covid-19 pandemic


    It will be the end of June/ early July at the earliest before any pubs re-open. That’s the view of the Chairman of Mayo Vintners Alan Gielty.

    It’s a year since the country's 7,100 pubs were closed due to the pandemic, and at that time they were told they would be open again at the end of March.

    Mr Gielty, of Gielty’s Bar and Restaurant, Dooagh Achill says the impact of the extended closure of pubs on people’s mental health and the lack of social interaction is having a real impact on rural communities.

    He has also highlighted the cost of shutdown on publicans paying mortgages, where the government subsidy payments, while welcome, are not adequate.

    One year down the line, Alan has been telling Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley about the impact on the pub trade…









  • A Mayo bus company is ready to help transport commuters to work, as Covid-19 restrictions begin to phase out.

    Corduff Travel, like many public transport services, was severely hit by the lockdown, losing around 99% of its usual business.

    Out of a fleet of over 70 buses, only two remain operational, transferring patients to and from urgent medical appointments.

    The Rossport-based transport provider has put all public health guidelines in place so that they can bring passengers on journeys, once restrictions begin to ease.

  • A dedicated community support helpline will be established in Mayo County Council to assist at-risk members of the public in accessing non-emergency and non-medical supports and advice during the current public health emergency.

    The confidential phoneline service is being established by the new COVID-19 Mayo County Council Community Response Forum, which includes over a dozen agencies and organisations. The helpline is focused primarily on ensuring that vulnerable members of the community or those living alone can access deliveries of groceries, medicine and fuels. The role of the Forum is to ensure that there is a co-ordinated community response and to enable all voluntary statutory agencies to collaborate in support of our communities and particularly of our most vulnerable members.

    Included in the COVID-19 Mayo County Council Community Response Forum are:

    • Mayo County Council
    • Health Service Executive
    • An Garda Síochána
    • Other community, voluntary and sports representatives


    The new phoneline is just one aspect of the Forum’s work. Its core aim is contributing to the community-wide effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.

    Mayo County Council through this group, will ensure that the wide variety of groups working across Mayo to assist those in need, will do so in an organised, collaborative and targeted way. 

    The Council’s COVID-19 Community Response Forum is there to ensure the very best use of the many resources assisting vulnerable persons with their daily needs at this unprecedented time, whether that is collecting medication, food shopping, social support and contact.

    The new helpline will come into effect from tomorrow and the dedicated contact number is 094 -90 64660 with the lines open from 8am to 8PM.

  • Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation and the HSE have been working closely over the past number of weeks to facilitate the use of the Mayo Hospice building for the COVID-19 crisis.

    For the next few months the Mayo Hospice Building will be handed over to the HSE to provide additional accommodation for patients, should it be required.

    During this time the Mayo Hospice Building will be fully operated by the HSE. 

    It is still the hope of the Foundation that the Mayo Hospice shall be open for Palliative Care before the end of year.

  • The CEO of the Saolta University Healthcare Group says the focus remains that there is a clear pathway of care for people coming in to hospital.

    Tony Canavan says a lot of work has continued in the last week in response to the Coronavirus.

    There is currently 14 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Mayo and Mr. Canavan says at the moment there are no patients in ICU at the Castlebar based hospital.

    Mr. Canavan says Mayo University hospital is also looking at maximising their ICU capacity and also ensure there is good linkage between the hospitals in the West.

  • Midwest Radio will this morning at 10am, begin its three weekly broadcast of Mass during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Management at the station has responded to a huge number of requests from listeners to increase religious broadcasts in the wake of the pandemic. 

    In addition to the weekly Sunday morning broadcast of Mass, Midwest Radio will now also broadcast a 10 o’clock morning Mass each Wednesday and Friday, starting from today.

    Station Manager Tommy Marren says at a time when the general public are feeling anxious and vulnerable it’s timely for the station to introduce a number of Masses as part of the weekday schedule.

    The Mass each morning will be broadcast live from St. Patrick’s Chuch, Ballyhaunis and the celebrant will be Fr. Stephen Farragher.

