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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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Aer Lingus changes to Shannon-US winter services

AER LINGUS has opted to reverse a pattern of recent years at Shannon, opting to continue with its New York service in the opening months of 2019, while suspending its Boston service. A spokesperson for Shannon said that in the final analysis Aer Lingus will now be able to accommodate more passengers travelling between Shannon and the US due to this move. “On balance we are pleased with the extra transatlantic capacity that this service switch creates. This change strengthens Aer Lingus’s commitment to Shannon by adding an extra 2,500 (seats) and restores a year-round service from New York to Shannon, but we are disappointed that the Boston market can only be accessed via New York for this two month winter period.” While the statement said that Shannon would continue to work with Aer Lingus on the Boston service, there are extra benefits to maintaining a link with a major global hub like JFK. “The benefits of the restoration and …

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Shannon Airport to aid farmers with silage cut

Shannon Airport has pledged its support to farmers battling the current fodder crisis by offering to repeat its intervention of 2013 when it harvested silage from its 400 acre site. The Airport’s operations team will meet with farm representatives over the coming days to explore the need to fast-track cutting of grass on the airport grounds in light of the severe difficulties faced by many farmers due to the prolonged inclement winter and spring weather. The airport’s grass husbandry programme is not due to see any grass inside the airport perimeter cut until later in the summer, but in light of the shortages, the airport is offering to bring it forward to support local farmers. Five years ago, in late April, farmers received 1,600 bales of silage from the airport in what was then the most severe fodder crisis in living memory. Airport operations director Niall Maloney said,“Farmers were in difficulty back then and, having seen just how important our …

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