New dementia unit awaits HSE funding

A NEW purpose-built Dementia Day Care Unit at Clarecastle remains idle as sufferers await HSE funding to operate the service, a meeting in Clarecastle heard yesterday.

The unit was built in response to the growing number of people in the community diagnosed with the con- dition and anticipated future growth. It is designed to facilitate 25 people per day with mild/moderate demen- wee

According to management, the cen- tre was built at a cost of €850,000 with the Health Services Executive spending €486,000 on the project.

The remaining €364,000_ was sourced from a massive community fund-raising effort. It is planned to open the unit on a phased basis.

PaXCeOcennery Ke) management, €150,000 will be required to oper- ate the new service in year one. This will rise to €300,000 in the year two while €420,000 per annum will be required thereafter when the unit is functioning to full capacity, the meeting heard.

However, the HSE have disputed these figures and say that funding for the project was never guaranteed. In a statement yesterday, a spokesper- Son said,

“It is incorrect to state that the HSE has spent €486,000 on the Clarecas- tle ‘dementia centre’ project. Con- sistently, from late 2006 when the

project was being proposed up until the present date, the HSE has repeat- edly advised the Clarecastle Board that it was not in a position to provide revenue funding for any proposed new service. They were further in- formed that any increase in revenue provision would depend on develop- ment resources becoming available and our service priorities”.

The spokesperson — continued, “They have also been consistently advised that those individuals requir- ing specialist dementia services will continue to receive these services from the HSE provided specialist services or through the Alzheimer’s Society. Clarecastle and District Day care Centre Ltd receive substan- tial funding from the HSE (€481,000 in 2008) to provide daycares services for the elderly and we will continue to support these day centre activities. We have no new development funds and given the existing financial situ- ation do not expect to receive any in the foreseeable future.”

Reacting yesterday, Mary Morris- sey, Chairperson of the District Day Care Centre said she was disappoint- ed with the HSE’s response and that management stood over their state- ments.

The Dementia Unit is designed to complement the existing District Day Care Centre at Clarecastle, which was established in 1999. This community project provides services to older citizens in 12 parishes with

a population of 50,000 and within a ten-mile radius of the centre.

250 people per week currently avail of a broad range of services, which are provided by dedicated profes- sional staff and volunteers. About 25 of these suffer from some form of dementia. Yesterday’s meeting heard

that opening the new unit will also free up spaces in the existing day CP TCM OC NISK OMA. Y ONO UN ST-Ker- Mac UL ODOToMN DRE of 40.

“It is incredibly frustrating to see this state of the art building lying empty while there is a queue of peo- ple waiting to use it. Our day care

services with their high voluntary input save the State a fortune,” said Mary Morrissey.


A young town and still growing

THE baby of local authorities in Clare, Shannon Town Council is just 27 years old.

As Ireland’s only created town and the second largest town in the coun- ty, Shannon received town status on January 1, 1982 when Minister for the Environment Peter Barry signed Shannon Town Commission into be- ing.

Prior to its statutory status, a group called Shannon Alliance represented the concerns of the residents of the fledgling town in negotiations with Shannon Development and Clare County Council.

This Alliance group was made up of two representatives from political parties including Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Féin. These representatives were nominated by their respective political parties.

On December 19, 1980 26 house- holders signed an application to have statutory town commission status granted to the town.

Then county manager Joe Boland, on the bequest of the then Environ- ment Minister Ray McSharry, con- vened a public meeting of the elec- torate of Shannon on April 10, 1981. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the implications of Shannon being granted town status and to out- line the proposed boundaries of the OD e0r

The boundaries excluded the air- port, the Industrial Estate and Smith- stown Industrial Service Area. Fol- lowing numerous and _ protracted negotiations, the Smithstown In-

dustrial Service Area was included within the proposed Shannon Town boundaries.

A poll for the consent of the elec- torate of Shannon to have town sta- tus conferred on the town was held on October 21, 1981. The majority favoured the application.

Shannon’s first town clerk Tomas MacCormaic was appointed on March 4, 1982 to a position he re- tains to this day. Just one week af- ter Mr MacCormaic was employed the first election for Shannon Town Sree OMI eRe lor

There were 26 candidates in that first election and of the nine elected just one remains a member of the council today — Cllr Patricia McCa- MN OWs

While some things have remained constant for the local authority in Shannon there have also been sig- nificant changes, not least its change from Shannon Town Commission to Shannon Town Council under the Mere eounilolmatae

Within the last year changes have also been made that will have a major affect on the upcoming town council elections. On January 1, 1,000 more people became part of the electorate as the boundary was extended from 1,105 hectares to 1,274 hectares.