  • The Agriculture Minister has apologised for attending an event just 24 hours after new COVID-19 measures were introduced.

    The Irish Examiner reports Dara Calleary, along with other TDs and Senators were among 80 guests at an Oireachtas Golf Society event last night.

    In a statement, the Minister says he had committed to attending the function a number of weeks ago, and should not have attended in light of updated public health guidelines.

    Minister Calleary will be on tomorrow’s Morning Edition with Michael D. McAndrew.

  • From today people are allowed to travel up to 5 kilometres from home to exercise.

    While those who are cocooning are advised that they can go for a short walk if they avoid all contact with others.

    Ireland will then begin to reopen on May 18 and will continue in five three-week phases.

    A further 16 deaths from Covid-19 were reported in the Republic yesterday, along with 266 new cases.

    1,319 people with Covid 19 have now died in Ireland, and there are a total of 21,772 people with confirmed cases of the virus,

    In Mayo the number of confirmed cases of Covid 19 is now more than 500.

    There are 501 confirmed cases of Covid 19 in the county, compared to 365 in county Galway, 174 in county Roscommon and in county Sligo 119.

    In good news over the weekend, a  Mayo grandmother whose weather reading played a critical role on D-Day has beaten Covid-19 at the age of 97.

    Maureen Sweeney was 21 years old when she took weather readings at Blacksod weather station in June 1944. Her actions influenced the D-Day landings and changed the course of World War II.

    Maureen has been a resident in Tí Aire Nursing Home in Belmullet for the past year. She contracted the coronavirus a number of weeks ago but Maureen received the good news late last week that a re-test had come back negative.


  • Motor insurers have committed to offering refunds or discounts on premiums to their customers.

    It's due to an expected drop in the number of claims as less people are on the roads during the Covid 19 pandemic.

    Insurance Ireland says the rebates offered by Allianz, AXA, FBD, RSA and Zurich will depend on their claims experience so far.

  • A new telephone helpline has been opened today, to assist farmers with their queries in relation to Covid-19 restrictions.

    Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has put in place a dedicated helpline for farmers to seek advice so they can continue to fulfill their essential role in maintaining the food supply chain.

    The helpline number is 076 - 106 4468 and will be open Monday to Fridays during office hours.


  • Taoiseach Leo Varadker has announced a number of new restrictions, as the battle against Covid-19 is stepped up.

    In a press conference shortly after 4pm, Mr Varadker asked people to stay at home if at all possible, and said people should only leave their home to go to work - if they can't work from home - to get essential food and medical supplies and to take exercise.

    He announced that all hairdressers, casinos, bingo halls, theatres and gyms are to close, as well as marts, markets and betting shops.

    All non-essential shops are to close, while restaurants and cafes are limited to take-away or delivery only.

    Hotels are to limit their occupancy to essential non-social and non-tourist activities, and Mr Varadker said social gatherings are to involve no more than four people, unless they're from the same household.

    He said no unnecessary travel was to be taken, within the country or overseas, while caravan parks and playgrounds are to close.

    All existing coronavirus measures, including the closure of schools and pubs, will be extended until Sunday 19th April.

    Earlier this afternoon, the Minister for Education Joe McHugh said the Leaving and Junior Cert exams are still scheduled to go ahead in June, but that could change, depending on the spread of coronavirus in the community.

    The emergency welfare payment for workers who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis will increase to €350 per week.

    And in a significant new move the Government will also pay 70% of employee wages up to €410 per week for businesses who are willing to meet the remainder of their staff’s weekly payment.

    The Taoiseach said this situation could go on for weeks, or even months, but said better times are yet to come.

    In the meantime, he said it's vital that everyone continues to take the necessary precautions in terms of hygiene and social distancing......

  • No further deaths among patients with Covid-19 have been reported today.

    Eleven more people have tested positive for the disease in the Republic, bringing the total confirmed cases here to 25,542.

    1,738 people infected with coronavirus are known to have died here since the outbreak began.

    Public health doctors have urged people experiencing a cough, shortness of breath, or a lack of taste or smell to contact their GP for testing.

  • No new Covid-19 deaths have been reported today.

