• Call to Goverment to Stop US Travel to Ireland
    The efforts made in Ireland since March 12th to protect the most vulnerable of our society, and our society as a whole, from the threat of COVID-19 which has cost over 1,700 lives in Ireland has cost our residents greatly. Many lost loved ones and were unable to grieve or hold funerals, many lost their businesses or jobs indefinitely or permanently, children have been unable to go to school or childcare, many have had their lives disrupted and we have just started to open the economy back up. To allow tourists from the most infected parts of the US to travel to Ireland at the start of reopening our economy (and arguably the most critical time in this Pandemic for the country) flies in the face of all of our healthcare workers, all frontline staff, anybody that has lost a loved one during this Pandemic (whether due to COVID-19 or not) and all workers and businesses who have sacrificed for the greater good to control the spread. Our Government has expressed their concerns over the economy and the need to reopen, but unlike many continental European countries we are allowing tourists from the United States to enter our country and multiple reports have been made of tourists arriving and not taking the "mandatory 14-day quarantine" seriously. These tourists are arriving from states with the highest COVID-19 cases in the US and from states which have new daily records of new cases as each day passes. "A second wave of Covid-19 would wipe out any chance of economic recovery in Ireland either for this year or next, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has warned." - https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/second-covid-19-wave-would-wipe-out-economic-recovery-1.4275388 A growing number of tourists from the US have been arriving over the past 2 weeks and Irish COVID-19 cases have been on the rise, with the reproduction number back at 1.0. These tourists have been refused tourist experiences and entry to restaurants for clearly ignoring the 14-day quarantine/self-isolation requests made by the Government. In this article, our elected officials have been quoted as admitting that these regulations are not being enforced and need to be: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/disease-expert-says-jailing-tourists-who-breach-quarantine-would-send-clear-message-1.4302794 "... Luke O’Neill, Professor of Biochemistry at Trinity College in Dublin, said it was a “big mistake” that tourists from states such as Texas are being permitted entry into the country. (from article: https://www.joe.ie/fitness-health/immunologist-us-travel-ireland-70003) While Prof Sam McConkey at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland thinks that these tourists should simply be jailed for 3 months for breaking the quarantine rules (see article: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/disease-expert-says-jailing-tourists-who-breach-quarantine-would-send-clear-message-1.4302794) it's evident that the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 to Ireland from the US would be to ban all non-essential travel to Ireland from all US destinations.
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    Created by Amy Ní Chó Picture
  • Strict Quarantine for arrivals from the USA
    We are urgently calling on you, the government, to immediately strengthen the quarantine measures for arrivals from the USA. In recent days, we have seen and heard multiple testimonies from concerned citizens regarding tourists arriving to Ireland from the USA and flouting quarantine advice. With 1,746 Irish people dead with Covid-19 to date, this is unacceptable. We immediately need a strict 14 day quarantine imposed on any person arriving from the USA. Strict, mandatory quarantines on inbound travellers have been implemented in several other countries around the world experiencing this crisis, and importantly, they’ve been successful. It has been proven to save lives. We know where the threat of a second wave of COVID-19 is most likely to come from, offshore, as that is where most of the cases are. The USA is currently the epicentre of Covid-19 in the world. We all want to welcome people from the USA, but we have to be certain we safeguard our population, particularly our most vulnerable. This appeal is urgent. Experts like epidemiologist Dr. Sam Comiskey, are calling for a strengthening of quarantine measures and policing to ensure we don’t nullify any success our domestic lockdown measures have had. Healthcare workers and Irish citizens are alarmed at the lackadaisacal attitude of some tourists and some citizens returning to Ireland to the quarantine advice. This is a defining moment in our history and in the leadership of our country. After the sacrifices we’ve all made in recent months, with parents home-schooling their children, grandparents not able to see their children or grandchildren or anyone else, people unable to attend their loved ones' funerals, healthcare workers reaching walls of exhaustion and isolating themselves away from their families, business shutting their doors and people losing their incomes, with 1,746 Irish people dead, to date with Covid-19, we are urging you, the government, to do everything in your power to eradicate this virus and save lives.
