections. Everyone thinks the private nursing homes are getting paid more than the public nursing …

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