Cork Sports Partnership Couch to 3K programme aims to get Cork up and running





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Cork City Council is committed to supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of its residents and works with many agencies and organisations across the city to this end. One such agency is Cork Sports Partnership (CSP), who launched the “CSP Couch to 3km Online” at the end of May.

The goal of this programme is to fully support participants from walking to running 3 kilometres in a safe and supported environment. The programme has an emphasis on strength and conditioning and the importance of this for injury prevention.

A private Facebook page has also been set up for the participants. This page will be used for discussion, handy training tips and general information about running.

The training plan is accurately measured for people of different abilities. The plan has small increases in running every week to ensure all participants load their training correctly. Both the training plan and the strength and conditioning plan have been designed by fully qualified running coaches with this specific programme in mind.

Cork Sports Partnership Athletics Development Officer (Cork & CIT) Craig Harrington said that “It is great to see the amount of people that have turned to physical activity during these very strange and challenging times, Cork Sports Partnership are always delighted to coordinate initiatives that encourage the public to take part in physical activity. The Couch to 5km is usually one of the programmes we take the most pride in so we are sure the new Couch to 3km will have a similar effect.”

Denis Barrett, Cork City Community Response Forum Coordinator said, “Physical and mental health have come into sharper focus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cork Sports Partnership is playing a huge role in developing innovative programmes to keep Cork fit and healthy and Couch to 3km is a perfect way to kickstart your own personal wellbeing practice at home, whicle still adhering to public health guidelines.”

Online registration is open and entries are completely free of charge and can be made online at www.corksports.ie. Closing date for online registrations will be Thursday June 5th.

For more information please contact Craig Harrington, Athletics Development Officer Cork & CIT [email protected]  or 086 7700588


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A total of 77 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland – 1 further death reported





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Today the HPSC confirms a further 77 cases of COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Ireland to 25,062.

1 further death is being reported today.

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Eye Doctors Call for Action as they Mark Significance of 6/6 2020





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  • Backlog of Eye Care Patients Due to COVID-19 Restrictions of Serious Concern
  • ICO Encourage Patients to Attend their Ophthalmology Appointments

The training and professional body for eye doctors in Ireland is today (Monday, 1 June 2020) marking the significance of this week’s 6/6/2020 date with an appeal to the Minister for Health to oversee the continued roll out of appropriate resourcing of eye care services across the country as routine and elective procedures for non-Covid patients resume.

Dr Patricia Quinlan, President of the Irish College of Ophthalmologists (ICO) and Consultant Ophthalmologist, is calling on Minister for Health, Mr Simon Harris to prioritise the roll out of the Integrated Eye Care Team model, in line Sláintecare objectives, and the key recommendations contained in the national policy approved Model of Eye Care [1].

The term “6/6 or 20/20 vision” is familiar to many as the measurement that describes a standard of best vision or eyesight. The year 2020 also marks the target goal date set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) global initiative “VISION 2020”, launched in 1999, to achieve their overarching objective to eliminate avoidable blindness by – a date now upon us. The Irish Government pledged their commitment to the objectives of Vision 2020 in 2003.

Commenting on the urgent need for a focus on eye care, Dr Patricia Quinlan said: “As the easing of restrictions continues and ophthalmologists can return to comprehensively looking after their patients, we will face the challenge of providing long-delayed, medically essential care to our patients whose health care needs were postponed during the crisis. It is of great concern for the ICO that the resumption of eye care services can take place at the greatest capacity possible in our clinics and hospitals, utilising all of the resources and expertise available to ensure cases of preventable blindness are avoided.”

Prior to the pandemic, the specialty of ophthalmology was among the busiest in Ireland. Ophthalmology has one of the highest volume of outpatient appointments and cataract surgery is one of the most frequent surgical procedures carried out in this country.

The latest national waiting time figures from the NTPF show that over 50,000 patients are waiting for an ophthalmology appointment in HSE hospitals, 41,401 for an outpatients appointment and 9,822 on the inpatient list. The figures will increase significantly in the coming months as the HSE adapt to the social distancing requirements while also working through the backlog of cancelled appointments due to the pandemic, and the expected influx of new referrals from GPs.

