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Over €375m funding announced to help schools reopen at the end of August

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By Michelle Crean

 

Education Minister Norma Foley has this evening announced that schools will reopen at the end of August.

 

The Department is providing capital and current funding of over €375 million to support the safe and sustainable reopening of schools under the Reopening Our Schools - The Roadmap for the Full Return to School’.

The package includes:

  • Plans for an additional 1,080 teaching posts at post-primary level at a cost of €53 million, to include the following measures:

-       120 guidance posts will be provided to support student well-being

-       An initial allocation of over 600 posts to be made available to post-primary schools

-       Remaining posts will be used to support those post-primary schools experiencing particular difficulties to reopen fully and adhere to physical distancing and class sizes.

  • Additional funding, estimated at €84.7 million, so that schools can employ replacement teaching staff, SNA and administrative staff. This can occur where staff members who are identified in line with HSE guidance as at ‘very high risk’ of COVID-19 are advised to cocoon.
  • Additional funding of €41.2 million, to provide primary schools with substitute staff. This will provide more certainty on the availability of substitutes for primary schools and cover substitutions that are not covered by existing schemes, as well as where staff members who display symptoms cannot come to work in the school, in line with public health advice.
  • An estimated additional cost of €40m to provide post-primary schools with additional supervision of students. This will be a key control measure to support schools to minimising interaction of students from different classes, in line with public health advice.
  • An additional €52 million for schools to put in place enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools. This is being provided on a per-pupil basis and is intended to allow an additional four to six hours cleaning per day in schools.
  • Provide all teaching principals at primary level with a minimum of one release day per week to relieve the administrative burden arising from the changes and the impacts of COVID-19 and a new measure to provide deputy principals with some release days, ranging from five days to 16 days depending on the school size, to support administrative principals.
  • A €75 million capital allocation to support schools to prepare their buildings and classrooms for reopening including an uplift for schools with SEN pupils.
  • €4.2 million to enable schools to employ an aide to implement the logistical changes needed in schools – moving furniture, changing classroom layouts, set up hand sanitising stations, signage etc.
  • €3.8m to provide release time for each school to have a lead worker representative, whose role is to support the school to manage the risk of COVID-19 infections.

“This is a comprehensive plan that will support our schools to reopen for the new school year,” Minister Foley said.

“We have worked extremely hard to develop plans that not only provide certainty to schools as to what they need to do, but that are meaningful, practical, and realistic.

“There is a strong emphasis in the roadmap on safety, and on practical arrangements, but also on ensuring the well-being of the students and of the entire staff community. I am deeply conscious that children and young people have had their learning disrupted due to the global pandemic.

“Our schools now face another challenge, to support our students to return to and stay in school safely, to re-engage them and support them to settle in, and progress in their learning.

“I have today written to all members of school staff and to parents, thanking them for the roles they are playing and will continue to play as we return at the end of August. We will continue to communicate with schools and through them with parents and students, as schools return, and keep a close eye to ensure that the supports are working as they should. I am delighted we have been able to secure such a comprehensive package of support, which will ensure that at the end of August we will once again hear the joy and laughter of children and young people in our schools.”

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Siobhan’s going ‘Up the Hill’ for Jack & Jill

By Michelle Crean A Killarney-based nurse is seeking support for a fundraiser next month which will help sick Kerry children and their families. Siobhan Reen, a Specialist Children’s Liaison Nurse with the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation, is encouraging members of the public to gather friends and family and go Up the Hill for Jack […]

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By Michelle Crean

A Killarney-based nurse is seeking support for a fundraiser next month which will help sick Kerry children and their families.

Siobhan Reen, a Specialist Children’s Liaison Nurse with the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation, is encouraging members of the public to gather friends and family and go Up the Hill for Jack & Jill this October to raise much-needed funds for the nine families it supports in Kerry.

This is the seventh year of the nationwide fundraising challenge which helps fund specialist home nursing care, respite support and end-of-life care for very sick children up to the age of six.

Notwithstanding the pandemic, in 2020 Jack & Jill funded and delivered over 94,000 hours of home nursing care to 376 families, through a team of hundreds of nurses and carers in communities across the country.

This was in addition to the 25,000 hours of hands-on, case management provided by the Jack & Jill core nursing team, which is made up of 15 specialist children’s liaison nurses. In 2020, Jack & Jill also extended the age range of children it supports by a year and that age extension continues today, with children up to six years of age receiving the vital care that they need at home. Because, for a Jack & Jill child, there is no care like home care.

With less than 20 percent of Jack & Jill’s funding coming from Government, it relies hugely on the support of the public for the continued provision of this critical service for so many families.

Siobhan says that ‘Up the Hill’ means so much to local families, who depend on the funds raised for their support.

“To say that it has been a very tough 18 months for our Jack & Jill families is an understatement,” Siobhan said.

“As one of the vulnerable groups during the pandemic, our families have had to take refuge in order to keep themselves and, most importantly, their children safe. It has been really tough. Throughout this time, we have continued to provide in-home support, across the garden wall support, and over the phone support. Last year, we provided over 2,100 hours of support to families in Kerry. This affords families the ‘Gift of Time’ to do things for themselves and other family members – whether it’s spending some quality time with a sibling, grabbing a quick coffee with a friend, getting some fresh air in the great outdoors, or simply taking a nap to recharge – it’s that time out which means that they can continue to spend time caring for their sick child and doing what mums and dads do best.”

