Morning Focus Friday September 16th

On today’s Morning Focus the issue of cuts in Health Service funding was raised by mothers in the Shannon area.  More health cuts in Clare are in the pipeline as the HSE attempts to reign in a 20 million euro budget deficit. The Health Service Executive has confirmed that ante natal services in Shannon which have been in place for nearly two decades, are set to be axed next month. From October the 1st, classes which are provided for expectant mothers at the local health centre will be transferred to Ennis and Limerick. Between 9 and 12 couples will be affected by the move which the HSE insists is necessary in order to maximize the use of scarce resources. However speaking to Clare FM’s John Cooke, Mayor of Shannon Mary Brennan says it’s a huge loss to the local community and puts an unnecessary burden on mums to be. Also discussing the issue on Morning Focus was Evelyn Hughes, who is expecting her first baby on the 11th January next year. She was booked in for antenatal classes in Shannon this October. She wasn’t informed that the classes weren’t going ahead anymore and is now concerned where she will go to avail of the service and if she will be automatically put on a list in either Limerick or Ennis or if she will even get a place. Bridget O’Halloran from Ballycasey took the course last year and felt it was a vital local service, particularly for first time mothers. Her baby Harry is now nine months old.

Tom King, Chairperson of the Disabled People of Clare (DPOC) and Thomas Connole, who is visually impaired, joined John Cooke live in studio to talk about cuts to their services and how they are lobbying for those cuts to be reversed. The DPOC have sent out letter to 120 people who have experience cuts in their disability supports and Personal Assistance that allow people with a disability to live more independently and also live in their homes. They say some people have lost 50% of their service which has been delivered by the Irish Wheelchair Association here in Clare.

Also on today’s show;


Gerry O’Neill from Quin spoke about how he came up with the idea of an official document to certify Irish heritage to those whose ancestors originated in Ireland.
A Certificate of Irishness will be launched by Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore in New York later this month and it’s hoped it could encourage more people to visit Ireland.  Gerry discussed how the idea came about and about his involvement with the Irish American community in the US and about fostering links with those who have Irish connections.

Neilus and Pat O’Doherty from Ennistymon and Fr. Msaky, Parish Priest in Pemba, Tanzania were live in studio to discuss Pemba Support Tanzania. Three years ago the couple set up an NGO called ‘Pemba Support’ after travelling to the island with Voluntary Service Overseas. They bring 12 volunteers to Pemba Island, Tanzania each year and have worked with Fr. Msaky, CSSp who is currently visiting them in Clare. Pemba Support’s focus is in education, health, agriculture, marine and social work with the blind and people with leprosy. A sister NGO: ‘Pemba Support Tanzania’ has just been formed. They are hoping to help the locals become more sustainable with ideas such as growing seaweed, fish farming and other agricultural pursuits.

Christy Healy, the Kilmaley native who is in training to complete a diving world record has had to postpone his attempt which was due to take place this weekend.
On Sunday, Christy was to attempt to set the fastest time ever for an underwater dive from Crab Island in Doolin – 10 km out into the Atlantic Ocean while remaining underwater for the entire period. This has been postponed until the 2nd of October because of bad weather conditions.

If you have a comment or query for Morning Focus you can contact the show via email at [email protected] or text Clare FM followed by your comment to 53030