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60 cases of COVID-19 in Kerry – eight deaths nationally since yesterday (Sunday)

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There is a total of 295 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationally, 60 cases of COVID-19 in Kerry, while eight patients in Ireland have died since yesterday (Sunday).

So far in Ireland there’s 2,910 and 54 COVID-19 related deaths.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today (Monday) been informed that eight patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in Ireland have died.

• Six deaths located in the east, one in the south and one in the west of the country.
• The patients included five females and three males.
• The median age of today’s reported deaths is 86.
• Six patients were reported as having underlying health conditions.

Today’s data from HPSC, as of midnight, Saturday, March 28 (2,475 cases), reveals:

• 50% are male and 49% are female, with 111 clusters involving 428 cases
• the median age of confirmed cases is 47 years
• 645 cases (26%) have been hospitalised
• Of those hospitalised, 84 cases have been admitted to ICU
• 578 cases (23%) are associated with healthcare workers
• Dublin has the highest number of cases at 1,393 (56% of all cases) followed by Cork with 217 cases (9%)
• Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 50%, close contact accounts for 27%, travel abroad accounts for 23%

“We are beginning to see encouraging signs in our efforts to flatten the curve,” Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said.

“However, we cannot become complacent as we are still seeing new cases and more ICU admissions every day.

“Our strategy remains the implementation of public health restrictions to interrupt the spread of the virus and prevent people from arriving to ICU in first place.”

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group (IEMAG), said; “We know what an unmitigated epidemic looks like, we are not on that track.

“The model reveals that before restrictions were in place, daily growth rate of confirmed cases was at 33%. This has fallen in recent days to around 15%. But it is still growing and needs to fall further.
“It takes time to see the impact of our efforts in the numbers. It will be another 7-10 days before we have a reliable picture of how effective our collective efforts have been.”

The Department of Health recently published an “Ethical Framework for Decision-Making in a Pandemic”.

“Clinicians have to make tough decisions, often on a daily basis,” Dr Siobhán O’Sullivan, Chief Bioethics Officer, Department of Health, said.
“This framework has been developed to support clinicians in making sound clinical judgement, within a very complex environment.

“We will continue to support our healthcare professionals, especially in the toughest aspects of their work.”

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Musician Liam O’Connor back and busier than ever

By Sean Moriarty Local musician Liam O’Connor has gone from zero to hero following the lifting on the ban on live music as a result of pandemic restrictions. On Saturday he played his first gig in over 18 months, next Friday he will release a new single, and before that he will play a special gig […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Local musician Liam O’Connor has gone from zero to hero following the lifting on the ban on live music as a result of pandemic restrictions.

On Saturday he played his first gig in over 18 months, next Friday he will release a new single, and before that he will play a special gig in London.

Liam and his family played at the Kerry County Council organised ‘ANSEO’ concert in North Kerry that was run to coincide with the Listowel Harvest Festival last weekend.

It was his first live show since he played at St Brendan’s College, Killarney when he shared the stage with special guest, former Irish rugby coach, Joe Schmidt. That event took place on March 11, 2020, the night before the country entered its first COVID-19 lockdown.

The ‘ANSEO’ series of concerts signalled the return of live music in Kerry and the O’Connor family shared the stage with other local musicians like Tim O’Shea and his Afro Trad Ireland group.

“People were delighted, they were mad for it, they were obviously missing it,” Liam told the Killarney Advertiser. “But they are not letting go just yet, they are still a bit hesitant.”

This Sunday Liam heads to London were he will help Dan Tim O’Sullivan steer sheep over Southwark Bridge (see page 36 for more on this story).

To cap an exceptionally busy period for the local accordion player, he has joined forces with Moya Brennan of Clannad fame. Brennan and O’Connor will release a new single – ‘Strong in Numbers’ on Friday next, October 1.

They previously performed together at a concert in the Friary in 2017.

“It was such a positive experience for all of us we just had to repeat it,” he added. “So not only have we done this recording of ‘Strong in Numbers’ but we are planning to do the Friary again later this year. After that, I wouldn’t rule anything out.”

Meanwhile, the ‘ANSEO’ series visits Killarney on Sunday night.

The Fair Hill car park will host two shows featuring: The Gleneagle Concert Band; Pauline Scanlon with Mick Galvin; The Small Hours; The Rising; Cathal Flaherty and Truly Diverse.

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Coach operators plead for Government aid in budget

By Sean Moriarty   A Killarney tour operator has called for the Government to provide further financial aid for the industry in light of an uncertain 2022 season. He described to an Oireachtas Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sports and Media on Wednesday how a coach with just two American tourists and two staff […]

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By Sean Moriarty
 

A Killarney tour operator has called for the Government to provide further financial aid for the industry in light of an uncertain 2022 season.

He described to an Oireachtas Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sports and Media on Wednesday how a coach with just two American tourists and two staff is currently touring Ireland.

Representatives from the Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC) including Mike Buckley of Kerry Coaches, were invited to outline the detrimental impact COVID-19 has had on the coach tour industry.

Mr Buckley said he and his industry colleagues were desperate to highlight that Ireland was open for business and that the empty coach was an attempt by tour operators to prove how far they are willing to go to get this message out there.

“There is a reticence by people who travel in large numbers, people are not buying,” he told the meeting.

“There is anecdotal evidence that one coach operator is touring Ireland with two passengers, a driver and a tour guide.”

Mr Buckley said he was grateful for the previous support the industry had received but that funding stems back to the summer of 2020 and they were not included in the July 2021 round of funding.

That money was put towards existing loans on buses and coaches and has now dried up.

“It was like putting a bandage over a major bleed or haemorrhage,” he added.

The CTTC said that the coach industry contributed €215 million to the economy in 2019, the last year full figures are available for.

“Shops, cafes, hotels, attractions are hugely dependent on coach tours,” he added.

Kerry Coaches, in peak times, employ up to 114 drivers and tour guides.

“We are down to a skeleton staff,” he added.

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