Morning Focus – Thursday 1st August 2019

Photo © Pat Flynn

On Thursday’s Morning Focus, we looked at what changes to Garda regional structure will mean for rural policing. 

It’s been widely reported this week that Clare Garda Division could be amalgamated with Tipperary, under a new proposed policing model. The restructuring of the force is part of a new model aimed at revamping policing at a local and regional level and includes recommendations of the Garda Inspectorate and the Policing Commission.
Under the plan, the number of Garda Divisions would be cut from 28 to 19, while the number of garda regions will be reduced from 6 to 4.
Clare and Tipperary would merge, and join Limerick, Kerry, and Cork West and North and Cork City in the new Southern Region, rather than being amalgamated with Galway, as previously thought. It’s not clear yet whether the divisional headquarters will be in Ennis or in Thurles.

Irish Examiner Security Correspondent Cormac O’Keefe spoke yesterday to Clare FM’s Fiona Cahill about this and other aspects of the plan.
Dr Johnny Connolly- who joined us on the program to talk about this- is an Irish Research Council Enterprise Scholar at the Centre for Crime, Justice and Victim Studies at the School of Law in the University of Limerick. He is also a Member of the Commission for the Future of Policing in Ireland.


To discuss what the likely changes could mean for rural policing CEO of Muintir na Tíre, and Inagh native Niall Garvey also joined us on the show.

As you may have been hearing on Clare FM News, record-breaking levels of overcrowding have been recorded at the region’s main hospital over the month of July. Over 1,200 patients were left waiting on trolleys at University Hospital Limerick over the course of the last month, representing a 44% rise on the same time last year.
That’s the worst-ever July figure for UHL, with the latest analysis by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation showing 1,293 patients were left waiting on trolleys over the past four and a half weeks, a jump of almost 400 hundred on the same period last year. The main nursing union, the INMO has reacted with alarm as Clare FM’s James Mulhall found out when he spoke to their Midwest representative, Mary Fogarty.

The most recent data from the Department of Housing show that 70 adults are homeless across the county, while local authority figures have also revealed that 48 children were being housed in emergency accommodation towards the end of June. Now those figures change on a monthly basis but, unfortunately, show little signs of any significant improvement – that’s despite initiatives like the family hub here in Ennis.

One organisation at the coalface here is Midwest Simon and later this year they’ll be giving people a taste of what it’s like to be without a roof over their heads, though their now annual SOS Thomond Park Sleep Out. That takes place on November 30. It asks participants to raise €1000 and to join in a night of solidarity with those who are most vulnerable. This year, participants will be given an opportunity to test their skills in a kicking competition led by Munster Rugby’s Dan Goggin. Jackie Bonfield, CEO of Midwest Simon joined us on the line to tell us why this event is so important.

Can you imagine anything nice than an evening cruise under the Cliffs of Moher listening to the wonderful range of singers?
Well now is your chance to do just that as not just one both two musical cruises take place in support of the RNLI. Joe Queally joined us in the studio to tell us more about the fundraiser.

Trish Ward from Clarecastle is a double All-Ireland Currach Racing Champion. Last month, Trish took the Ladies Competition & The Naomh Og completion which took place at Coiste Feile Mhic Dara in the heart of Connamara.

Trish is a proud member of Fergus Currach Racing Club (and one of her teammates is another Banner woman, Leah O’ Sullivan who resides in Kilrush, a member of Doonbeg Curragh Racing Club). Their achievements were witnessed by large crowds who are increasingly interested in this time-honoured (and demanding!) traditional sport.

We heard yesterday from the wonderful Susan McKay who will open this year’s Scariff Harbour Festival 2019. The event is held in association with Waterways Ireland runs from today until Sunday.  It opens with a Christie Hennessey Tribute Concert performed and produced by RTE’s Aonghus McAnally today at the Church of the Sacred Heart. Other musical events include Riptide Movement, Na Fianna, Sean & Conor Price, Rofi James, Country & Irish at the Harbour with Michael O’Brien and Philomena McGovern, the Gearóid Devanny Band and 3 time All-Ireland winners, the Shandrum Céili Band.

There are nature, bio-diversity and scenic walks, boat tours and library talk; fishing and fitness, open days at McKernan Woollen Mills and Scariff Fire Station & an open-air mass, skills workshops, crafts & chainsaw sculptures, riverside park adventures; kids fun zone and the unique game of three halves, selection of Queen of the Waterways and the launch of a new kayaking club, the East Clare Paddlers.
There’s really something for everyone and Harry O’Meara from the Festival Committee joined us live on the show.

Siobhán Mulcahy who is the Arts office for Clare gave us all the details of what is happening in and around Clare for the next week.