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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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County Board open to GAA museum proposals

By Sean Moriarty The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county. There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county.

There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built in their home town.

Before he retired from politics in April, Michael Gleeson was campaigning to build a GAA and cultural museum on the grounds of Fitzgerald Stadium.

His campaign goes back several years before the recession set in, with a €0.5 million bridging loan secured from Croke Park along with funding from Fáilte Ireland. That funding was lost with the onset of the recession before 2010.

Tim Murphy, the outgoing chairman of the Kerry County Board, has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser that no approaches have been made to the County Board at executive level during his five year stint at the helm.

However, he said the Board would be open to such approaches provided there is sound financial planning behind the project in place.

“The first and most important aspect is the capital funding and my understanding is there needs to be Fáilte Ireland funding in place first,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “If it gets up and running, there needs to be very clear talks with all stakeholders so everyone knows each others expectations. A museum attracts footfall, but it costs a lot of money to run. We would offer an open door policy to all proposals but funding, first from a capital point of view and then from an operational point of view, will need to be in place.”

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Loreto pupils are happy to help save the planet

By Michelle Crean School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign. Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme. It’s all about taking on […]

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By Michelle Crean

School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign.

Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme.

It’s all about taking on a litter-picking adventure in their local area as well as learning songs, reading storybooks, filling in activity books while witnessing that their real-world actions are making a positive difference and inspiring others to join the movement.

Picker Pals is a unique primary school programme that gives children the tools and motivation to become the next generation of environmentalists, teacher Claire O’Meara explained.

“The Picker Pal Programme is a fantastic initiative and will go a long way to raise awareness of the impact litter has on our environment,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

Real litter-picking is motivated by a Picker Pack made from upcycled dinghy sails and containing adult and child litter-picking tools, gloves, hi-vis vests and safety information.

“This pack is then taken home by a different pupil every week. That child takes their adult on a litter-picking adventure. The children then tell the story of their litter-picking adventures through art and writing. Raising awareness is an essential part of the solution to littering. Picker Pals gives young people the tools and positive motivation to steward their local environment and make the world a better place.”

The programme, run by environmental NGO VOICE Ireland, is funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and various local authorities across Ireland.

Now in its third year of operation, over one thousand schools all across Ireland will be taking part in the Picker Pals programme this year. In Kerry, 29 schools are taking part, and Scoil Bhríde, Loreto is delighted to be included, she added.

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