Five Easy Steps

The fundraising challenge couldn’t be simpler; Register your challenge at www.jackandjill.ie for just €18 – the cost of one hour of specialist home nursing care and receive an optional eco-friendly banner. You can also purchase a Jack & Jill beanie for €10 to make sure you stand out on the day! Identify a location for your ‘Up the Hill’ challenge; it can be in a local park, or a peak on a nearby mountain – whatever hill works for your fitness level and ability. Recruit your family members, friends and work colleagues to join you, but remember to stay within public health guidance. Decide on a date during the month of October that best suits your group and begin the countdown to let the excitement build. The final frontier – grab your hill and go! Then using the eco-friendly banner, take a picture to proclaim your achievement to the world on social media!

To find out more visit www.jackandjill.ie, call 045 894538, or find them online: Instagram @jackandjillcf; Twitter @jackandjillcf; Facebook @jackandjillfoundation; and LinkedIn @Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation.

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Donie was “a true gentleman, a warm personality and a great wit”

By Sean Moriarty A wave of sadness swept across the town today (Thursday) with the news of the passing of bona-fida town legend Donie Sheahan at the age of 95. There isn’t one aspect of town life that doesn’t have Donie’s influence on it. Best known as one of the town’s leading pharmacists, he was also embedded […]

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By Sean Moriarty

A wave of sadness swept across the town today (Thursday) with the news of the passing of bona-fida town legend Donie Sheahan at the age of 95.

There isn’t one aspect of town life that doesn’t have Donie’s influence on it. Best known as one of the town’s leading pharmacists, he was also embedded in the history of Dr Crokes GAA Club and Killarney Racecourse.

Donie had many claims to fame; he was born on the same day as Queen Elizabeth of England, April 21, 1926, was the winner of a County Championship medal with Dr Crokes in 1951, as a coach he led East Kerry to an All-Ireland club title in 1971 before joining Micko Dwyer’s backroom team during the Golden Years of Kerry football in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and was a successful racehorse trainer and owner. He was also a key figure behind the development of Fitzgerald Stadium.

He has been described by the business community as a “larger-than-life personality” who contributed enormously to the commercial life of the town where he ran a very busy pharmacy at 34 Main Street since 1953.

“Above everything else, Donie Sheahan was a true gentleman, a warm personality and a great wit and so many people loved meeting him on his travels. He will be greatly missed,” Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce President, Niall Kelleher, said. “Sheahan’s Pharmacy is a real landmark in Killarney and Donie was always a welcoming presence behind the counter where his experience and expertise helped many people in so many ways for close on 70 years. His son Liam, and grandson William, are still providing that wonderful service to the local people and to visitors, and our thoughts are very much with the extended Sheahan family at this sad time.”

Donie’s Killarney life began when he was appointed the pharmacist for the Killarney District Hospital and St Columbanus’ Home in 1950s. From then on he played a leading role in the commercial development and sporting excellence of the town.

DR CROKES

Officials from his beloved Dr Crokes described him as a giant of a man whose words of wisdom will be missed by all associated with the black and amber. Only last Sunday, days before his passing, he placed a call to club chairman Matt O’Neill to get the weekend results.

Donie was the most recent Club Patron, the highest office bestowed upon a member of the club, but served in several key roles within the club, including over 20 years as chairman.

“Our condolences are extended to the entire Sheahan family,” Mr O’Neill told the Killarney Advertiser. “His proudest moment was the club winning the 1992 All-Ireland, he never thought he would see the day. He was involved in every aspect of the club and never missed an AGM. It was never a proper AGM without Donie’s input and wise words. He had a huge presence around the club, a giant of man and he will be sorely missed.”

HORSE RACING

Donie, from Main Street and Lewis Road, will be missed at racecourses all over Ireland, particularly at his two home venues, Ross Road and Listowel.

“He was also famous for his involvement in horse racing and he enjoyed nothing more than when the racehorses he owned competed in Killarney or in his native Listowel, often with great success,” added Mr Kelleher.

Killarney Racecourse Manager Phillip O’Brien said he was an internal part of the racing scene, not just in Kerry, but all over Ireland and beyond.

“Since I was a boy Donie was part of the racing scene,” he said. “Everyone knew him, even young jockeys, 17 or 18-years-old had huge respect for him. Some days I used to go up town for lunch and he would drag me into the back kitchen of the pharmacy and we would sit there and watch the racing and have a sandwich. It’s a sad day and he will be missed.”

This time last year Donie was unable to attend the annual Listowel Harvest Racing Festival in the town of his birth due to COVID-19 travel and crowd gathering rules – the first time that he missed the meeting in over 80 years.

Two of Donie’s most-famous horses were ‘Dromhall Lady’ and ‘For William’. The latter finished second on two occasions in the Kerry National Handicap Chase, the biggest race of the annual Listowel Harvest Festival.

Donie passed away the day after the 2021 Kerry National took place.

Family and close friends will gather at O’Shea’s Funeral Home tomorrow evening (Friday) from 6pm to 8pm.

Donie’s Funeral Mass will take place in St Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday morning at 10.30am, followed by burial in Aghadoe Lawn Cemetery. The Requiem Mass will be live streamed on www.churchservices.tv/killarneycathedral.

Donie was predeceased by his beloved wife Carmel (née Dowling), and his sisters Sheila and Maureen and his brother Tommie.

He is survived by children, Liam, Kieran, Aileen, Kathryn and Paul, grandchildren Ciara, Dónal, William, Kevin, Fionán, Gráinne, Peter, Cathal, Caitríona, Eoin, Sinéad, Amy, Clodagh, Megan and Andrew, and great-grandchildren Amelia, Evie, Will, Daniel, James, Lyla and Eleanor. He is also sadly missed by his daughters-in-law Siobhán, Janet and Louise, son-in-law Seán, his sisters Catherine, Margaret and Anna, nieces, nephews, relatives, neighbours and his pharmacy staff and colleagues.

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