Health chiefs at the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have lifted confinement restrictions relating to the H5N8 bird flu. They confirm it is no longer a legal requirement to confine poultry and other birds under the emergency measures against the dreaded avian influenza threat.
This threat saw not just farmyard poultry, but also birds at Dublin Zoo removed from public view, e.g. flamingos, penguins, and ostriches.
The initial curfew was imposed following confirmation of the H5N8 strain of bird flu in a wild duck, found in Co. Wexford late last year and also in a migrating Whooper Swan, found near the village of Borrisokane, Co. Tipperary, in January 2017.
But the Department said today it has decided to lift the confinement because there has been no further cases of bird flu confirmed in wild birds for the last eight weeks. This decision is further based on other factors, including rising temperatures and the now reduction of migratory birds.
A Department of Agriculture spokesman has confirmed that bird owners can now allow their poultry access to open areas, but should continue to remain vigilant, monitoring their birds for any signs of disease which in theory could still be transmitted to their flock by wild birds. In particular, over the coming weeks, birds should still be fed indoors or under cover where at all feasible.
Producers of previously branded free range chickens and eggs; which had been barred from using the “free range” logo; can return, as and from next Tuesday onwards, to again use their previous branding, for all eggs produced and all poultry slaughtered.
Thurles residents have been emailing us today, asking us as to the present whereabouts of the new Locum set to replace the much loved, now retiring, Dr. John Healy, here in Thurles.
Please now find attached a statement from Deputy Michael Lowry, on the current situation with respect to this problem and a reply which he has received from the HSE.
Deputy Lowry’s Statement;
“Since Monday last I have received complaints from numerous patients who are deeply upset and concerned about the uncertainty around the provision of GP care, following the retirement of Dr. John Healy. I have been in contact with the HSE who have now informed me that the earliest a Locum will be in place is Monday 24th of April next.
This situation is totally unsatisfactory and has caused huge stress and anxiety to patients, in particular older and vulnerable patients. I have asked the HSE to ensure that additional emergency cover is put in place for Dr. Healy’s patients, until a replacement Locum has been posted.”
Reply To Deputy Lowry;
Oifigeach Feidhmiúcháin Sinsearach, Seirbhísí um Chúram Príomhúil , 3ú Urlár, FSS, Sráid Chaitríona, Luimneach Teil (061) 483567 ríomhphoist.
Senior Executive Officer, Primary Care Services, 3rd Floor, HSE, 31-33 Catherine St. Limerick.
Subject: Fw: Dr Healy Thurles – Locum Replacement URGENT.
Dear Deputy Lowry,
Following on from your email query below, a locum GP was due to start yesterday 18th April, however we are still waiting on some of his paperwork. Once the paperwork is received, the doctor will commence. We were assured we would have the paperwork yesterday and the plan was that he would commence today April 19th. We have tried to source a locum G.P. for tomorrow and Friday, in the event that the paperwork does not arrive today, however we were not successful. There is a secretary at Dr Healy’s practice to re-direct the patients to the G.P.s in Thurles. No patients were redirected to an alternate G.P. yesterday, they decided to wait for the locum doctor to commence and so far today 9 patients were redirected.
The G.M.S. patients will be seen under S.T.C.s (Special Type Consultation) by the Thurles G.P.s for the next few days.
Should you have any further queries this evening , please do not hesitate to contact me. If you have any queries tomorrow or Friday can I suggest you make contact with Ms Marion Kennedy, Business Manager who is managing the issue. I have included Marion in this email so as you will have her email address.
To all readers who queried this issue with us today, this is the most up-to-date information we hold to-night, and hopefully this issue will be fully solved shortly.
Meanwhile to Dr John, “Thank You” and from all here in Thurles go our best wishes to you on your well earned retirement.
‘Dr’ Mr Fergus Heffernan
A celebrity ‘therapist /psychologist’ has cancelled his public lectures after his PhD (Latin – Philosophiae Doctor) qualification was exposed as being bogus, by the ‘Irish Mail on Sunday’ newspaper.
Mr Fergus Heffernan, who was due to deliver a lecture entitled ‘Healthy Minds and Emotional Well-being’ to Upperchurch / Drombane GAA club, Thurles, Co. Tipperary yesterday, has admitted that his doctoral qualification in psychology is indeed fake and as a result he has taken his official website off-line.
