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‘If I had sex with them they’d reduce the debt’

UNBEARABLE pressure is being inflicted on young people once they fall into the debt of Ennis drug dealers, a local mother has warned. She once worked in two jobs to clear her own son’s debt and was subjected to numerous threats, with warnings that her young daughter could be a target. “They threatened me, they threatened my son, they threatened my [other, younger] child. They told me that if I had sexual relations with them they would take money off the debt. I’d say I have been threatened at least 40 times. At least. It’s been on my doorstep, up the town, if your son doesn’t pay up, this is what’s going to happen.” At its worst stage her son’s debts reached €2,000, with cannabis very much his drug of choice. “It’s awful stress, oh my God, it’s awful. Even talking about it now, I’m not living through it now, but Jesus it was so hard, working two jobs paying …

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US bride recalls “perfect” wedding on Cliffs’ Walk

  AN American bride has recalled her “perfect wedding day” ceremony, which was held in idyllic surroundings on farmland near the Cliffs of Moher last year. Shannon and Thomas Young exchanged their wedding vows at a “most gorgeous” location on land owned by Pat Sweeney, who provides guided walking tours on his Cliff Walk. The ceremony and reception, which was held on May 9, 2017, illustrates the tourism spin-off from the introduction of the cliff walking tours. In total, 71 guests – 63 Americans, two English, and the remaining include their Irish friends enjoyed a series of visitor attractions throughout North Clare. All of their wedding guests stayed in Doolin. The wedding party booked all 17 rooms at Hotel Doolin from Sunday until Thursday. Shannon created a spreadsheet listing a large number of the Bed and Breakfasts in Doolin so that her guests could book a room that would be walking distance to the hotel. Most guests stayed from Sunday …

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“The cure is in the family”

THE Bedford Row Project has been operating in Limerick City for almost 20 years, having been established by the Franciscans and Sisters of Mercy, in conjunction with Limerick City Council, as there was a need to provide a service that supported people and their families around imprisonment. Today, the Bedford Row Project has extended into County Clare, where one part-time project leader has been appointed to provide support to Clare prisoners, those at risk of imprisonment and their families. Lee-Ann Purcell has been providing this service, offering one-to-one support for Clare men and women who are in Limerick prison, and offering a safe place to support their families, who are affected by their imprisonment. Tasked with linking in with prisoners with Clare addresses, Lee-Ann said “There is an 80% to 90% chance they have been affected by drugs.” She questions whether there is a denial in Clare about the drug issue, but she believes there is a bit of a …

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“There is very little I can do to keep her safe”

KEEPING children away from drugs is proving extremely difficult, and there is frustration in some communities about a weak institutional response. A Shannon mother, who spoke to us, has recently discovered her 14-year-old daughter has been taking drugs. She says it is going to be very hard to keep her away from the suppliers. “Short of locking her in the house and walking her to school and home every day, there’s very little I can do to keep her safe. I know the area she is buying the drugs, she has to walk past this place, it’s called the Boreen. It’s a known fact that’s where young lads have been dealing drugs for years. The Guards know this. “Drugs have been out there for a long time, the Guards know this and they’re doing nothing. A couple of years ago the trees were cut back to try and discourage them but it didn’t. The street lights get fixed and they …

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“In addiction there is chaos, there is mayhem, there is violence”

WATCHING a child being torn by addiction may be the most excruciating experience a parent can go through. That’s the view of a Kilrush mother who has lost a child who went through that struggle, and she has some very strong and informed opinions on the drug problem. “As a parent I think one of the hardest things you’ll ever see is your child being in a place where you can’t take that demon from them. You can do your best to help them as much as you can and let them know you’re there for them, but it’s probably the hardest thing you’ll ever watch,” she says. As well as losing her child, she has eight siblings who are addicted to drink and/or drugs, so substance abuse has really wreaked havoc on those around her and affected her own life. In recent years she has taken courses in addiction studies, allowing her understand the issues more fully. She believes …

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“Most Shannon teens smoke weed”

AT the age of 18, Jack (not his real name) has been through rehab twice, and now attends four or five meetings of Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous each week. The Shannon teenager started taking drugs aged 15, beginning a very rapid descent, after which he admits he is lucky to be alive. Now clean and sober for well over a year, he says his hometown is awash with drugs. Disturbingly, he believes the majority of teenagers in Shannon consume illegal substances. “If you went out and walked down the road and asked 10 people under 18 if they smoke weed or not – if they were being honest with you – I’d say at least six or seven of them would say yes.” The drugs are available from dozens of dealers, all over the town. “There are so many (dealers), I couldn’t even name them all. Literally every estate you go into four or five people are selling drugs. …

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Renewed appeal for Missing 17 year old

Gardaí have renewed their appeal seeking the assistance of the public in tracing the whereabouts of 17-year-old Natasha McNeil who is missing since Thursday June 21, 2018 and who may be in the Ennis area. Natasha is described as 160cm (5’2”) and is of slim build. She has brown hair, and has tattoos on her right ankle and wrists. She was last seen near Heuston Railway Station in Dublin. Anyone with information is asked to contact Henry Garda Station, Limerick on 061 212400, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

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Ennis dive expert lauds Thai rescue as ‘amazing miracle’

AN ENNIS cave-diving expert, who played a major role in rescuing 12 school boys trapped in a Thailand cave, has described the rescue operation as an “amazing miracle”. Jim Warny flew into Shannon Airport on a flight from Heathrow on Friday morning where he was greeted with a warm welcome from onlookers. Mr Warny’s exploits has gained international media attention after reuniting the 12 school boys trapped in the flooded Tham Luang Nang Non caves in Thailand with their families. Jim flew out last week to help in the massive rescue effort, which saw divers from all over the world get involved in rescuing the boys and their football coach from the caves in Thailand’s Chiang Rio province. Originally from Belgium, he has been living in Ennis for more than a decade. Shannon Airport visitors burst into applause when Jim came through the arrival’s area flanked by his father, Réne, his financée, Asia Mania and Brian McCoitir from the Irish …

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