These figures do not also account for the many additional private patients who have had their ophthalmology procedures postponed in light of the COVID restrictions and the State contract with Private Hospitals.

Dr Patricia Quinlan said: “Never before has the importance of a sustainable and cost effective eye care model, accessible to all patients, been more pressing as we adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic environment. Many ophthalmology treatments are time sensitive, such as wet macular degeneration. Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial. It is vital that all the resources available to doctors for patient care is utilised, both in the HSE and the independent sector, and including non-medical cardholders. Our members have a combined duty to protect our patients, most of whom are elderly, whilst doing our best to preserve their vision.”

Professor William Power, Clinical Lead for Ophthalmology and member of the ICO said: “Intensive discussions and planning is ongoing in the HSE regarding the return to the delivery of services to non Covid patients and how to adapt services to the requirements of ongoing infection prevention and control. The Clinical Programme is engaging with HSE clinical and management staff to provide guidance on the reconfiguration and acceleration of services.

The integrated eye care team structure, outlined in the Clinical Programme Model of Care will ensure that specialised eye care is available to those who require it, both young and old, as far as possible in the primary care setting. In the post Covid world, accelerating the delivery of ophthalmology services outside of the hospital network will help to ensure that patients can be looked after.”

The Clinical Programme and ICO welcome the recruitment for the integrated eye care team, which has been underway in Dublin Primary Care Centres in recent months as a much-welcomed progression in the implementation phase of the Model of Care recommendations.

Prof Power said: “In line with Sláintecare Policy, the priority and focus is to see ophthalmology services expanded throughout the country, to provide care to patients.”

Ophthalmology Appointments

The ICO is also reminding the public and patients of the importance of continuing to look after their eye health as we emerge from the ongoing impact of the pandemic and to attend appointments as directed by their eye health care professional.

Dr Quinlan said: “These are very challenging times for patients and for the wider population. Covid 19 is causing significant concerns, restrictions and measures will be in place for some time to come, but all of the illnesses, and conditions that would normally present are still occurring. I know many patients may still be reluctant to attend their doctor or hospital to both avoid contracting the coronavirus, but we are reminding the public of the importance of early detection and treatment in the management of eye diseases to preserve and protect vision. It is also essential for ophthalmology patients to attend their appointments to protect and preserve and eye health.”

The ICO has an information booklet called ‘Your Sight Our Vision’ to promote eye health awareness and to highlight the significance lifestyle choices have on eye health.

Among the recommendations from eye doctors for healthy vision are:

Consider eye health as part of overall good health – Understand the impact of other diseases on the eyes. The eyes are extraordinarily complex. Many systemic diseases such as diabetes, various tumours, hypertension, sickle cell disease, lupus, and many others can affect the eyes and threaten vision. Anyone with concerns should visit their GP who can refer you to an eye doctor for medical examination.

  • Diet – Eat the right foods – Studies show that what we eat can affect our vision. Certain foods are particularly high in antioxidants which can help to prevent retinal damage and certain eye conditions like cataracts and age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). An anti-oxidant which hugely beneficial is lutein, found in many fruit and vegetables. Foods recommended for eye health include:
  • Broad leaf greens such as kale and spinach
  • Brightly coloured fruit and veg such as corn, carrots, orange sweet peppers and oranges
  • Oily fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel
  • Broccoli
  • Eggs

Exercise – Our eyes need good blood circulation and oxygen intake, and both are stimulated by regular exercise. Lack of exercise contributes significantly to several eye conditions, particularly amongst people aged 60 and over. Being physically active also helps in maintaining weight in a normal range, which reduces the risk of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy, which is a serious eye complication related to that disease.

Don’t smoke – Avoiding smoking or quitting altogether is one of the best investments a person can make in their long-term health. Smoking increases the risks of a variety of diseases, including those that affect the eye such as cataracts and diabetic-related conditions. After ageing, smoking is the biggest factor for developing Age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Know Your Family Eye Health History – Certain eye conditions can be hereditary, such as glaucoma. When detected early, it can be treated and controlled and therefore it would be very beneficial to know if this condition has been in your family so you can be tested.