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  • Funding Essential to Fully Reopen Schools
    Parents for Change is a grassroots activist group helping parents assert their voice in Irish society. The right to education is at the forefront of our constitution. Schools are important for the social, emotional and educational development of our children. Schools also provide the economic benefit of stable and cost-effective childcare in a society with a desperately inadequate childcare system. There has been a glaring omission in the roadmap to opening Irish society: schools. There are less than 7 weeks left until the start of the next educational term, yet there is no definitive plan for the education of our children. If the rest of Irish society can open safely, then so too can our schools, with the proper planning and investment. Other countries have shown us that this can be done safely and current HSE research suggests that schools are not a high risk setting for Covid 19. Where there is political will, there is a way. Parents are no longer willing or able to juggle working from home, caring for children and home schooling. Parents accepted this as an emergency measure, but this is no longer acceptable. Plans for blended learning are not a sustainable option for parents or children. The Covid 19 crisis has highlighted many inadequacies in the Irish educational system: years of systemic underfunding; poor pupil/teacher ratios (one of the highest in the OECD); poor school infrastructure including small classrooms; the use of prefabs and no hot water etc. The Department of Education needs to show decisive leadership on the issue of schools reopening fully. Schools cannot operate in a vacuum and direction must come from the top down. Parents for Change supports teachers, principals and teachers’ unions in their drive to open schools safely and are therefore advocating for immediate funding packages to be made available. If funding is in place schools can: · Open fully in September 2020. · Hire more teachers/SNAs to reduce class sizes and allow for social distancing. · Use substitute teachers to fill in for staff absences due to Covid or other illnesses. · Build temporary or permanent structures on school grounds to allow for smaller classes/social distancing. · Hire alternative venues for classes to allow for social distancing (local sports clubs etc). · Hire more cleaners. · Improve cleaning and hygiene standards, including availability of hot water. · Provide face coverings if age appropriate. · Implement strong policies on personal responsibility and sickness within the school community. · Arrange staggered pick up and drop off times for pupils. · Provide safe school transportation. · Provide technology to pupils where necessary to allow them to participate in online learning if in social isolation/quarantine. · Provide extra support for vulnerable children where there might be limited capacity for teaching in the home and ensure they are not left behind. If blended learning is used, it must be for short, specific time periods (e.g. educating children during social isolation/quarantine). Parents need to be able to access government funded paid leave from work during this period and the government must negotiate this with employers. Schools, ECL and childcare are the bedrock of the economy and should be treated like frontline, essential services. Without them, parents cannot participate in the economic recovery of our country. We must invest now in education both for the health of our economy and our nation. We cannot afford not to. Please sign our petition.
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  • Stop DoneDeal selling dogs
    Allegedly animals are being robbed from their homes to breed, use as bait and to sell. [1] https://extra.ie/2020/05/13/news/irish-news/100-dogs-seized-ireland [2] https://www.thejournal.ie/dspca-done-deal-puppies-online-trading-1467756-May2014/
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  • Stop Unfair Policing of Black Lives Matter
    The news is full of reports on illegal gatherings. However it’s clear that the only group being punished through the hastily approved enforcement powers under Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 are those standing up for racial justice. Eight race hate crimes are reported every day in Northern Ireland. Black Lives Matter protesters last month took a huge stand against racism, and now the PSNI is punishing them for it.
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  • Help Jennifer Get Her Forever Home
    Nursing homes are not suitable places for young people to live an independent life. Jennifer Hynes is a 42 year old woman, forced to live in a nursing home in Ennis since April 2019 with no plan agreed to end it. Up to then Jennifer lived in her own house. Due to lack of HSE support she was moved into a nursing home. She passionately wants her forever home in Ennis. Her own LA house is still vacant as we write this petition.
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  • Trial pedestrianisation of Pearse Street in Ballina for July and August
    Benefits include: — Allowing space for social distancing, giving shoppers and other visitors a higher level of safety. — Allowing for extra space for those who most need it and still need to get about. — Space for outdoor eating from cafes and pubs without cluttering footpaths. — More space for the already growing influx of shoppers and tourists. — The junction at the centre of town will likely flow better with traffic if it was just coming from two ways rather than the current three directions which causes congestion. — Only remove a relatively small number of parking spaces compared to the car parks on both sides of the street. — Have no effect on car parks at AIB Bank or Bank of Ireland or the taxi rank. Some people objecting to changes like this is normal around the world, but a small number of businesses and residents objecting to this should not be allowed to stall this as happens with so much else in Ballina, especially given the strong public health reasoning. When we’re over the current crisis and people don’t like it, it can be removed then. It is only around 140 metres of the street and the street is lined with car parks on both sides with access via laneways. More parking spaces for people who have disabilities or mobility issues can be provided at both ends of the street and near the pedestrian entrances in the car parks. Shot stay spaces can also be provided. The taxi rank outside AIB would not be changed. As other towns have shown, this can be done quickly and cheaply with a mix of planters and bollards. It does not require much funding but if the council requires funding, there is national funding available for post-lockdown mobility measures like this. This was not tried before (it was Tone Street) and for a trial to be meaningful it needs to be trialled for a month or two. In the first week or two traffic might increases as people get used to it, but that’s not a reason to pull the plug.