As well as implications for the elec- tions and increased election quota, the extended town area will also have a huge affect on the local budget.

Last year, in its application to have the boundary extended, Shannon Town Council, supported by Clare County Council, stated that the ex- tension to the existing town was logi- cal given that the residents of the area strongly identified with the town.

The extension means that approxi- mately 350 residential homes and 20 commercial businesses are now add- ed to the town as the boundary has

been extended to include Ballycasey -ViCemoy-Varseeleumectea 0p

Despite its extension Shannon Town Council still does not have the same powers as Ennis and Kilrush town councils.

Among the powers still retained by Clare County Council is that of plan-

ning and planning decisions.

For those involved in the ever in- creasing and developing town coun- cil it is hoped that this change 1s soon on the horizon.


FU CAE eRe Neen om Neher

CLARE County Council have de- fended the amount of money spent on the new Lahinch Lifeguard Centre, saying that the state of the art facil- ity will be looked upon as value for money by future generations.

The centre, which was officially opened last Friday by Mayor of Clare, Cllr Madeleine Taylor Quinn (FG), cost the local authority €340,000, almost €110,000 more than the con- tracted price signed with the devel- oper in March of 2008.

The overrun is believed to have come about as a result of the cost of creating a suitable ESB connection to a sub-station at the far end of the Lahinch promenade, the installa- tion of a speaker system for public announcements and the addition of CCTV cameras at the station.

The increased cost of the facility was criticised by a number of local politicians with north Clare council- lor Martin Conway (FG) calling for a full breakdown of the costings of the facility to be produced by Clare County Council.

“We are getting fantastic value for money with this facility and I think that this facility will be a blueprint that other councils will follow when the overall financial situation 1m- proves,’ said Liam Griffin, Water Safety Officer with Clare County Council.

‘There is a huge investment in fa- cilities like fire stations around the country and I think that centres like

the one here in Lahinch will become more common. There is no putting a cost on human life and I think that in 30 or 40 years from now people will look back on this investment and see that we got good value for money. The new centre was constructed by Ballinasloe based contractor Mota Engil Ireland Construction Ltd and features an observation room, an external viewing deck, a wet room, medical and first aid facilities, a toi- let, store room, shower room and an

external shower. It is being described by the builders as Ireland’s largest lifeguard centre.

“It’s a fantastic facility, it’s the first of it’s kind anywhere in the country,” continued Mr Griffin.

“Tt will allow the lifeguards to do their job using the best facilities and will be a comfortable place for anyone who will need to use it or be treated in the first aid centre. The lifeguards do a very professional and very important job. This centre has a

fantastic overview of the entire beach and an excellent PA system for crowd control situations.”


Finsa workers facing more cutbacks

FU CAE eRe Neen om Neher


State pays Clares top barrister €200k

COUNTY Clare’s top prosecut- ing barrister, Stephen Coughlan BL earned almost €200,000 in fees to prosecute cases on behalf of the State last year.

New figures released by the Dti- rector of Public Prosecutions (DPP) show that Mr Coughlan last year received €195,475. The amount re- ceived by Mr Coughlan appeared in the top ten amounts paid out by the DPP to barristers in 2008.

The payout – inclusive of VAT – to

Mr Coughlan follows the DPP pay- ing him €164,980 to prosecute cases on behalf of the DPP at Ennis and Kilrush Circuit Courts in 2007 and €130,030 paid to prosecute cases in 2006.

The 18 per cent increase in fees se- cured by Mr Coughlan last year can be attributed to the role he played in the State’s prosecution team in the trial of former Killaloe doctor, Pas- chal Carmody for deception.

Over five weeks last summer, Mr Coughlan acted as junior counsel in this case over five weeks.

Mr Coughlan’s senior colleague in that case, Denis Vaughan Buckley SC received the fourth highest amount of any barrister in the country last year when he earned €264,791.

The monies received by Mr Cough- lan were part of €13 million paid out to senior and junior counsel last year by the DPP for the prosecution of cases in the criminal courts across the country.

The vast number of cases that Mr Coughlan would deal with would be pleas of guilt by the defendant.

The figures released by the DPP

also show that the prosecution team in the ‘Lying Eyes’ conspiracy to murder trial feature prominently on the list.