    It's the first time since mid-March.

    59 new cases of the virus have been confirmed.

    It means the death toll from the virus remains at 1,606 while the total number of cases is 24,698.


  • NUI Galway will confer more than 300 graduates online next week.

    Due to restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the University will not be able to hold them in person and will mark the occasion through Facebook live instead.

    On Monday 190 future doctors will be conferred.

    NUI Galway pushed forward their final year exams to ensure they would be available to enter the healthcare workforce.


    The number of Covid-19 related deaths here has more than doubled in 24 hours.

    Ten more people diagnosed with the virus have died, bringing the death toll to 19 this side of the border, 10 in Northern Ireland – a total of 29 now on the island of Ireland.

    There have also been a further 255 confirmed cases here , meaning there are now 1,819 cases recorded in the Republic, 241 confirmed cases in NI. That’s more than 2,000 cases on the island of Ireland.

    Latest figures show there are 14 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Mayo, 45 in Galway, 8 in Sligo and 5 in Roscommon.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team here meets this morning, with health officials very concerned about increases in ICU admissions, clusters of nursing home cases, and the spread of the virus among health workers.

    Chief medical officer Tony Holohan says the death toll will continue to rise.

  • One person diagnosed with Covid-19 has died in the Republic.

    Officials at the Department of Health say 11 further cases have also been confirmed.

    The pandemic death toll here how stands at 1,727 -- with 25,405 people known to have contracted the disease.


  • Over two and a half thousand people have signed a petition, calling for the repatriation of the Irish crew members on board the quarantined Ruby Princess cruise ship in Sydney, Australia.


    Castlebar musician Kate Heneghan is a member of the group Emerald Tide who are among over 1,000 crew members still on board the ship which is docked south of Sydney.

    An online petition on Change.Org is calling on the Department of Foreign Affairs to repatriate the Irish crew members, who have spent almost four weeks in quarantine in their cabins.

    It's believed a total of 140 crew members have tested positive for Covid-19, and crew members claim they have insufficient medical equipment and personnel on board to deal with the crisis.


    Earlier this week, Kate Heneghan told Midwest News that they were grateful for the help of Irish politicians and officials from the Dept of Foreign Affairs to return the group to Ireland, and all she wants at this point is to return home to Castlebar.


    A spokesperson for the Dept of Foreign Affairs says they're aware of the case involving Irish citizens on board the Ruby Princess cruise ship, and said the Irish consulate in Sydney remains in contact with Irish citizens on the ship and with authorities in Australia to ensure the health and safety of the Irish citizens on board.



  • The pandemic unemployment payment has been extended until the end of August.

    However, there are changes being made for workers who earned less before the pandemic began.

    There will be a two tier payment structure from the 29th of June for the PUP scheme.

    Those who were earning less than 200 euro a week before the crisis will be moved to a 203 euro a week payment.

    The temporary wage subsidy scheme has also been extended until the end of August.

    New CSO figures show that more than one million people were either on the Live Register or benefitted from COVID payments last month.

    In the last week of May, over 543 thousand people were receiving the pandemic unemployment payment.

    There were 226,400 people on the live register in May - up 8,900 from April.

  • People are being told not to leave their homes for the next 2 weeks - except for a small number of circumstances.

    They are to buy food or household goods, go to medical appointments or essential work and for vital family reasons.

    Brief exercise is also allowed within 2 kilometres of someone's home.

    People over 70 are also being told to "cocoon" themselves by staying indoors.

    The measures are in place until Easter Sunday as part of government efforts to tackle Covid 19.

    Taoiseach Leo Varadkar doesn't believe there are many more restrictions that could be put in place in the future.

  • Approval for how the Government is handling the Covid pandemic has dropped below 50 per cent.

    That's according to a Kantar poll in the Sunday Independent, which says 43 per cent of people are happy with how the government are dealing with the fight against Covid.

    It's a fall of 19 points since the previous poll taken at the end of last year.

    While the survey found half of people feel the restrictions are being lifted too slowly, 59 per cent of those surveyed approved of NPHET's handling of the pandemic.