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Crowe flies from FF Convention after “political bombshell”

  Councillor Cathal Crowe has confirmed his shock withdrawal from the Clare Fianna Fáil Dáil Selection Convention, after claiming party headquarters scuppered his chances of election with a “political bombshell”. The Clare Champion can reveal the experienced Meelick Councillor will officially withdraw from the covention next Thursday, after an unprecedented geographical directive from Fianna Fáil headquarters. While Councillor Crowe will not contest the convention, he is hoping to convince senior party officials to subsequently add him to the party’s Dáil ticket in the Banner county. In fact, he is seeking an urgent meeting with general secretary Sean Dorgan and Fianna Fáil leader, Micheal Martin to present what he believes is a strong case to be added to the line-up. Hundreds of delegates, who are eligible to vote in the convention in Woodstock Hotel next Thursday night, have been issued with a controversial party directive requesting them to select one candidate from East and West Clare. Five candidates were initially nominated …

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Trinity puts ‘Champion photographer in the picture

MULTI-AWARD-WINNING Clare Champion photographer John Kelly has scooped yet another top prize, having won the Energy at Any Age photography exhibition, hosted by Trinity College Dublin. The exhibition was organised by Age-Friendly Trinity. Around 50 guests attended the welcome reception and cast their votes for their favourite image, with John’s The Old Man and the Sea taking the People’s Choice Award. His winning entry was a photograph of Paddy Hanrahan collecting seaweed for use as fertiliser for his garden near Cappa, Kilrush. John outlined that when they put out the call for entries, he immediately thought of a number of the photographs that would fit the bill. He was delighted to get the call that they had accepted three into the exhibition. “That one of them had been chosen as People’s Choice Award at the opening, that was an extra bonus,” he said. The same image was a third-prize PPAI winner in the 2015 portrait section. Also selected for the …

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Thirty more asylum seekers arrive in Lisdoonvarna

AN additional 30 asylum seekers relocated to the Direct Provision centre in Lisdoonvarna this week. This brings the number of asylum seekers in the North Clare town to approximately 60, although it is understood that some of the first group of asylum seekers have since sought alternative accommodation. The first batch of asylum seekers arrived in Lisdoonvarna on March 12 and are located in the King Thomond Hotel, just outside the town. Up to 115 asylum seekers can be catered for in Lisdoonvarna. At a public meeting in the Pavilion, Lisdoonvarna, on February 23, King Thomond Hotel proprietor Marcus White said that he would listen to the views of local people, if they were opposed to Direct Provision or the arrival of asylum seekers. On February 28, a secret ballot of parish residents was held in the Pavilion. A total of 93% voted 197 to 15, to reject the arrival of Direct Provision in the town. However, the Direct Provision …

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Women seeking a safe haven

CLARE Haven Services is projecting that, by year-end, 70 to 80 women will have availed of its refuge, based on current trends. Johnny O’Rourke, services manager of the Ennis-based organisation, made the prediction, following the release of a report this week, which revealed there were 19,385 disclosures of abuse against women and children made to Women’s Aid in 2017. “Clare Haven has been pretty much at capacity for the first quarter of this year,” he explained. In the first 10 weeks of the year, the women’s refuge has had 19 admissions. “It is quite a lot when you are working through various issues; if you put that out towards the end of the year, we are looking at 70 or 80 women [some also with young children] in the refuge in 12 months and that is local women, so the demand is there and we need to get better at responding to it,” he added. While he cannot say exactly …

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Additional €30m for regional development

Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen is looking forward to seeing the next wave of “exciting and innovative initiatives” that will be supported by the Regional Enterprise Development Fund and drive employment creation in the regions. The Minister of State was speaking at the launch of the second call for proposals under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) which is worth a further €30 million. Last December €30.5m was awarded to 21 collaborative projects right across the country under phase one of REDF. Minister Breen said, “The Regional Action Plans for Jobs have provided a structure for collaboration so that individual counties can work together, harness collective abilities to support enterprise growth, and respond to economic challenges. The €60 million Regional Enterprise Development Fund builds on and supports this structure. It puts regional investment into the hands of local stakeholders, and encourages local groups to develop and drive enterprise growth and employment …

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Viewing the Cliffs of Moher in Paris Metro

Millions of French commuters are seeing ads for Ireland as they pass through the busy metro stations of Paris this month. Tourism Ireland in Paris has teamed up with French airline Transavia (the low cost airline owned by the Air France-KLM group) to highlight holidays and short breaks in Ireland for 2018. The campaign with Transavia includes ads on almost 500 screens in metro stations around the French capital, highlighting great value fares to Dublin from Paris, which are grabbing the attention of commuters with a beautiful image of the Cliffs of Moher – and reminding them why they should put Ireland on their holiday wish-list for 2018. The campaign also includes a strong push on social channels, including Facebook and Instagram. France is one of the top four markets for tourism to the island of Ireland and 2017 was the fifth record-breaking year in a row for French visitors to Ireland.

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Disagreement over Ennis off-licence plan

TWO former mayors of Ennis are at odds over plans for the development of a shop in the Turnpike area of the town. Planning permission has been granted by Clare County Council to Geltec Retail Limited for an off-licence to be installed at the shop formerly owned by the O’Dowd family. Former mayor of Ennis, Michael Guilfoyle objected to the plans to change the use of the existing convenience shop to include an off-licence of 22m2. However, another former mayor, Councillor Pat Daly, has come out in support of the plans, which he has described as a “great boost for the Turnpike”. Councillor Daly made representations to the county council in favour of the proposal during the planning process. Speaking after the decision to grant permission, subject to five conditions, Councillor Daly stated, “I welcome the granting of planning permission. This will allow the shop to upgrade. The O’Dowd family had traded in this store for 40 years, offering a …

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Gardaí save baby Holly’s life

THE parents of a newborn baby who received emergency intervention at Ennis Garda Station last week have told The Clare Champion that they want the gardaí to know how “eternally grateful” they are. As Amanda Carmody and Michael Coughlin sit comfortably in their living room, watching their 17-day-old baby Holly sleep soundly in their arms, they say Garda Ken Butler and Garda Patrick McCormack “were absolutely incredible”, when they arrived into the station on Wednesday evening last. “Everyone was fantastic. We want the gardaí to know how eternally grateful we are. They were absolutely incredible and we want to let people know that they are there to help, and they were absolutely fantastic,” Amanda said. She explained that the couple had been in town with Holly on Wednesday last and were walking out Newbridge Road in Lifford, having come over the Club Bridge from town, when they noticed something wasn’t right. “We were just down by where MT Pockets used …

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