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GPs and pharmacists ready to sign up to national vaccine plan

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By Michelle Crean

Local GPs and pharmacies are ready and willing to sign up to the Government's newly announced €91m national plan to administer the COVID vaccine.

As cases still remain high across the country and county, the Government is looking for new ways to get the vaccine out to the public in a more efficient way starting from February.

The plan was presented and then signed off by Cabinet on Tuesday morning by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, and it's understood that GPs and pharmacists will be paid €25 for administering each dose of the vaccine under the deal, with an additional €10 processing fee paid per patient.

As of Wednesday night, 121,900 vaccines have been given to frontline healthcare workers and residents and staff in nursing homes nationally as part of the State’s vaccination programme.

Local pharmacist Ian Trant of Sewells Pharmacy in High Street said that although they have yet to receive any information from the HSE about how it will all proceed, that they will "more then likely sign up" to the deal.

"Once we hear from the HSE, we'll have to sit down and think about it," Ian told the Killarney advertiser this week.
"It's vaccination centres they should be setting up straight away for more space, somewhere like the Aura or the INEC or any hotel with a big function room."

Dr Laura Malone from Killarney GP, said that they too "will be taking part in the COVID-19 vaccination programme".

"It is important for patients to be aware that we do not have any vaccine at present," she told the Killarney Advertiser.

"There is no special list you can be added to so please do not ring your GP to be added to the list. Vaccine roll out will be very specifically targeted at age groups starting with the over 85s. Patients will be invited to attend for their vaccine."

DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES

On Wednesday the Minister for Health also welcomed confirmation that the HSE is to make available to GPs increased direct access to diagnostic services from this week.

The initiative will give GPs across the country the ability to access an additional 94,000 diagnostic procedures, such as X-Rays, CT scans, MRIs, and DEXA.

"This will be a game changer for General Practice," Dr Malone added. "It means that GPs will be able to provide a more effective service for patients. International evidence shows that increased access to diagnostics will lead to a reduction in diagnostic delay, a reduction in the number of referrals to both emergency and out-patient departments, a reduction in unnecessary admissions and an improvement in the quality of referrals overall. This in turn will lead to more effective use of the hospital services and improve the quality of service for patients."

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Relief as indoor dining finally resumes

By Michelle Crean After almost 500 days of closures the sense of relief was evident this week as restaurants, cafés and bars were finally allowed to welcome customers back in. Some had reopened for outdoor dining previously to help keep their businesses afloat but it was back to normal on Monday. According to the new […]

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By Michelle Crean

After almost 500 days of closures the sense of relief was evident this week as restaurants, cafés and bars were finally allowed to welcome customers back in.

Some had reopened for outdoor dining previously to help keep their businesses afloat but it was back to normal on Monday.

According to the new rules as set out by Fáilte Ireland and the Government, in order for customers to access indoor service, they must show proof that they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months. Those who are not yet vaccinated can only be served outside.

A maximum of six people aged 13 and over are allowed per table and it’s advised that face coverings be worn when not at the table, there is no time limit, customers can only eat or drink at a table and not at the bar or counter, and one person must give their details for contract tracing purposes. Live music and dancing is not allowed.

The Killarney Advertiser spoke to a number of businesses this week and overall the feeling was relief that they can finally get back to normal service but the issue of staffing still remains.

Brian Murphy from Courtney’s Bar said he was feeling nervous.

“I’m feeling nervous as we don’t have enough staff,” he said. “It’s a Monday so hopefully we can cope. Things will settle down and we’ll find a level we are all happy with.”

At the Porterhouse Restaurant Lee O’Callaghan said “It’s great to be back open and have people coming into the restaurant”.

“Hopefully we have a long season after being closed for so long.”

Staff at Reidy’s, Ellen Shannon, Rory Carroll and Jack Sweeney, added that they’re delighted to return to indoor dining.

“Hopefully we get back to normal soon and to brighter days ahead.”

At Jimmy Brien’s Bar in Fair Hill, customers echoed the same sentiments about being finally open.

“We are delighted to be back,” Danjoe Aherne said.

“We appreciate everything Alan Breen has done for us. We’re glad to be back home again!” Charlie Buckingham said.

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Killarney hospitality avoids worst of water shortage crisis

By Sean Moriarty. The Killarney hospitality sector avoided the worst of the water shortages that affected 55,000 across the county following a major water break from the Lough Guitane Water Treatment Plant to Sheheree Reservoir on the Central Regional Water Supply Scheme on Tuesday night. As the Killarney Advertiser closed for press yesterday evening (Thursday), the water supply was […]

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By Sean Moriarty.

The Killarney hospitality sector avoided the worst of the water shortages that affected 55,000 across the county following a major water break from the Lough Guitane Water Treatment Plant to Sheheree Reservoir on the Central Regional Water Supply Scheme on Tuesday night.

As the Killarney Advertiser closed for press yesterday evening (Thursday), the water supply was slowly coming back to normal in the areas most-affected by the burst.

Kerry County Council placed mobile water tankers in several of these areas including the Rock Road Car Park, Fossa School, Firies Church Yard and Farranfore GAA grounds and Barraduff Community Centre.

These will remain in place until supply has been fully restored to all areas.

Irish Water are slowly refilling the Sheheree Reservoir and releasing water back into the network in a controlled manner to avoid further rupturing pipes due a sudden increase in pressure.

According to Irish Water, “an estimated 55,000 could have been impacted by the burst main in recent days” with the biggest impact felt in Tralee.

Killarney Hotels and bars escaped the worst of the crisis.

Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry Branch of the Irish Hotel Federation said that Killarney Hotels were not affected by the breakage.

The majority of Muckross Road hotels, including Ms Randles’ Dromhall Hotel are on the same pipeline.

Her brother Thomas runs the Randles Court Hotel next door but is on a different water line and he did not suffer a break in his water supply either.

“I woke up on Wednesday morning in fright,” she told the Killarney Advertiser. “Water is your worst nightmare, so much depends on it from guests’ showers to cooling equipment in the bars, cooking and washing. Several hotels in Killarney have their own wells. We weren’t affected and that means The Brehon, Castle Ross, and Gleneagle and more were not affected. Thomas next door was not affected and he is on a different line to us.”

Special arrangements were made to ensure hospitals and nursing homes were not left without water during the repair work.

Killarney’s Vaccination Centre also remained operational throughout.

Fianna Fáil’s Councillor Michael Cahill who has been highlighting the issue of interrupted water supply throughout Mid and South Kerry for years, has warned that the continuous water mains issue in the county could result in negative publicity for the tourism industry.

“How can we expect visitors to return or recommend our county as a destination if their basic human needs are not met? Planning Permissions for locals are affected by lack of sewerage capacity in a given area. Both these issues must be dealt with immediately,” he said.

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