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Breaking News

Courts system ‘grinding to a halt’

The judge who presides over the circuit criminal court in Clare has stated that the whole court system is going to come to a standstill due to the lack of judges and lack of court staff. On the final day of criminal sittings at Ennis Circuit Court in 2017, Judge Gerald Keys said that the failure of Government to appoint new judges is resulting in the mounting backlog of cases before the criminal circuit court in Clare. In court, Judge Keys was dealing with an 81 strong circuit court list and he said, “There is a lack of staff, a lack of judges and lack of everything and it is grinding to a halt – the whole system is going to come to a stand-still.” The circuit court sits four times a year in County Clare for a number of weeks each time to hear criminal cases while other days are listed for sentencing and the call over of cases. …

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Storm Eleanor to hit Clare coast

Clare County Council is warning members of the public to avoid exposed coastal locations from this evening (Tuesday) through to tomorrow morning (Wednesday) due to forecast stormy conditions. The storm, named Eleanor under the Met Éireann / UK Met Office storm naming system, will move in off the Atlantic later this afternoon and will move very quickly across the country this evening. Southwest to west winds of mean speeds 65 to 80 km/h, gusting to 110 to 130 km/h., are expected. Met Éireann also is forecasting very high seas along the Clare coastline, including the Shannon Estuary, with a risk of coastal flooding. Tom Tiernan, senior engineer, Clare County Council, commented, “We are advising the public not to venture out unless necessary – particularly in coastal areas. Motorists are asked to be careful when driving and to avoid parking vehicles in close proximity to exposed coastal areas. Any coastal areas which have previously flooded are at risk and people in …

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Drop in road deaths

Provisional road collision statistics for 2017, published by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) following an analysis of fatal collision reports supplied by An Garda Síochána, show that there has been a 15% drop in road deaths in 2017 compared to 2016. Up to the December 31, 2017 a total of 158 people lost their lives on Ireland’s roads as a result of 143 fatal crashes, compared to 186 lives lost in 174 fatal crashes in 2016. This represents 28 fewer fatalities or a 15% drop in deaths and 31 fewer fatal crashes or an 18% drop in fatal crashes. 2017 was also be the safest year on Ireland’s roads since road deaths were first recorded in 1959. Previously, 2015 (with 162 deaths) was the safest year on record. Mr Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism observed, “It is very encouraging to see that we have reversed the upward trend in road deaths witnessed in 2016. The combined focus on improved …

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New year pledge for BreastCheck

Councillor Mary Howard is asking the women of County Clare to make a potentially life-saving new year’s resolution by attending BreastCheck appointments when called. Councillor Howard recently attended BreastCheck in Ennis and noted the poor turnout of people who had appointments to attend the service. She said the poor attendance raises questions over the sustainability of the BreastCheck service in the town, something which was hard fought to introduce in 2010. “The five appointments prior to me never showed up. I was talking to the nurse after my appointment and I realised the next person hadn’t come in either,” Councillor Howard noted. She later learned that out of 45 appointments that day, only 12 showed up and as recently as Friday, December 22, only half of the scheduled appointments turned up for screening. Councillor Howard outlined that while she was at the service, an unexpected visitor came into the BreastCheck team. “While I was there, a lady came in to …

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New Year’s Day message from Bishop Fintan Monahan

There is something so great and so welcome about new things. Their sense of novelty, freshness and difference is much appreciated by us all. This day with joy and anticipation we greet the new year that is 2018 in all its newness and hope of opportunity and possiblity and dreams and blessing and peace. Past and Future Last night new years eve was a time for looking back on the year gone past with gratitude in our hearts for the good times and challenges that we had in 2017. Today however, we look forward with anticipation to the new year and pray that God will journey side by side with us and grant us and those in need good fortune. Homeless, unborn and families I remember in prayer three distinct groups in need of our prayer and concrete action in these challenging times, the homeless, the unborn and families. We are privileged in Ireland to be hosting the World Meeting …

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Retailers celebrate a fruitful Christmas

WITH the economy apparently thriving, Christmas was quite positive for local retailers. On Wednesday morning as they reopened their doors, several traders told The Clare Champion things had gone well. Although Christmas Eve hadn’t been particularly hectic, busy earlier trading had more than made up for that, said Patrick Bourke. “We had two record days, the Friday and Saturday, December 22 and 23. The busiest days in a long, long time. That helped matters and it was part of the reason why Christmas Eve was back a bit, there was so much spent on the Friday and Saturday.” His store in Kilrush performed well, he said. “Kilrush had a very good Christmas. It came later in Kilrush than it did in Ennis but it turned out well, there is no doubt about that. This year, the emigrant factor wasn’t quite as noticeable as other years. We had the wedding end of it alright, with a lot of people back for …

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University Hospital Limerick.

‘Mind-boggling’ to overlook 96 beds

THE failure of the Health Service Executive (HSE) to even mention the provision of a new 96-bed block at University Hospital Limerick in its capital projects plans for 2018 has been described as “mind-boggling” by a Clare TD. Commenting on the publication of the HSE 2018 Service Plan, Deputy Timmy Dooley has expressed his disappointment with the fact there is no reference to the long-awaited new project at UHL under its capital infrastructure section. The only reference to capital projects for UHL concerns the redevelopment of the old emergency department (ED), which the plan states will be completed next year and will be fully operational by the first quarter of 2019. A UL Hospitals’ Group spokesman stated the development of the 96-bed block at UHL has been approved in principle by the HSE, subject to the normal conditions for such public works and subject to future capital funding availability. The spokesman outlined that the first stage of the process is …

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Christmas greeting from Bishop Fintan Monahan

The festive season of Christmas is a time to look back at the events and happenings of the year just gone by and reflect on what has been. We look back, savour and enjoy the good times while acknowledging the difficult times as well. A Time to look out for others Christmas is a time that we become aware of those less well-off, less fortunate than ourselves. It is a time when we do our best to reach out to others with care, with concern, with Christian love. We remember those less fortunate than ourselves. Unfortunately, homelessness has reached almost epidemic proportions in our country and county and we continue to do what we can in order to alleviate that situation and fight poverty in any way. Solidarity with people who have endured loss Thoughts and prayers go also to the many people who have lost their lives as a result of tragedies on our roads, on our waterways, those …

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