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Council and Gardaí ask public to hold firm at ‘critical time’

28 January 2021

Clare County Council and An Garda Síochána are appealing to people in Clare to hold firm and keep up their efforts to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

With case numbers still high and the health service under significant pressure, the Mayor of Clare, Cllr Mary Howard, Chief Executive of the Council Pat Dowling and Chief Superintendent of Clare Garda Division Sean Colleran have called on everyone in the county to make another extra effort to drive down the levels of infection in our communities. 

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has described the situation in hospitals as stark, with people of all ages being admitted to hospital and being taken into intensive care units. 

The Mayor of Clare, Cllr Mary Howard, said: “We know that Covid-19 is taking a significant toll on our families, friends, communities and health service. This is a challenging time for everyone. But it is incredibly important that we hold firm, stay focused and continue to follow the public health guidelines. Those who need us are relying on us.

“The advice from NPHET is that it is possible to have Covid-19 without displaying symptoms, so we should all behave as though we are infectious and minimise close contacts. Meeting or mixing with other people in our social circle, including close family gatherings such as birthdays or funerals, can lead to ‘super-spreader’ events, which can have devastating consequences. To suppress this virus, we have to do the right thing now. The people of Clare have shown commendable commitment in their response to date. Please stay the course. There is hope on the horizon.”

Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council, said: “This is a critical time. The situation is urgent. While there are signs that we are beginning to flatten the curve of Covid-19 infection, the risk of transmitting or getting the virus is still very high.

“We must drive down the numbers. The health services, and our frontline workers, are operating under enormous strain. By protecting ourselves and each other, we are also protecting them. Under the current circumstances, everyone must take extra care, follow the guidelines and stay at home unless it is absolutely essential.

“People have worked extremely hard and made extraordinary sacrifices. Responding to the pandemic has required courage, stamina, adaptability and determination. I want to thank the people of Clare, and our frontline workers, for the resolve they have shown.

“There is hope, and there is an end in sight. The roll-out of the vaccine programme holds great promise for the future, and is a cause for optimism. But it will take time. Today, our focus must be firmly on the here and now. At this moment, we are extremely vulnerable to Covid-19. And our response must be to show greater resolve than ever before.

“Right now, our message to people in Clare is simple: please continue to adhere to every element of the public health advice. Your actions will save lives.”

Chief Superintendent Sean Colleran, Clare Garda Division, said: “Our main priority is keeping people safe and that continues over the coming weeks. Working together as a community and being responsible we can all help to minimise the impact of Covid-19. We all have to do our bit during this difficult time. 

“In general Gardaí are finding that people are adhering to the Government guidelines and we want to thank the public for this. However, it is vital that this continues over the coming weeks. This will help flatten the curve and save lives.  

“We are asking people not to make journeys unless they are essential. To minimise their contacts. To maintain social distancing. To wash their hands. By taking these steps, we can help protect our loved ones, our neighbours and our communities.”

An Garda Síochána has reminded people that a Fixed Payment Notice of €100 can be issued to a person for travelling without a reasonable excuse. A Fixed Payment Notice can now be issued for the non-wearing of face coverings on public transport and in certain premises unless the person has a reasonable excuse. There can be no public gatherings indoors or outdoors and events in private dwellings are not permitted.

“If a person is non-compliant we will encourage them to comply and will give the person every opportunity to do so but after directing the person to comply and they still refuse we will have no option but enforcement,” Chief Supt Colleran said.

“While it is as important as ever for members of the public to avail of exercise and get fresh air, in accordance with public health regulations, exercise can only be availed of ‘within a 5km radius of the person’s place of residence’.”

Members of the public who need to access Clare County Council services can do so by phone, email, post or online. An appointments-based service will be in operation where necessary for delivery of essential services.

Public offices in Garda stations remain open, but in line with social distancing contact by telephone, email or online is preferable at this time.

The Clare Covid-19 Community Response Helpline is available to respond to the needs of vulnerable members of our community: Freephone 1800 203600 /

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