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Breaking News

Tourist dies after SatNav gives ‘wrong directions’

A Polish tourist was killed in a car accident near the Cliffs of Moher two years ago after a driver was confused because his SatNav told him to go in the wrong direction. At Ennis Circuit Court, counsel for the State, Lorcan Connolly, said the State accepted that Grzegorz Barski’s SatNav telling him to go straight on instead of taking a right for the Cliffs of Moher at a junction was a contributory cause in the fatal accident on May 31, 2016. In the crash, the front-seat passenger in Mr Barski’s car, Grzegorz Frydrych died while a motorcyclist, Charles Killeen, who collided with the car, suffered head injuries, including a fractured skull and multiple broken facial bones and was hospitalised for one month. Mr Barski, (36), of Jugback Crescent, Swords, Co Dublin pleaded guilty to careless driving causing the death of Mr Frydrych and careless driving causing serious bodily harm to Mr Killeen. Mr Barski’s car collided with Mr Killeen’s …

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All go for Clare Civil Defence

THE Civil Defence unit in Clare is among the most active in the country, with members taking part in 32 different activities in the first three months of the year. Civil Defence volunteers are on standby to assist in a range of activities – from missing person searches to manning sporting events. In fact, one of the roles played by the Clare Civil Defence this year related to a search for a missing person in Clarecastle on January 30. The overall figures were confirmed just days after all of the country’s response agencies were honoured at Dublin Castle for their response to Storm Emma and Storm Ophelia. Among the workers present at the event on Tuesday were staff from Clare County Council, the Defence Forces, Civil Defence, National Ambulance Service, Irish Water, the Coastguard, An Garda Síochána, the HSE, the ESB, the fire service and other volunteer groups. It was confirmed at the event that the first Saturday of September will now be known …

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Former TD refused digital audio recording of evidence

A judge has refused an application by former Labour TD Michael McNamara for a Digital Audio Recording (DAR) of the evidence in his dangerous driving case. At Ennis District Court today (Wednesday), Judge Patrick Durcan refused Mr McNamara’s application for the DAR of the day’s evidence in the case, as the 43 year-old prepares an appeal against his dangerous driving conviction to the circuit court. The conviction, which carries an automatic two year driving ban, is in respect of Mr McNamara’s driving at Tobernagath, Scariff on December 10, 2016. Mr McNamara can continue to drive pending his appeal being heard. In court on Wednesday, the solicitor for Mr McNamara said that the application was being made to obtain the DAR to help deal with shortcomings in the prosecution case against him. The application was opposed by the gardaí with Inspector Tom Kennedy telling Judge Durcan: “That is not what the DAR was designed for.” Insp Kennedy said that Mr McNamara …

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Garda traffic patrol appointments welcomed

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) welcomed the announcement by An Garda Síochána that 87 new gardaí have been appointed to Roads Policing Units. Chief executive Moyagh Murdock said, “The allocation is the first increase in Garda numbers deployed to front line road safety enforcement since 2010. Progress was made in reducing deaths in 2017 but it is vital that road safety is given the necessary prioritisation by the Garda Commissioner, to ensure that the improvement can be continued in 2018 and beyond. “The increase in garda personnel assigned to roads policing duties was initially called out in the Garda Policing Plan 2017, which committed to an increase of 10% to the then number of 681 gardaí, and is one of the main actions identified in the recent Mid Term Review of the Government Road Safety Strategy 2013 to 2020,” she said. “This action requires a 10% year on year increase in numbers up to 2020, which should bring total garda …

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Good progress in telecommunications work

THE first quarterly progress report on the 2018 Work Programme of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce Implementation Group demonstrates the good progress made in alleviating telecommunications deficits in Ireland, pending roll-out of the National Broadband Plan State Intervention. This was the observation of Minister Denis Naughten and Minister of State Seán Kyne in a joint statement this afternoon (Monday). Minister Naughten said, “We have achieved a lot since establishing this Taskforce in mid-2016, and the publication of this report reflects the momentum that was built up throughout 2017. We have continued to concentrate on how best to resolve mobile coverage black-spots, particularly in rural areas and a focus group has been established dedicated specifically to guide policy in that regard. We are also continuing to engage with industry and local authorities in a mapping exercise to identify priority black-spots across the country. I am also encouraged by the substantial work done by ComReg – such as mobile handset testing, and ongoing work to develop a composite national coverage map – to ensure customers are better informed before making decisions on products and services.” …

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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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