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Breaking News

‘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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‘every parent’s worst nightmare’

A verdict of accidental death was returned at the inquest into the death of a 15-year-old boy in Killimer at Clare’s Coroner’s Court this week. Described as “every parent’s worst nightmare” by County Coroner Isobel O’Dea, the jury heard how Kevin Donnellan, of Ballycurrane, Knock spent his last few hours with a friend at “his favourite place” – Killimer Ferry. The tragic events that unfolded, after the consumption of a significant amount of alcohol for a boy of his age, has had devastating consequences for his family and for the woman who accidentally caused his death. The court heard that Kevin left his home on Hallowe’en night, 2016 to meet a close friend near Burrane National School. His friend outlined that Kevin had brought a litre bottle of vodka, which was half full and hip flasks also containing vodka. They arrived at the school around 1.40am and decided to walk towards the ferry, which was “Kevin’s favourite place”. His friend …

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youth group set the seed for hope

MEMBERS of a youth choir will set the seed for hope in churches this weekend, to create public awareness of children who are experiencing a difficult time. The young people of Londubh Youth Choir and Celtic Ensemble have chosen lavender, a healing and native plant, to place in churches in Clarecastle, Ballyea, Ennis, Quin, Roslevan and Shannon. They will also present symbols of hope, love, courage, friendship and knowledge, which were made recently for the Youth Helps Youth project at these churches this weekend. They will team the symbols with encouraging quotes put together by the youth, such as ‘A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself’, ‘Don’t lose hope, you’ll never know what tomorrow will bring’ and ‘Once you choose hope, anything is possible’. These will be placed around the lavender plant, along with a healing prayer during the launch. The lavender plant is a symbol of growth, nature and the healing that will take …

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Doonbeg farmland ‘under threat’

DONALD Trump may be a divisive figure but efforts must be made to protect the dunes of Doonbeg, while nearby farmlands remain “under threat” from flooding. William Hanrahan, IFA county chairman, told the monthly meeting of Clare County Council that flood protection is a major issue for the county, with the IFA “intensively” lobbying the OPW and government departments for funding to complete outstanding works. “In some areas, planning permission is required and IFA would urge Clare County Council to wholeheartedly support these projects, whether it is on the banks of the Shannon or the Atlantic coast,” he said. He recalled that after the major storms of 2014, “vast areas of farmland were covered with water”. “If they are covered for some time, the whole area turns black and production is non-existent.” Mr Hanrahan said that the land at the back of the dunes at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland in Doonbeg is “vulnerable”. “It’s over sea …

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‘challenging’ turnover in fire services personnel

THE brain drain from the county’s fire services could lead to a  situation where “inexperienced” fire personnel are attending fires, it has been claimed. The assertion was made by Councillor Ian Lynch after it emerged that 22 personnel have left the fire brigade in the county over the past three years. Chief Fire Officer, Adrian Kelly described the loss of staff as “a larger than normal turnover in personnel” and something that creates challenges for Clare County Council. The information was disclosed on foot of a motion raised by Councillors Johnny Flynn, Gerry Flynn, Christy Curtin, Michael Begley, PJ Kelly and Ian Lynch at Monday’s local authority meeting. They had looked for a report into the sustainability of the retained mfirefighter model. In his response, Adrian Kelly outlined that of those that had left the service, six retired on medical grounds, four retired having reached retirement age, two took up promotional posts with other fire authorities, four took up other …

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