Joe Collins tweetz:
A familiar shape discovered by my eight year old walking along a lane.
The Unspecified Thing That Looks Like Ireland to firstname.lastname@example.org
Locations discussed for ‘Nextopolis’ included an area between Drogheda and Dundalk in County Louth; a site to the east of Galway city; an area just north of Limerick city; a plot outside Waterford city; a site to the east of Cork; and an area near Killarney and Tralee in County Kerry.
The Times revealed that six locations in Ireland were discussed by government officials as possible sites for a new autonomous city named Nextpolis proposed by a wealthy Hong Kong businessman.
Via The Times:
The Department of Foreign Affairs has been in contact with the Victoria Harbour Group (VHG), an international charter city investment company, since December about a plan to create a city from scratch that would be home to tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents.
Documents released under freedom of information laws show that a series of meetings have taken place in Ireland and Hong Kong in recent months about sourcing a 500 sq km area of land for the new city.
Tim Mawe, regional director in the Asia Pacific Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs, replied: “Many thanks for your message and for the interesting conversation last week.” He added: “As regards Sim City [The proposed city was referred to as Sim City in its early stages,], I note that you will be in touch with David [Costello, Ireland’s consul in Hong Kongl and I again. At that point, we can see what to do next.”
… the city would have an initial population of between 50,000 but would grow to 500,000 over 20 years, with at least 50 per cent made of people from Hong Kong, and 15-30 per cent from Ireland and Europe. It states the city would have a “free reforming economic system” within Ireland; an independent relationship with the EU; control of its own borders; a low and simple taxation system; no foreign exchange control; and an emphasis on “ease of setting up and conducting businesses”.
Top pic: Getty
Further to yesterday’s EU €750 billion coronavirus bailout….
[pro-Brexit] Euro Guido writes:
Ireland, with 1% of the EU’s population, is going to be the fifth biggest contributor to the EU bailout…
Yesterday: Make Out Like Bandits
Multinational companies (MNCs), running their income through Ireland (for tax AVOIDENCE purposes) inflates Irish GDP firgures. Ergo, Irish citizen on the hook for €15.7 billion. Thanks #FFG
— Gemma (@wickedfairysad) July 22, 2020
Private Eye reporting that there are no checks on where the £18bn in cheap government lending to Covid-hit companies goes once it's with the recipients.
And no strings attached – meaning BA, JCB, Ryanair and more are making huge jobs cuts while being publicly subsidised pic.twitter.com/qJADWsh7va
— Josiah Mortimer (@josiahmortimer) July 22, 2020
There you go now.
The 10 Best Books set in Ireland, according to the @guardian. Explore Ireland’s history and culture through these tales of loss and love by Sally Rooney, Edna O’Brien, Colm Tóibín and more: https://t.co/U76j4X7rwz pic.twitter.com/af3SqHbKHP
— National Library of Ireland (@NLIreland) July 3, 2020
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
The Silent People by Walter Macken
The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien
The Broadsheet Book Of Unspecified Things That Look Like Ireland edited by Aidan Coughlan
Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
The Green Road by Anne Enright
Eureka Street by Robert McLiam Wilson
The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan
Normal People by Sally Rooney
The Sea by John Banville
From top: a Dublin Nursing home; The Citywest emergency ICU facility; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (centre) with HSE CEO Paul Reid (left) and Minister For Health at the Citywest opening; DrTony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health and chairman of The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET); from left: Mr Reid with Dr Colm Henry (right) Chief Clinical Office, HSE arriving for a Covid 19 Committee meeting in Leinster House on June 6
There are approximately 440 private nursing homes and 120 HSE-run nursing homes in Ireland with around 30,000 residents.
More than 1,680 patients were approved for transfer from acute hospitals to private nursing homes in March (1,363) and April (324), the height of the pandemic.
This was as emergency ICU facilities and private wards secured by the government lay empty.