Mr Heffernan, who lectured in family therapy in the past, had been invited as a guest on some of Ireland’s most popular radio programmes, hosted by well-known presenters such as Dave Fanning, Marian Finucane, and Ray D’Arcy. He had also toured the country, lecturing on mental health to Corporate and Community Groups; these included parents’ councils, sports clubs and schools.
This newspapers investigation also revealed that Mr Heffernan had falsely claimed to be a ‘visiting professor’ to a number of top International universities, including our own Trinity College Dublin, Boston University, and New York’s Columbia University, and that his claim to have served with the Irish Defence Forces in Lebanon in 1976 was indeed untrue, (Note all three university institutions claim that they have no record of any employment or affiliation with Mr Heffernan, and regarding conflict in Lebanon; the date claimed was for two years prior to any Lebanese conflict having begun).
We understand Mr Heffernan was scheduled to give a talk at St Angela’s College in Cork next Monday, relating to ‘Understanding the Emotional Wellbeing of Teenagers’, with tickets for this event selling for €5 per attendee. Recent statistics, alluded to, by him during other recent presentations, in relation to child suicides; have also been disputed.
Thurles Order of Malta Ambulance Corps have announced dates for public training courses at their training centre situated at Bohernavroon, Thurles, for 2017.
Basic First Aid and Emergency Skills; a five-night course, will begin on Tuesday’s from the 25th April at 7.00pm, with another five-night course scheduled from the 19th September, and with the option to add-on Paediatric / Child First Skills, for a following two nights, to these courses.
Public courses are available for anyone who has an interest in learning life-saving skills or require refreshing their skills or recertification after two years.
Thurles Order of Malta, a registered charity, is officially licensed and regulated by the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) of Ireland, the national regulator for ambulance operation and training services. They are the only PHECC Recognised Institution provider in the Thurles area. All instructors are licensed practitioners, fully-qualified and have the experience that comes with years of front-line first-aid service.
Major changes have come into effect this year for first aid at work. Occupational First Aid has now been replaced by a new national standard First Aid Responder (FAR) course and accredited by PHECC. Approved by the Health and Safety Authority for the workplace, and the Department of Children for childminders, it is available on three Saturdays from the 13th May at 9.00am, and later from the 21st October.
Thurles now has a growing number of private and public-access Automated External Defibrillators (AED’s). The PHECC national standard training course for operating defibrillators, Cardiac First Responder (CFR), a one-night course, will be available on the Wednesdays of the 26th April, 24th May, or 30th August at 7.00pm or Saturday 10th June at 9.00pm.
All courses are officially certified and materials are supplied. In addition to these public dates, we provide private courses by appointment for clubs, groups and employers at the Thurles Order of Malta centre or your workplace, tailored to accommodate your specific needs where at all possible.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland have instructed the Supermarket chain ALDI to recall a batch of Skellig Bay Yellowfin Tuna Steaks because of a “possible health risk.” The Food Safety Authority are recalling the tuna steak batch because of what they have identified as ‘a high level of histamine’. 
The Skellig Bay Yellowfin Tuna Steak batches (240g) (Approval number: IE CK 0053 EC), have use-by dates: 05/04/2017; 13/04/17; 14/04/17; 15/04/2017 and 17/04/2017 and have a product code No. 76993.
Any customers who have purchased any of the affected product are being asked to immediately return same to their supermarket and receive a full refund.
A statement on ALDI’s website reads: “We are recalling this product due to the detection of high levels of histamine. This means the product is a possible health risk for anyone who consumes it. If you have bought the above product, please do not eat it.”
There has been one known report of illness linked with one of the affected batches. Point-of-sale recall notices will now be displayed in ALDI stores. The discovery was first posted by the Food Safety Authority on Thursday last.
 Scombrotoxic (histamine) poisoning is a chemical intoxication, in which symptoms typically develop rapidly (from 10 minutes to two hours) after the ingestion of food containing the toxic histamine levels. The range of symptoms experienced is wide, but may include an oral burning or tingling sensation, skin rash and localised inflammation, hypo-tension, headaches and flushing. In some cases vomiting and diarrhoea may develop and elderly or sick individuals may require hospital treatment. The symptoms usually resolve themselves within 24 hours.