• Almost all frontline Health Care workers in the Saolta Hospital group have now been vaccinated against Covid 19, and the remaining staff, just over 1000 people, will be vaccinated by the end of this month.

    The group has responsibility for hospitals across the west and north west region.

    These numbers were confirmed this afternoon by CEO of the Saolta group, Tony Canavan.

    Mr Canavan addressed today’s virtual HSE West Forum meeting.

  • Delegates from the Fórsa trade union's education division have backed an emergency motion calling on the Government  to complete the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccinations to staff within all special education schools.

    It said the vaccination schedule should take account of the fact that SNAs in schools provide the same level of care to students as frontline healthcare workers.

    The motion came after Minister for Education Norma Foley addressed the union's conference, which is taking place online today.

    Minister Foley reiterated her defence of the Government decision to change the vaccine rollout programme from an occupation-based approach, to one led by age.

  • A Galway TD is calling for the streamlining of HSE and hospital data bases to prevent vaccination no-shows.

    Sean Canney says separate data base systems run by the HSE and acute hospitals, and the non streamlining of that data, are leading to patients being double booked for jabs.

    He says because the two separate systems are not integrated, they cannot be cross checked.

  • ISME says its with great concern it notes the coordinated threats from a number of unions to “explore any and all options, up to and including industrial action” as a result of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) policy advice to prioritise vaccine delivery on an age-related basis.

    In a statement today , ISME says it is well aware of the pressure that unions are under from some quarters to seek vaccine priority. We have had to deal with similar requests from employer groupings in particular sectors among our own membership, but we have politely refused to entertain them. To do otherwise would open a free-for-all, where Government is forced to deal with the loudest, most threatening groups, rather than those presenting the greatest clinical need.

    While the latest NIAC advice to prioritise vaccination on an age basis may be imperfect and blunt, it is also objectively fair, it deals with the most at-risk citizens first, and it is least prone to circumvention.

    In any event, ISME does not believe a majority of teachers would support industrial action on this issue, but we also believe that the public and business reaction to it, even if only threatened, would be negative and vociferous.

    Although teachers, like all workers, enjoy the legal right to withdraw their labour, this does not mean that it is proper or morally defensible to do so in a case such as this. ISME represents businesses such as essential retail, cleaning, warehousing, distribution and food and medicines manufacture, which have continued to work non-stop throughout the pandemic despite the absence of vaccines. These people would rightly view any attempt to close our schools as both precious and reprehensible.

    Similarly, those hundreds of thousands of workers who have been furloughed on the PUP would look with incredulity and justifiable anger upon a cohort who have suffered no loss of income refusing to work because they were not prioritised for vaccination.

    If the Minister for Education is presented by unions with any form of threat, express or implied, to withdraw teachers from our schools over the vaccination issue (which is the absolute right of those teachers), she should inform those unions that her Department will immediately cease the deduction of union subscriptions from payroll, which is her Department’s absolute right.


  • A Mayo Deputy says the rollout of the vaccination programme in the county had been “all over the place” with some practices receiving no supplies while others received far too much for their needs.

    Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary instanced his own home town of Ballina where three practices received a supply of vaccines and three did not.

    Deputy Calleary has questioned who is in charge of the vaccine roll-out and says there are certain issues that need to be resolved.

    However, he says the plan to have all of the over 85's to be vaccinated by next week is still well on track.

  • The first vaccinations by Community Healthcare Wests’ COVID-19 vaccination campaign in residential facilities in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon got underway on Thursday last.

    (Ellen) Agnes Bourke a native of Rathall, Crossmolina, was the first resident at the HSE facility St. Augustine’s Community Nursing Unit (CNU) in Ballina to be vaccinated. 91 year old Agnes received the vaccine alongside her fellow residents and healthcare workers in St Augustine’s.

    Afterwards Agnes said that having got the vaccine, we might have our visitors coming back in again to see us and that means a big lot.  I miss all my visitors and I miss going out – I used to go out and I miss that in a big way. . 

    In 2021 I hope the best with God’s help that he is looking down on us and the injection should be doing us good.  It was very easy – it didn’t hurt a bit.    

    Agnes had a message for us all in the community, I hope you all get it done before too long, it is worth it.  It’s worth it if we get rid of this virus.”

    It marked the start of Community Healthcare Wests’ COVID-19 vaccination campaign in residential facilities across the three counties. In accordance with the priority list for vaccination set out by the country, residents aged over 65 in long-term care are among the first to receive the vaccine.

    A total of 66 staff and residents were vaccinated in St Augustine’s on Thursday.  Next week commencing Monday, January 11th, a further 18 residential facilities will receive their vaccine with the remainder over the coming weeks up to the end of February 2021.