According to the most recent data, 943 people have died in nursing homes from Covid-19 with a further 5,371 who are Covid-19 positive.
This policy was replicated in seven European countries and five states in America, most notably New York, where before a u-turn, 4,300 recovering Covid-19 patients were sent to nursing homes in the state.
Below is a timeline of events as they pertain to residents of nursing homes in Ireland from the the beginning of the virus until this week. Any additions or corrections will be made (just leave a comment).
February 19, 2020: The CEO of the HSE Paul Reid meets with representatives of nursing homes to discuss Covid-19 preparedness. On April 16, Minister for Health Simon Harris informs the Dáil that this meeting occurred and said:
“I am told by local HSE staff that there was an unprecedented level of engagement by individual HSE officials with nursing homes.
That is not to say in any manner or means that enough has been done. We need to do more.
This is a pandemic in which we take actions every single day. We then take another set of actions and then another set. That is what we are doing.”
In respect of the same February 19 meeting, CEO of the HSE Paul Reid told the Oirecachtas Covid-19 committee on May 19:
“Specifically, on the meeting with Nursing Homes Ireland, I would meet and discuss with Tadhg Daly on a reasonable basis throughout this whole process – in the pandemic over the last few weeks. There have been very good relationships between Nursing Homes Ireland and the HSE throughout this period.
“On the Deputy’s question of 19 February specifically, I can remember the meeting clearly. I have met a wide range of stakeholders since I took over the HSE. That was my first meeting with Nursing Homes Ireland. It was my first meeting with Tadhg Daly and its chairperson, Maurice Pratt. It was really geared towards an informal welcome and discussion…
“We had a brief discussion about how this may impact on Ireland. There was a very brief discussion between both of us. I would be doing it an injustice and indeed the HSE an injustice to say it was an in-depth discussion because we were just learning at the start of this – 19 February was very early stages.”
February 28: Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan confirms the first case of Covid-19 has been detected on the island of Ireland, involving a woman who travelled through Dublin Airport on her way home to Northern Ireland from northern Italy. She subsequently tested positive for the illness on returning home to Belfast.
February 29: The Health Protection Surveillance Centre confirms the first case of Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland. The patient is a male in the east of the country.
It’s also reported that the first death of a Covid-19 patient had taken place in the US.
March 1: Scoil Chaitriona secondary school in Glasnevin, Dublin 9, closes for two weeks. Health officials do not publicly name the school but its identified on social media. It follows confirmation that a male student had Covid-19. He had been at an at-risk area in northern Italy.
March 2: Paul Cullen reports in The Irish Times that Covid-19 is especially worrying for elderly people with underlying health conditions.
“In the US, a serious outbreak near Seattle has occurred in a nursing home. Obviously, the risk of something similar happening in Ireland is a huge worry.”
He later added:
“Nursing Homes Ireland, representing the owners of private nursing homes, has sought to reassure the public that its members have the experience to know what to do if the virus arrives, given their experience in dealing with seasonal flu and the vomiting bug. Some restrictions on visiting may be needed if the threat from the virus rises.”
March 6: It’s reported that visiting restrictions are being introduced in more than 400 private and voluntary nursing homes across Ireland. Nursing Homes Ireland says no non-essential visits by children or groups would be allowed.
March 9: The Government cancels all St Patrick’s Day parades.
March 10: The Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said blanket restrictions on visitors at nursing homes and some hospitals should be lifted as they were premature.
He said visitor restrictions at private nursing homes had a major impact on residents, for whom social interaction was a key part of wellbeing.
While restrictions might be necessary in a particular nursing home depending on circumstances, he said there was no case for across-the-board restrictions, saying: “We want to avoid introducing measures before they are really necessary.”
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NEPHT) announced in a statement that “socially restrictive actions” around hospitals and nursing homes were “not necessary at this moment in time”.
It’s reported that the annual St Patrick’s Day reception in Washington DC has been cancelled but that a meeting between the US President Donald Trump and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will still take place.