Protect Your Eyes at Work and at Play – One of the best investments in eye health is to be sure to protect them with proper eye wear, whether it’s enjoying a day in the sun, playing sports or in your profession, be safe with your eyes at all times.

Get Regular Eye Exams – Healthy adults who do not notice anything obviously wrong with their eyes should still have their eyes tested every two years. Eye Doctors recommend that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40, which is typically the approximate time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. Individuals at any age with symptoms or who are at risk for eye disease, such as those with a family history of eye disease, diabetes or high blood pressure should see an eye health care professional to determine how frequently their eyes should be examined.

[1] https://www.hse.ie/eng/about/who/cspd/ncps/ophthalmology


About the Irish College of Ophthalmologists

Formed in 1991, the Irish College of Ophthalmologists is the accredited Postgraduate Training Body and professional representative organisation for eye doctors in Ireland.

The ICO is recognised for this purpose by the Irish Medical Council (IMC) and the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The College’s primary focus is to maintain the highest standards of excellence in the delivery of eye care to patients in Ireland. We protect these standards through the delivery and oversight of the education of ophthalmologists in training, providing on-going education for ophthalmologists in practice, the provision of accurate medical advice to the media and public, and policy guidance for the Irish government.

The ICO has for many years advocated on the need for additional resources in ophthalmology services, and has been actively engaged with the HSE and the Department of Health in efforts to develop sustainable and cost effective solutions to eye care delivery in the community and hospital setting.

The establishment of the National Clinical Programme (NCP) for Ophthalmology in 2012 and it’s collaboration with the ICO, the HSE, the Department of Health and Sláintecare has resulted in a national blue print identifying the priorities for the implementation of a Model of Eye Care in Ireland.

For further information, visit www.eyedoctors.ie


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Government invests additional €200,000 in eBooks and eAudiobooks in response to increased demand for online public library service





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Mr Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, has announced a further investment of €200,000 to support the provision of additional eBooks and eAudiobooks in order to meet the significant increase in demand for access to the public library online service during the COVID-19 crisis. This is in addition to the already allocated €200,000 which was invested at the beginning of the crisis.

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A total of 66 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland – 2 further deaths reported





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Today the HPSC confirms a further 66 cases of COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Ireland to 24,990.

2 further deaths are being reported today.

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Cork City Council Sports Capital Grants scheme put to good use by ‘The Barrs’





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Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. John Sheehan met officials and players on the grounds of St. Finbarr’s National Hurling & Football Club this week to view the two new dugouts on the grounds, funded through Cork City Council’s Sports Capital Grant Scheme. The scheme is aimed at providing grant aid to projects that are directly related to enhancing facilities and of a capital nature.

In 2019, €270,000 grant aid was offered through the scheme and one of the 66 clubs who put their grant to good use was St. Finbarr’s National Hurling and Football Club, based in the Togher area. This club, locally known as The Barrs, with its royal blue and gold strip, was founded in 1876 and currently operates from grounds donated to them by Cork City Council. The club received €8,000 and put it to good use by erecting two dugouts on one of their pitches.

The Lord Mayor commented “We are all too familiar how difficult recent times have been, but it has also shown the amazing community spirit and civic responsibility in Cork City typified by volunteers such as those running sports clubs and organisatons all over the City. Also, it’s vital to stay healthy in body as well as mind and the Council’s Sport Grants play a big part in this.”

The Chairperson of St. Finbarr’s, Denis Bohane, said “Thanks to Cork City Council for their support. Grants like this greatly help clubs like The Barrs to offer better facilities to the youngsters in the area.”

Over the years this scheme has assisted all types of clubs and organization such as rowing, cricket, and athletics to name a few. The 2020 Scheme was announced in January and applications are awaiting approval by Cork City Council.

The scheme is not intended as an alternative to any other sources of funding, but will complement any other schemes, helping with local contributions to satisfy criteria of other funding agencies, or assisting with funding where certain works are not covered by other grant schemes.

The scheme operates under two pillars – Minor Sports Grants (Under 5k) and Major Sports Grants (€5k – €10k). The Minor Grant allows for minor capital grants towards enhancement of premises, pitches etc., as well as allowing for the purchase of non-personal sports equipment that will be used for at least five years. The Major Grant allows for capital grants to develop sport and active recreation facilities throughout the City.


