Morning Focus – Friday 13/03/20

Today on Morning Focus, we were joined on the line by Noeleen Fitzgerald, Head of (Finance, Human Resources and) Corporate Services with Clare County Council to discuss the measures the government has taken regarding Covid – 19.

Thousands of people are working from home today as schools, colleges and creches remain closed. 70 people have now been infected with the coronavirus in Ireland, and one person has died. Clare County Council has announced a widespread closure of the county’s offices, cultural facilities, and sports and recreation buildings, in line with the government’s measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

You can listen back to the interview below:


Next on Morning Focus, we were joined on the line by Bishop Fintan Monahan as the Diocese of Killaloe have said all masses are being cancelled. The measures are being put in place with immediate effect, following Government and Public Health advice, and will remain in place until March 29th, as part of efforts to protect the most vulnerable in society.

Funeral and wedding services will go ahead, but the Diocese is asking that these be attended by only family and close friends – the government has recommended against indoor gatherings of more than 100 guests. All confirmations have been cancelled until further notice, and in a statement, Bishop Fintan Monahan says that while he “appreciates that many of these measures may be a great challenge to people of faith,” the care and well-being of everyone is the priority.

If you missed it, you can listen back below:

Then on the show, Joe Robbins of CareerWise joined us on-air to speak about what working from home might mean for you following the announcement yesterday that people should work from home where possible. Parents are also juggling childcare at the same time. The Government has urged employees to work from home where possible, and also asked employers to be flexible with their employees needs and try to facilitate working from home. We spoke with Joe about how you will be affected in your work place, what responsibilities do employers have, and what supports are available?

You can listen back below:

Following from that interview, we heard from David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence as he spoke to Clare FM’s Ben Sweeney about how they are urging people not to post pictures of empty supermarket shelves on line. The Ennis based Retail Excellence is reassuring shoppers that shelves are restocked daily, and this will continue to be the case. It says sharing images of bare supermarkets is “sensationalizing the matter” after the Government earlier urged people not to stockpile or panic buy.

After the 10 am News we were joined by Dr Maire Finn of Ennis Medical as she provided us with some advice regarding the Covid -19 situation as it stands.

You can listen back below:

Next we spoke about how An Post have announced they will make allowances for special arrangements for customers in receipt of Social Welfare payments. Money can now be collected by a friend or relative on behalf of the person it’s for. The alternative collectors will have to be nominated and present valid ID, as well as the recipient’s card from the Department of Employment Affairs. Nomination forms are available in the Post Office.

Further we heard from Joe Cooney as Clare County Board has cancelled fixtures. There’ll be no GAA fixtures in Clare for at least the next two weeks. It’s after Croke Park issued a statement, alongside the Camoagie Association and the LGFA advising against matches and training sessions for club, educational and inter-county codes.

On a lighter note, we were joined on air by Olivia King, Kilkishen Development as a number of communities around Clare have set up community support groups amid the Covid-19 scare. One of those is Kilkishen who have volunteers prepared to run errands for those who are uncomfortable leaving the house or who may not have means to travel.

To wrap up Morning Focus, we were joined on the airwaves by Clare Rose of Tralee, Victoria O’Connell as she was due to travel to NYC this weekend to take part in their annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It’s been called off, and so too has the Roses’ trip.