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Minister Breen organised dinner for broadband bidder

  Minister of State Pat Breen has become embroiled in controversy after it emerged he arranged for former Communications Minister Denis Naughten to attend a dinner with a key bidder in the national broadband process. The Clare Deputy has also outlined he had met Irish-American businessman, David McCourt on a number of occasions in his role as minister of state. Minister Naughten resigned from cabinet yesterday over revelations he met four times with Mr McCourt, the only bidder who is still involved in the national broadband plan process. In a statement issued last night, Minister Breen has outlined meetings he had with David McCourt, the key bidder in the broadband procurement process, and has said he knows him “on a personal basis”. The Minister of State with responsibility for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, he has “ no role in the National Broadband Plan, its rollout or its procurement”. “In my role as Minister of …

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50% rent increase demanded of pensioners

THE unpredictability faced by people in private rented accommodation has been illustrated by the case of an Ennis couple who were told the rent for their apartment would be increasing by an incredible 50%. Pensioners Hilari Hinnant and Greg Miller rent a one-bedroom apartment at Parnell Street and on July 11 they received a letter from a representative of their landlord, informing them the rent would be going up from €400 to €600 a month. In certain parts of the country, designated rent pressure zones, prices may only rise by a maximum of 4% per annum, but no part of Clare is included, meaning tenants here can see prices rise by any amount. The letter to the couple informing them of the rent increase stated “the new rent is not greater than the market rent, having regard to the other terms of the tenancy, and letting values of dwellings of a similar size, type and character to the dwelling that …

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Kilrush Enterprise Town attracts big numbers

FOR the second successive year, Bank of Ireland hosted its Enterprise Town initiative in Kilrush. Dozens of local businesses exhibited in Kilrush Community School last Friday. The event was hosted by Mullagh sports commentator and television presenter, Marty Morrissey. The event was organised by the bank in partnership with the local community in Kilrush.      

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Shannon Gardai appeal for public to contact them first, following social media scare

THERE was some hysteria in Shannon last week, after posts appeared on Facebook about men trying to lure children into a white van. However, following an investigation, gardaí say there was no risk of child abuse, while they have urged people to come to them when they have concerns. Sergeant Seamus Mulligan said that whenever there is suspicious activity, people need to contact gardaí, rather than getting onto social media. “They might want to vent on social media but they should also contact the gardaí.” He said that the van that was the subject of the social media posts in Shannon was subsequently met by gardaí in Limerick, who became satisfied that there had been no risk to children. The van was taken in, due to concerns about road traffic offences, but it is not expected that the matter will come before the courts. Earlier this year, Sergeant Mulligan addressed a meeting of Shannon Municipal District councillors, at which he …

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‘I Hid it so well. No One Knew’

Ennis woman Irene Hehir shares her struggle with depression in the hope of helping others to seek help.  IRENE Hehir describes herself as an “everyday girl living in the town of Ennis”. She has a good life, she has a good job, she has a great family and a great network of friends, but behind it all she was struggling with her mental health. To everyone who knew her, including those closest to her, the now 42 year old, was “Happy go Larry”, “the life and soul of the party”. Her outward life was about being seen to be “having the craic”, “being pure bould, carrying on and having a laugh”. But inside she was in turmoil. Her parents, extended family and friends, who have always been so supportive, didn’t know any of this was going on. In her early teens Irene was systematically bullied, and a physical assault which rendered her unconscious left her in constant fear. Although she …

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Woman attacked with brush handle in Lisdoonvarna

A CLARE man who is accused of attacking his former partner with a brush handle is to be assessed by a forensic psychiatrist as a matter of urgency. The 33-year-old, who has an address at The Mews, Lifford, in Ennis appeared before Limerick District Court this Friday [September 14] after he was charged with assault causing harm in relation to an incident near Lisdoonvarna on Tuesday. Detective Garda TJ Molloy said it will be alleged that a 30-year-old woman was struck with a brush handle and that a knife was held to her throat during the incident on Tuesday evening. He said gardaí were alerted by neighbours who were alerted to a commotion inside the caravan where the woman lives on the grounds of Ballinalacken Castle Hotel. “It was a loud verbal and physical altercation,” he said adding that witnesses described seeing the caravan “shaking viciously”. He said they feared it could overturn. Being questioned by defence solicitor Tara Godfrey, the …

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Trump trip to Doonbeg could be off

NEWS has broken this afternoon that US President Donald Trump may not visit his resort in Doonbeg on November 12. While an official statement has yet to emerge from the White House, it seems that the visit, which was to coincide with a trip to Paris on November 11, may not now go ahead. The US President, who bought the golf resort in Doonbeg in 2014, was to have spent a day in Dublin before travelling to West Clare. News of his now cancelled visit was announced by the White House on Friday August 31. At the time the White House said that the trip was to “renew the deep and historic ties between our two nations”.

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President Trump likely to visit Doonbeg in November

US President, Donald Trump, is likely to visit Doonbeg this November. Informed sources have confirmed to The Clare Champion that President Trump’s visit to Ireland is very likely to involve a visit to the family-owned golf resort in West Clare. He last visited Doonbeg in May 2014, following the purchase of Trump International Golf Resort. On Friday night, The White House said that President Trump will visit this country, during a trip to Europe to “renew the deep and historic ties between our two nations”. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that the US President will be in Ireland for a “brief visit.” “It will be an opportunity to follow up on the issues discussed in the White House in March, including migration, trade, climate change and human rights issues,” the Government statement said. By Peter O’Connell

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