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A total of 59 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland – 9 further deaths reported





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Today the HPSC confirms a further 59 cases of COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Ireland to 24,929.

9 further deaths are being reported today.

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Healthy Ireland #SunSmart – how to enjoy the good weather and protect your skin





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The HSE National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP), Healthy Ireland and partners are today (Saturday 30th May) launching a SunSmart campaign, supporting people in the simple ways in which they can enjoy the sun safely, while protecting themselves and their family.

This June Bank Holiday weekend, with more people spending time outdoors within the 5km limit, whether in the garden, exercising locally or enjoying a runaround in the park with the children, it’s important to protect your and your children’s skin.

Minister for Health, Simon Harris, said today: “Getting through this time has been challenging for everybody and getting outside is one of the ways that we can look after our wellbeing. Luckily, we’re having lots of lovely sunshine to raise our spirits but it is also very important that we take the time to protect our skin.

“Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Ireland today, but most skin cancers can be prevented. This Healthy Ireland SunSmart campaign aims to get us into the habit of protecting our skin every day, whatever the weather. People often think it is a hot sun that causes skin cancer but in fact it is the ultraviolet radiation (or UV) from the sun that is responsible for skin cancers. At this time of the year, the UV radiation levels are high and can damage your skin even on a cooler day so we need to get into the habit of protecting our skin even when it’s cloudy.”

The SunSmart campaign, an action in the National Skin Cancer Prevention Plan*, is supporting people to build skin cancer awareness into their everyday wellbeing routine.

The simple SunSmart code messages are the 5 S’s:

  • Slip on clothing that covers your skin, such as long sleeves, collared t-shirts
  • Slop on sunscreen on exposed areas, using factor 50+ for children
  • Slap on a wide-brimmed hat
  • Seek shade – especially if outdoors between 11am and 3pm – and always use a sunshade on a child’s buggy
  • Slide on sunglasses to protect your eyes.

With over 11,000 cases each year, skin cancer is the most common and the fastest-growing cancer in Ireland, yet most skin cancer can be prevented by being SunSmart and following the 5 S’s.

Professor Anne-Marie Tobin, Consultant Dermatologist at Tallaght University Hospital, says, “Exposure causing sunburn is the most damaging to skin, but frequent non-burning exposures also significantly increase the risk of skin cancer. By adopting the SunSmart 5 S’s the majority of skin cancers caused by UV sun exposure could be prevented.

“Children and young people are particularly vulnerable. UV exposure during the first 10–15 years of life makes a disproportionately large contribution to lifetime risk of skin cancer. Children have lower concentrations of the protective skin pigment melanin and thinner skin, therefore are more susceptible to the dangers of UV. Greater than three instances of severe sunburn during childhood doubles the risk of developing melanoma in later life. Protect yourself and your children today and your skin will thank you for the rest of your life.”

With children now having more time than ever to spend outside it is important to protect their skin while enjoying being active. If your baby is under 6 months old, you should keep them in the shade. Older children should also be in the shade if possible, but especially between 11am and 3pm. This is when UV rays are at their strongest.

As well as the 5 S’s it is important to remember:

  • In Ireland, the UV radiation levels are high from April to September, even when it is cloudy. Stay safe by limiting time in the sun when UV is strongest, typically between the hours of 11am – 3pm
  • Do not deliberately try to get a suntan. Remember tanned skin is damaged skin
  • Avoid getting a sunburn
  • Never use a sunbed.

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A total of 39 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland – 6 further deaths reported





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Today the HPSC confirms a further 39 cases of COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Ireland to 24,876.

6 further deaths are being reported today.

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Leo Varadkar confirms that schools are to open at the end of August





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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said today that Primary and Secondary schools are to reopen at the end of August, as the new academic year begins. The Taoiseach has said that; “We know that it’s not a no-risk scenario but it is a low-risk scenario.”

“We are learning from the experience of countries that have at least partially reopened schools already, and from the experience of countries that have had to reimpose restrictions.”

According to RTE News, the Taoiseach has said the objective is to open schools “as fully as possible, as soon as possible.”


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