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  • Prioritise school re-openings in September 2020
    Remote learning is not a feasible long term substitute to in-school education. Re-opening of schools should be prioritised over the aviation and tourism industries.
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  • MRI under general aneasthetic access for Ireland
    Currently in Ireland if you need to have an MRI you can access one through the public health system. If you are unhappy with the length of time it takes then you can visit one of many private clinics or a private hospital where you can pay to access these services sooner. Unfortunately that is not the case for everyone. There are lots of people for whom a regular MRI would be extremely difficult, due to the length of time required to stay still, the small space, the noise, etc. Babies, young children and those with additional needs may need to be sedated for this to ensure the clearest imaging. Some cannot be sedated despite numerous traumatic attempts and for those people general aneasthetic is required. The issue is that this service is only available in Dublin and waiting lists are downright extreme. You cannot visit a clinic for an MRI under general aneasthetic, you cannot access this service privately in any capacity on the island of Ireland. If your loved one falls into this category you are stuck. There are families up and down the length and breathe of ireland who have tried to access it publicly, who have tried to access it privately. Who have emailed TD's, have called hospitals in other countries and spent nights awake wondering how dangerous it might be to bring their loved one to another country for medical attention during a pandemic. More dangerous than sitting at home waiting? Our health service is in such a dire situation right now that to list the many broken things that need fixing would have us here all day. This however is one small thing that we can do together, this is a hugely fixable issue and we strongly believe that if a little light is shone on it then a huge amount can be achieved.
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  • Improving Nurses Pay
    After watching the RTÉ investigates special and watching the nursing staff of St. James’ Hospital fight COVID on a daily basis, it was harrowing to see just what our nursing staff went through and continue to do so. These nurses watched countless people die and treated them with the upmost respect on their passing even acting as their family members due to the COVID restrictions. Our nursing staff have gone above and beyond across the country to save lives. And as the restrictions are lifted, they continue to fight COVID in our hospitals. This is not over for them and they fear a second wave. Our responsibility as the public to say a small thank you to these amazing nurses is to lobby ever single TD in this country until we increase their wages. Enough is enough. These amazing women and men deserve so much more. This is the least we could do for them. Below is a sample email to send to your local TD
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  • Reopen gates in Phoenix Park
    Update: OPW have released this. All gates bar Knockmaroon open from Friday July 10th. Knockmaroon will open when works completed. Truly hope lessons can be learned from this and all stakeholders are considered in future planning. Thank you all for your support!! https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=3500180506661143&id=132971523382075&anchor_composer=false Phoenix Park is a worldclass amenity to the people who live nearby, on day trips, and tourists alike. The decision to only have 2 gates open to vehicular traffic is seriously restricting access to the park. Traffic volumes are increasing now that we are coming out of lockdown. Congestion in the surrounding areas is already a huge issue. This will only increase with these access routes cut off without an alternative solution. It can now take up to an hour to get from one end of the park to the other ; particularly at weekends with increased demand for the Zoo, Farmleigh and the Visitor Centre. Engine emissions from cars sitting on Chesterfield Avenue must surely be offsetting any potential environmental gain. Parts of the Park will become no go areas due to their isolation. There are no plans for an increased OPW presence with the gate closures. This decision seems to have been rushed through with little forward thinking and engagement with local communities. Give the park back to the people and then work on alternatives to reduce car traffic.
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  • Outdoor Education as a COVID solution
    As children return to school in Ireland, the risk of a second wave of COVID will grow. Most schooling means spending long hours, indoors, in close contact but it doesn't have to be that way. A way to minimise this risk, whilst benefiting from nature, is to teach outdoors as much as possible. This has already been done in previous pandemics and is now being tried in Denmark, USA and UK amongst other countries m as part of the covid response. There are many co-benefits to child well-being in spending more time outside, such as nurturing a closer connection to nature and fighting obesity. I am calling on the government to consider this as part of the return to school and to provide resources to schools to build suitable outdoor class shelters. See: https://childhoodbynature.com/the-case-for-learning-outside/
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    Created by Lorna Tevnan