Morning Focus Thursday September 29th

Author & Journalist with The Irish Times, Frank McDonald spoke with Clare FM’s John Cooke today about a talk he will give tonight at 8.30pm in the Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon – entitled “After the Boom: Picking up the Pieces”. Mr. McDonald is the Environmental Editor of the Irish Times and he’s also the author of books including "The Builders" which looked at those involved in Ireland’s Property Boom and subsequent crash and other books on Heritage and Modern Development including “The Destruction of Dublin and Saving the City” Frank is known most for his writing in the Irish Times, particularly for his views on ghost estates, modern toll roads and infrastructure and the need to protect our built and natural heritage. Tonight – he will speak as a guest of the Save Ennistymon Heritage Group – who is campaigning for the preservation of Blakes Corner. Frank has been interested in the Blakes Corner issue since he first spotted and photographed the protected buildings of Blakes and Linnanes in 1992 – and believes any plan to remove them to improve traffic in the area must be opposed.

Greg Straton, Director of the Spiritan Asylum Services Initiative (Spirasi) discussed the group’s role in lobbying for reform of the asylum process in Ireland. The Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, said in the Dáil in June this year that it would cost an estimated €67.5 million this year to provide for the asylum seekers who are being provided for by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA). There are at present 6,107 people in direct provision. The group argues that this is a huge unnecessary cost that could be significantly reduced if the asylum process was made faster and fairer. They say it would save the state tens of millions of euro every year and it would be fairer to the people who are waiting for a decision if they will become refugees or not. Asylum seekers are barred by law from working. Some of them wait more than five years for a decision to be made about them being allowed stay in Ireland. Spirasi feels his uncertainty in these people’s lives has a huge toll on their emotional and mental health. Uncertain of what will happen, the asylum seekers get depressed and despondent. There is an asylum reception centre in Knocklisheen, Meelick that accommodates 225 people.

Tom Byrne of Kilkee Civic Trust and Organiser of “Che Do Bheatha”, the inaugural Latin Festival in the West Clare town spoke to Morning Focus about plans and preparation for the weekend. The Festival will run from Friday 30th September to Sunday October 2nd and is a celebration of Che Guevara’s 50th anniversary visit to Kilkee. Music, cigars, tango, drinks, Tapas, Salsa, film and talks will take place throughout the weekend to mark the occasion, which organisers hope will become an annual event. The opening ceremony will take place between 5-6pm and will be performed by her Excellency Teresita Trujillo, Cuban Ambassador to Ireland in the Strand Hotel.


Also on today’s show;

Jim McGrath, Honorary Branch Organiser with SIPTU explained the work stoppages undertaken by nurses and staff at the Mid Western Regional Hospital in Dooradoyle. Staff at the mid west region’s main A&E walked off the job for four hours again yesterday to highlight what they describe as "gross overcrowding" in the department in a campaign that’s continued since A and E services in Ennis and Nenagh for centralised with the regional hospital in Limerick two years ago. They say both The Minister for Health Dr James Reilly and the Heath Service Executive have failed to address their concerns over patient safety but Minister Reilly said the stoppage was unsafe, unsound and unwarranted. However the Health Minister told the Dail that it’s the action taken by the nurses which poses a risk to patients at the hospital. SIPTU Nursing members working in the A and E department in the Mid-West Regional Hospital Limerick will undertake another work stoppage, next Tuesday (4th October) between 8.30 a.m. and 12.30 p.m

Kieran Lynch and Bernie Barry, both from Inagh joined John Cooke live in studio to talk about their fundraising efforts on behalf of local charities. Kieran, Bernie and a group of 14 others are travelling to Tanzania next Tuesday October 4th to scale Mount Kilimanjaro in a bid to raise money for local charities. Kieran’s chosen charity is Cancer Care West while Bernie is hoping to raise funds for the Cian Cleary Benefit Fund.

Gerardine Hassett, President of the Sixmilebridge ICA Guild discussed the organisation locally and how it hopes to attract new members. The Sixmilebridge ICA Guild is hosting an open evening this evening at the Parochial Hall from 7.30 to 9pm. ICA is Ireland’s largest network of local women’s groups. For generations they have been a source of friendship, support, education and civic engagement of women throughout Ireland. They will also unveil their Winter Programme of events this evening.

John Underhill of Burren Vets joined Morning Focus for his weekly veterinary feature.

If you have a comment or question for Morning Focus you can email the show at [email protected] or text your comment to Clare FM on 53030.