On the same day, Nursing Homes Ireland writes to the Minister for Health Simon Harris and the letter is also sent to the chief executive of the HSE Paul Reid, and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
In the letter, the NHI called on the Government to lift curbs on the recruitment of healthcare assistants from outside the EU and warned that older people’s health could be placed in danger if HSE poached nursing home staff following the lifting of public service recruitment restrictions.
March 11: A woman in the east of the country dies of Covid-19, the first death to take place in Ireland.
The World Health Organisation says Covid-19 is a pandemic.
March 12: Speaking from Washington in the US, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announces the closure of schools and significant public restrictions in Ireland until March 29 because of Covid-19.
Rose Hegarty, an 84-year-old resident of St Mary’s Hospital nursing home in the Phoenix Park, Dublin listens to Mr Varadkar’s speech from her bedroom.
March 16: Dr Tony Holohan says that restrictions will be imposed on visitors to nursing homes, hospitals and prisons.
March 17: During a St Patrick’s Day speech broadcast on RTÉ and Virgin Media One, under Section 122 of the Broadcast Act 2009, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tells those listening and watching that the restrictions will likely go beyond March 29. He adds:
“We’re in the middle of a global and national emergency. A pandemic. The likes of which none of us have seen before. So far, the number of cases in Ireland has been relatively small. However we believe the number will rise to 15,000 cases or more by the end of the month and rise further in the weeks thereafter.”
He also says:
“At a certain point we will advise the elderly and people who have a long-term illness to stay at home for several weeks. We’re putting in place the systems to ensure that if you are one of them, you will have food, supplies and are checked on. We call it cocooning and it will save many lives, particularly the lives of the most vulnerable, the most precious in our society.”
It’s also reported that Nursing Homes Ireland is appealing for people within hospitality and retail to look for opportunities to care for older people. CEO of NHI Tadhg Daly is reported as saying:
“One considerable concern is to ensure a staffing complement is consistently available to meet the day-to-day social care needs of nursing home residents, especially at a time of emergency and with visitor restrictions.”
“Irish people have a tremendous ability to support one another during difficult times and this has never been more required.”
March 21: In a HSE memo from David Walsh, National Director of Community Operations, to the chief officers of community healthcare organisations, about revised guidance in relation to testing.
Mr Walsh tells his colleagues:
“Following confirmation of a Covid positive diagnosis within the unit/centre then it is assumed that all residents presenting with symptoms are Covid positive. Multiple re-referrals to NAS for potential Covid cases should be avoided.”
March 22: It’s reported that 40,000 people are waiting up to five days for Covid-19 tests. It’s also reported that “when asked about reports of a cluster of positive cases at a nursing home, the HSE said outbreaks of infectious diseases in nursing homes were not uncommon and staff were used to dealing with this issue. However, the scale and numbers would be extremely challenging.”
A cluster is defined as two laboratory-positive cases in an institution.
The report added: “The HSE has asked the media not to identify any nursing homes concerned.”
March 24: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announces further restrictions until April 19.
March 25: The HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre reports that there have been six outbreak clusters of Covid-19 in hospitals and four in nursing homes.
It’s also reported that 21 male residents of a nursing home in the Vosges in France, all aged in their 90s, are believed to have died of Covid-19. It’s feared as many as 100,000 nursing home residents could die of Covid-19.
March 26: Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan expresses concern about clusters of cases in healthcare settings such as hospitals and long-stay settings such as nursing homes.
March 27: In a report about the statistic that about 25 per cent of confirmed cases are health workers, at least four Covid-19 outbreaks have occurred in nursing homes and that nursing home operators, and others, are concerned about a lack of guidance and the availability of PPE.