Ennis woman, Sharon Collins and Las Vegas poker player, Essam Eid were both jailed after the eight week long trial and the figures show that the lead prosecutor in the case, Tom O’Connell SC received €294,511 in fees to prosecute cases while his colleague in the trial, while his col- league, Una Ni Raifeartaigh BL re- ceived €170,528 in fees last year from the DPP.


Art and storytelling at Iniscealtra

A UNIQUE collaboration between the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Iniscealtra Festival of the Arts based in Mountshannon will have people aged seven to seventy getting out the paint and brushes.

While youngsters and older people alike are enjoying the experience of producing their own art, one resident in Raheen, Paddy Gleeson, was cel- ebrating a very special birthday this week.

Art by Alice Maher and Paula Rego is on loan to Scariff Library as part of the festival.

More than 100 local school chil- CUCU MM AU MM ATS [Mn NeCoMy Col loimB DOMES KOEI OSS and then use the art room at Raheen to produce their own works, based on what they have seen.

Later in the day, more visitors to Raheen will have the opportunity to see the exhibition and can also pro- duce their own work.

All of the artwork will be later put on exhibit in Scariff library. The exhibitions will also be open to the public.

The art on loan from the Irish Mu- seum of Modern Art’s collection by internationally renowned artists Al- ice Maher and Paula Rego explores the world of childhood stories and memories, nursery rhymes and fairy

tales, in keeping with this year’s fes- tival theme of ‘Myths and Legends’. School children and Raheen Day Care Centre visitors will be led by artists Terry O’Farrell and Nicola Henley in producing their own mas-


“The IMMA has been co-operating with us for 14 years in loaning art during the festival and it’s an impor- tant part of the event because other- wise, a lot of people would never get

the chance to see these works. Not many people would travel to Dublin just to see them,” said Nicola.

The art event 1s supported by the Department of Education and Sci- ence.

Meanwhile, friends and staff at Raheen were helping Paddy Glee- son celebrate his 105th birthday on Wednesday.

Described as a great historian and storyteller, Paddy is “very spry and with it”, staff say.

A full time resident in Raheen in recent months, Paddy was living in a sheltered housing scheme until then.

“He had lots of friends coming in to congratulate him. He’s a great man for telling stories and people love to hear him,” a staff member at the hos- pital said.

To mark the day, Paddy got his fifth presidential medal, an accolade presented to people who reach their 100th birthday and more.

‘“He’s got quite a collection now,” a friend said.


Little Aaron remembered in fundraiser

THE family of a Newmarket-on- Fergus baby who died suddenly a year ago has raised €18,000 in his memory.

15-month-old Aaron Smith died from cot death in April of last year. His heartbroken parents Richie and Therese have decided to help others in a similar situation to themselves and set about raising money for the Irish Sudden Infant Death Associa- tion (ISIDA).

With the help of EI Electronics in Shannon, along with a large circle of family and friends, they raised the money, through a race night at the Oakwood Arms Hotel in Shannon.

Therese’s sister Lesley Kennedy explained the idea behind raising the THe) IAA

“There was nothing wrong with Aaron. They were just told it was a cot death. There was no explana- tion,’ she said.

“It was difficult for everybody. We felt if we organised a fundraiser, it would make people aware of it and of how it happens. We approached EI Electronics because they are involved in race nights. They were very keen to help and we got a great response, ’ she said.

While €18,000 was raised, con- tributions are still being made. “We just want people to be aware of it. It happens,’ she added.

She said that while Aaron’s parents are devastated, they are trying their best to get on with their lives.

“They are coping. They still have bad days but they are just fantastic. If he was sick, you could cope with

it, knowing there was a reason. It shouldn’t happen,” she said.

She said that everyone holds very fond memories of baby Aaron, who was Richie’s and Therese’s pride and joy. “Aaron was a dote. He was a lovely little boy and had a lovely head of blond hair. Everyone was shocked by his death,” said Lesley Kennedy.

She paid tribute, in particular, to the people of Newmarket-on-Fergus, who supported the Smiths both in the aftermath of baby Aaron’s death and also through the fundraiser.

“The people of Newmarket were just fantastic and gave us great sup- port,” said Ms Kennedy.

ISIDA provides support to families bereaved by the sudden death of an infant or young child and to others affected by it. It promotes research into the causes and prevention of

Sudden Infant Death. Its national helpline is 1850 391 391.


Lunchtime treat for music lovers



Ennis man shares his memories of abuse

last week, following the publica- tion of a report by the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. He said the report’s disturbing ac- count of systematic abuse in institu-

tions run by religious orders brought back painful memories of his own childhood.

