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Breaking News

Clare Champion office remains closed on Monday

  The Clare Champion office will remain closed on Monday in the wake of safety advice issued for Hurricane Ophelia. This decision was taken on Sunday night for safety reasons, following a more severe weather warning issued by Met Eireann. All editorial copy can still be forwarded to editor@clarechampion.ie while all advertising should be emailed to sales@clarechampion.ie The advertising deadline has been extended to facilitate the receipt of all advertising up to this Tuesday at 5pm. Management has urged people to follow all safety advice issued by Clare County Council, the HSE and emergency services.

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Banner on red alert over Hurricane Ophelia

  Clare remains on red alert as emergency services finalise preparations for the impact of Hurricane Ophelia. Mean wind speeds in excess of 80 kilometres per hour and gusts in excess of 130 kilometres per hour are expected, potentially causing structural damage and disruption, with dangerous marine conditions due to high seas and potential flooding. Hurricane conditions may last until midnight, according to the weather forecast. Gale-force winds are expected to begin across southern parts by early Monday morning and gradually spread northwards across the country during the day. Hurricane-force winds are expected to reach southern coastal counties by late Monday morning with storm force winds spreading inland and northwards across the country during Monday. Preparations to protect lives and property should be taken if possible. Wind speeds atop and on the windward sides of hills and mountains are often up to 30 percent stronger than the near-surface winds indicated in weather arnings and in some elevated locations could be …

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HSE cancels non essential services for safety reasons

    The Mid-West HSE Community Healthcare Department has decided to cancel all non essential community healthcare services scheduled for Monday due to Hurricane Ophelia. In a statement issued on Monday morning, the health authority confirmed all non emergency healthcare will not operate  on Monday and the majority of its local buildings are closed. All residential and emergency services will operate as normal and to the best of the authority’s capability in the expected storm force conditions.   Staff colleagues at the UL Hospitals’ Group have restricted all services to emergency with ED and Local Injury Units operating.  Ambulance services are as normal for emergency work. The group  has cancelled all outpatient appointments, day surgery and elective procedures in University Hospital Limerick, University Maternity Hospital Limerick, Nenagh Hospital, Ennis Hospital, Croom Orthopaedic Hospital and St John’s Hospital on Monday. Patients are advised not to travel to the hospitals unless absolutely necessary. All patients whose appointments have been cancelled will be contacted to …

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free stalls proposed to revive Ennis Market

A proposal to offer stalls for free at the controversial covered market in Ennis has got the backing of members of Ennis Municipal District, with calls for the much maligned development to become a “gold elephant”. Councillor James Breen has suggested that traders be encouraged to use the €1.75 million Ennis Market, with 12 months’ rent free. He said councillors are “getting it in the neck from every part of the county about the white elephant. Why not turn it into a gold elephant?” Councillor Breen continued, “It’s time we did something to make the market work. It’s not working at the moment and we all know it’s not working. We need a small bit of imagination.” Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Paul Murphy acknowledged that there are “a lot of bad vibes out there” about the market development. Councillor Johnny Flynn suggested that Ennis’ ratepayers, such as clothing shops, food producers and speciality shops, could use the spaces for free …

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‘shock’ at €1.34 million Cliffs bus park plan

KILKEE-based tourism consultant and former chairperson of Loop Head Tourism, Cillian Murphy, has expressed “shock and disappointment” at news this week of Clare County Council’s plans to build a €1.34 million coach park at the Cliffs of Moher. “It completely reinforces our position as the pre-eminent drive-through tourism destination. It is utterly short-sighted and ties the area into a long-term policy. All over the world, tourism destinations are trying to manage capacity issues, yet Clare is bucking the trend and delivering facilities that will encourage further management issues,” he claimed. “I suggest that this money could deliver most, if not all, of a greenway between Kilrush and Kilkee, a development that would deliver social, economic and environmental benefits across the wider West Clare area. Instead, we have yet another development that facilitates external operators, in effect, paid for by Clare rates payers. “Did the councillors vote this through? What is the justification of doing this, what problem is it resolving, …

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Stockton’s Wing ‘humbled’ by civic reception marking 40 years of music

GLOWING tributes to the contribution made by Stockton’s Wing to Irish and folk music in Ireland and abroad were paid during a civic reception on Monday night. Past and present members of Stockton’s Wing, which was formed in Ennis in 1977, gathered at Áras Contae an Chláir along with elected members, council officials, special guests from the world of music and entertainment, family and friends. On behalf of the group, Mike Hanrahan said the band were “humbled and delighted” to be recognised in such a tremendous way in their own county. He said the band was accepting the award on behalf of their families and all the countless people who supported them over the last 40 years. He recalled ditching his books in the River Fergus after the school holidays and heading up to Doolin in a car with his brother Kieran and Paul Roche, where they discovered a whole new world of musicians, poets, dancers, “chancers, lovers and dreamers”. …

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council advises schools to close over Hurricane Ophelia

  Clare’s principal emergency response agencies are advising schools to close and members of the public and services providers to avoid any non-urgent travel during Monday due to the Red Alert weather warning in place. The appeal has been issued following a meeting of the Inter Agency Co-ordination group in Ennis on Sunday morning. Clare County Council, An Garda Síochána and the HSE have discussed the necessary plans for responding to the Status Red weather warning.   The response is based on learning from previous adverse weather events. The agencies have expressed particular concern that the public would take every precaution to avoid unnecessary travel and take heed of ongoing updates from Met Éireann and Government agencies.  Hurricane Ophelia is expected to transition to a post tropical storm as it approaches Ireland on Monday bringing severe winds and stormy conditions. Mean wind speeds in excess of 80 km/h and gusts in excess of 130km/h are expected, potentially causing structural damage …

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Shannon Airport stragegy up for discussion

Minister of State with special responsibility for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen, is to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Transport Shane Ross to discuss the future sustainability of economically strategic connections in and out of Shannon Airport. It comes in the wake of the loss of the United Airlines’ Shannon-Chicago route from next year. “Having worked very closely with the airport in attracting Air Canada to Shannon, I am aware of the time and work that goes into securing such an important business and tourism air link. In the wake of the Chicago flights, I am also painfully aware of how quickly connectivity can be lost,” he said. On the same issue, Deputy Timmy Dooley has said that the independence gained by Shannon Airport from Dublin Airport Authority in December 2012 is not panning out as expected. “Shannon is competing with Dublin Airport and that’s one of the reasons why …

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