Later, new figures show there have been nine Covid-19 clusters in nursing homes. Dr Holohan says the clusters are a significant concern for public health experts.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announces further restrictions for two weeks, until Easter Sunday on April 12, specifically that people must remain at home, with limited exceptions, and must remain within 2km of their homes when shopping for food or exercising. During his speech he mentions the increase of clusters in nursing home and residential care centres.
He also quotes from the movie The Terminator 2: Judgement Day when he says, “There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.”
In the Dáil.
Independent TD Michael Collins raised the story in yesterday’s Irish Independent about some passengers failing to fill in a form detailing where they would be staying for the following two weeks, saying:
“We see today that a large percentage of people flying into Ireland are not filling in the form asking them how they intend to socially isolate for two weeks. We need to allay any fears in tourism communities, and that can be done if the completion of these forms was mandatory in airports and ports.”
During his response, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said:
“In terms of the airport forms, they are not yet mandatory. They may well need to become mandatory. That is something we are considering at the moment, but I disagree with the Deputy. Making it mandatory for people to fill in forms to self-isolate for 14 days when they come to the country is not good for tourism.
“People will not come to Ireland if they have to isolate for 14 days. We need to get to the point where we can have air travel start again. I want air travel to start again for business and leisure but that will have to be done safely. That is being worked on at the moment.”
In the Dáil.
Green Party TD Joe O’Brien raised the case of undocumented healthcare workers in Ireland.
Specifically, a case of two such workers, one of whom had a direct message for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
Mr O’Brien told the chamber:
“In many respects, I think, the virus and the State’s response to it has provided it with a human rights audit.
“Who’s health protection needs and health rights is the State responding to the slowest? It’s asylum seekers, it’s people in residential settings. Who are we leaving behind? It’s Travellers, it’s Roma, it’s international students, and it’s undocumented workers.
“So few of us are aware of the fact that so many of our frontline workers in this battle against Covid-19 are undocumented workers. People unrecognised, unacknowledged and unappreciated by Official Ireland.
“I spoke to two undocumented workers recently and, to some extent, I want to bring their voices in here today. Their names are Debra and Shiron. These are their real names.
“Both are, now as we speak, live-in care workers with elderly women. They are cocooning with these ladies and tending to their every need during this crisis.
“Both Debra and Shiron have worked in the centre in Ireland for over a decade, working in the shadows but providing an essential care service.
“There are likely to be many hundreds, if not thousands, of people in similar situations all over the country where undocumented migrants are caring for elderly people, helping them to cocoon.
“And this is just one sector. But going forward, and developing our response to Covid-19, we simply cannot have people who are in the shadows or left behind. For their own sake, for their rights, for the sake of developing thorough and robust set of systems to allow, to eliminate and keep out Covid-19.
“But also, quite simply, because it’s only just and fair that those who contribute so much in this battle are allowed to be full members of society.
“Debra asked me to, and I quote, ‘Tell the Taoiseach that we are frontline workers, we can’t go out, we are looking after our ladies, we are working all day, all night, 24/7 and we love them like our family‘.
“Debra said she knows hundreds of other women from her home country, working in similar situations, around Ireland
“The ask is simple: can you set up a scheme, regularisation scheme, whereby undocumented people in Ireland can view a set of fair and reasonable criteria that they need to satisfy in order to be regularised.
“And it’s not just me who’s calling for this. Chambers of Commerce Ireland, unions, National Youth Council, National Women’s Council, as well, there’s quite a list of bodies calling for this.”
Watch the Dáil proceedings live here
Top pic: Rollingnews
#Breaking CSO figures show 513,350 people on live register and Covid-19 related unemployment payments
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) April 2, 2020
The Central Statistics Office writes:
The COVID-19 Crisis has had a significant impact on the labour market during March 2020.
Unadjusted Live Register total stands at 205,209 for March 2020.
Seasonally adjusted Live Register total for March 2020 was 207,200, up 24,400 from February 2020.
In the last week of March 2020: 283,037 people were in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and 25,104 persons benefitted from the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.