He has recalled the type of physi- cal punishment given out by teach- ie

“I started in the school in 1956. I went to primary school at the age of six. I didn’t have too many happy days in that system,” he said.

“It was leathers, punches. One man in particular stands out. He had MoD KmOON Dates

‘“He’d get two other people to stand either side of you at the old desk and

he’d hit you into the sides.

“Now, you might say, what was wrong with that?

“First of all, it hurt. Secondly, it wasn’t a nice thing to do to anybody for any reason, let alone for getting something wrong in spelling or not being able to add a few numbers.”

The man said that he dreaded go- ing to school.

“Sometimes, after holidays, when I’d hear that the school was reopen- ing, my father used to tell me I’d be physically sick in the days before go- ing back to school,” he explained.

The man said that he told his fa- ther about the punishment but that corporal punishment was consid- ered appropriate behaviour in the Irish society of the 1950s.

“Ah sure, the thing was, they’d say that he wouldn’t have given you a clip unless you deserved it. This was the era where if you walked down the street and you saw two nuns coming, you stepped off the path completely.”

After battling depression for years and being admitted to several psy- chiatric units, the man said psychol-

ogists identified his school years as a source of immense trauma.

He said, “A lot of what happened to me, a lot of what caused the break- downs, was a build-up of major traumatic episodes from my child- hood in school.”

He added, “Obviously not every- body who’d been through my exper1- ence wouldn’t have had depression.

“Part of it was my personality as well. There are some people who soak up things and others don’t.

‘There are some tough and not so tough.”


An Taisce told ‘hump off’

A SENIOR member of Clare County Council claimed yesterday that An Taisce wants west Clare returned to a green wilderness devoid of people and any semblance of community life.

Kilrush-based Cllr Tom Prendev- ille (FF) was reacting angrily to an An Taisce statement that it intends to refer the adoption of the West Clare Plan to the Minister for the Envi- ronment, John Gormley TD, due to overzoning for housing.

At the council’s May meeting, Cllr Prendeville proposed the adoption of the plan and said the twin objectives were tackling depopulation and pro- viding for the economic development of west Clare.

He said An Taisce “has more con- cern for the corncrake and the cuck- oo than it has for people”.

Cllr Prendeville accused An Taisce’s Heritage Officer, Ian Lum- ley, of having “a brass neck”.

He added, “How dare Mr Lumley dictate to the rural people of Ireland” An Taisce has done more than any other organisation to destroy com- munity life in rural Ireland.”

Cllr Prendeville said Mr Lumley and An Taisce should “hump off”.

“An Taisce appear to be hell-bent on destroying any vestiges of rural life and the ordinary people will stand openly in defiance against this ‘secret society’. An Taisce has never come forward to make one positive idea about rural Ireland.

“Is the power to adopt the West Clare Area Plan a matter for council- lors or are we just stool pigeons and do the bidding of An Taisce?”’

Cllr Prendeville said An Taisce wants to return west Clare to what it looked like 10,000 years ago, and herd young men and women into towns and villages.

Cllr Prendeville said that the West Clare Local Area Plan was agreed

after 15 meetings between council- lors and officials in a spirit of part- nership. In adopting the west Clare plan, councillors dismissed concerns expressed by the Department of the Environment over the overzoning for housing in the sparsely populated area. In voting through the plan 22- 1, councillors have zoned land for housing that will accommodate the additional 16,036 homes.

The Department of the Environ- ment point out that the plan indicates that there will be demand for be- tween only 597 and 1,019 new homes during the six years of the plan.

The councillors voted through the plan in spite of Senior Planner, Gor- don Daly warning that by adopting the plan, the council was breaching the EU Habitats Directive and the Department may refer the matter to the Attorney General’s Office.

The councillors also voted through fresh rezonings in almost every town and village in west Clare.

In a letter to the council warning not to overzone the lands, the depart- ment submission states, ““The council is requested to reduce the extent of residential land use zonings outlined in the settlements and clusters in the draft plan as it does not appear to have any basis in relation to the Clare Housing Strategy or any other plan or strategy.”

The council’s overzoning takes in Ballynacally, Bealaha, Cooraclare, Cree, Doonaha, Doonbeg, Kilbaha, Kilkee, Killimer, Kilmihil, Kilmur- ry McMahon, Knockerra, Lissyca- sey, Mullagh and Querrin.