Morning Focus Blog – 03/12/18

Photo © Pat Flynn

Today’s Morning Focus commenced with a fresh look at the issues facing small towns and rural Ireland with Independent Cllr Ian Lynch from Kilrush and Fianna Fáil Cllr Richard Nagle from Ennistymon.

Among the issues chartered surveyors say are a ‘perfect storm’ are online shopping, out of town shopping centres and high vacancy rates.

Then we looked at the continuing debate raging in Dáil Éireann surrounding abortion services and the 8th Amendment. Thus far TDs have only dealt with around two thirds of amendments to the proposed abortion legislation bill while pro-life deputies have been accused of trying to delay the laws which would allow abortions to be carried out in Ireland. We got the Pro-Life Campaign’s Cora Sherlock’s opinion on the situation.


The hour ended with an insight into ICMSA’s AGM in Limerick last Friday where the issue on everyone’s mind was the impending Brexit. With British MPs set to vote on the withdrawal agreement this month Agriculture Minister insists it’s vital not to jump the gun and panic about Ireland’s future trade relationship with the EU but he cannot give farmers any reassurances this side of the Westminster vote on a Brexit deal.

The second hour opened with our weekly Garda Focus segment with Clare’s Crime Prevention Officer, Sgt. Triona O’Rourke.

Then we heard calls for a cancer drug, Pembrolizumab (Pembro), to be made available to all women affected by cervical cancer. The drug is taught to be effective at targeting cervical cancer and extending the life of sufferers. Currently only those affected by the CervicalCheck scandal are receiving the drug from the Irish State currently. We spoke to Vicky Phelan, who broke the CervicalCheck controversy, about how the drug has improved her life. We also spoke with Áine Morgan from Loughrea who was diagnosed with termina cervical cancer in October 2015 and is preparing to pay for Pembro privately.  We also spoke with Labour Deputy Alan Kelly, who is supporting the calls for the drug to be provided to all patients. A dosage of Pembro is required every three weeks at a cost of 8,500 euro.

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Then it was time to remember the life and career of former US President George Bush Sr. after his passing at age 94 on Friday. We spoke to Liam Skelly who during his own career as Director of Shannon Airport had much contact with Bush and developed what can only be described as a friendship with the man. Bush met Skelly a number of times as he came to and from the airport and Bush sent him a number of letters thanking him for his hospitality.

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The hour rounded out with a preview of the award winning film The Silver Branch as it gears up for a new set of screenings on Sunday the 9th of December in Culturlann Sweeney in Kilkee at 7pm and on Sunday the 16th of December in Burren Centre in Kilfenora at 7pm. Sunday the 2nd of December already saw a screening take place in Glór.

The final hour of today’s show opened with our regular Monday Sport segment where Derrick Lynch discussed all things sport for this week.

After that it was time for a bit of Christmas magic as Gavin brought us on one of the Santa Flights in Shannon Airport. The two day long weekend event sees 2,000 lucky kids descend upon the airport for a day of fun and of course a chance to see Santa himself.

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Then we got a sneak peak at a new single from up and coming artist Seán O’Malley. O’Malley will be launching his new single, The Evangelist, on Wednesday (December 5th) at a sold out event at the Armada Hotel. O’Malley is using the single to raise funds for the charity Elevate.

The show concluded with another segment of the Morning Focus Book Club. This week’s guests included Dolores Meaney and Teresa Carmody O’Shea from Clare County Library HQ in Ennis. The book discussed was JG Farrell’s Trobles.

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