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Breaking News

20-25% turnout in Clare by early afternoon

MOST polling stations surveyed by the Clare Champion had seen voter turnout in the region of 20-25% by the early afternoon. Doonbeg led the way with 25% turnout, while in Kilmurry McMahon it was 19% and 22% in Caherea. In Ennis the overall turnout was around 22%, while at St Conaire’s in Shannon it was at 24%. Twenty per cent of the register had voted in Newmarket on Fergus, while the figure was 23% in O’Callaghan’s Mills. The usual post-work increase in voting patterns is expected, as the 151 polling stations throughout the constituency will remain open until 10pm. A total of 83,225 people are eligible to vote in Clare.

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Bathing restored at Whitestrand Doonbeg

  Clare County Council, on the advice of the HSE, has today (Friday lifted restrictions relating to public bathing at Whitestrand Doonbeg. Notices indicating that swimming is prohibited at the beach were originally put in place on Wednesday due to the detection of elevated levels of bacteria (e-coli) in the bathing water. On the advice of the HSE and following analysis of water samples taken on Wednesday and Thursday,the council announced the lifting of all restrictions relating to bathing at Whitestrand Doonbeg. The suspected source of the e-coli is run-off from surrounding land during heavy rainfall on Sunday evening and Monday morning. Clare County Council says bathing water testing protocols will continue throughout the bathing season. Meanwhile, lifeguard cover at Clare’s Blue Flag beaches, including Whitestrand Doonbeg, commences during the June Bank Holiday Weekend. Cover will continue on Saturdays and Sundays during the month of June. There will be full-time time cover at these locations, as well as at Bishops …

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Garda warning on slow down day

Gardaí in Clare detected a motorist driving 52km/h above the speed limit along the N17. The car was found travelling at 152km/h in a 100km/h zone. Details of the speeding detection were released by An Garda Síochána, ahead of a national speed enforcement operation this weekend. The operation, known as Slow Down Day, is supported by the Road Safety Authority and other stakeholders, and will take place for a 24-hour period, from 7am on Friday to 7am on Saturday. The objective of the operation is to reduce the number of speed-related collisions, save lives and reduce injuries on our roads. The aim of Slow Down Day is to remind drivers of the dangers of speeding, increase compliance with speed limits and act as a deterrent to driving at excessive or inappropriate speed. In terms of road safety, 2017 was the lowest on record, with 157 road deaths. Excessive and inappropriate speed is a major contributory factor in road traffic collisions. …

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High fire risk warning for outdoor burning

Clare County Fire and Rescue Service is asking landowners and the general public to refrain from any outdoor burning during the ongoing spell of warm weather. The Department of Agriculture today (Thursday) issued a Condition Orange – High Fire Risk for Forest Fires from 22–30 May. The Fire Service has warned that any outside burning can spread to private and State-owned forestry plantations and jeopardise the safety of dwellings and families living in rural areas.Landowners are being reminded that Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts 1976 to 2012 prohibits the cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction of vegetation, with certain strict exemptions, from March 1 to August 31 during the nesting and breeding season for birds and wildlife. According to Adrian Kelly, Clare chief fire officer, “The highest risk period occurs between ongoing dry spell of weather will do little to reduce this risk.” Commenting on the issue of backyard and uncontrolled burning, Mr Kelly said,“Uncontrolled burning can result in loss …

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Microsemi jobs blast into orbit

THE European Space Agency’s (ESA) next generation of launchers is being made possible with help from an Ennis company. Microsemi has just signed a lucrative multi-million euro contract with the ESA in a move that will lead to job creation for the county capital. Company president, Paul Pickle, travelled from California to Clare this week, where he pledged to continue to invest in the Ennis company. Microsemi has been awarded a €3.2 million contract under the ESA General Support Technical Program (GSTP) to develop a cost-effective integrated motor drive solution for thrust vector control (TVC) in aerospace applications. As part of this expanded development activity in space technology, Microsemi is also collaborating with the Sociétés Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aéronautiques (SABCA), a major European aerospace company. The aim will be to commercialise the product portfolio resulting from the three-year development programme, targeting end-use applications in the VEGA-E space launcher, with the first flight projected in 2024. Shane O’Donnell, senior manager …

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GPs split on the Eight

A SLIGHT majority of Clare GPs are in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment on the eve of Friday’s national referendum. While national opinion polls have shown a lead for the Yes side in the lead-up to the referendum, local GPs are almost equally divided on this question, with 11 in favour and nine against. According to a Clare Champion survey, seven local doctors who responded will be exercising their right to apply a conscientious objection to delivering a termination. It also emerged that of the 20 GPs surveyed, none were consulted by the Health Service Executive or the Department of Health about how terminations will be carried out in their practice. The Minister for Health Simon Harris has consistently stated he would like to see a GP-led service for the termination of pregnancy, if introduced in the country. Eleven GPs who were surveyed agreed with the idea of unrestricted permission to terminate a pregnancy up to 12 weeks, without …

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Peter O’Connell appointed new Clare Champion editor

PETER O’Connell has been appointed as editor of The Clare Champion and will take up the position on Thursday next, May 31. Mr O’Connell succeeds Austin Hobbs, who has held the position since 2006 and will remain on in the newsroom. Mr O’Connell is married with two daughters and lives in his native Kilmurry McMahon. He is a past pupil of Drumdigus National School and Kilrush CBS. His media career began with Midlands Radio in 1996, while he worked at Clare FM from 1999 to 2002, before joining The Clare Champion. In his 16 years as a reporter with The Champion, he has covered both news and sport. Four years ago, Mr O’Connell found himself at the centre of a significant story himself. He and the then Clare hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald clashed publicly in Cusack Park, with the Sixmilebridge man angered by some opinion pieces that had been written by Mr O’Connell. This week, Mr O’Connell said the newspaper …

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National Drowning Prevention Strategy

As temperatures rise and the indications are for good weather ahead, the Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring and Irish Water Safety have launched Ireland’s National Drowning Prevention Strategy. It sets out how Irish Water Safety aims to reduce the number of drownings in Ireland by targeting at-risk groups, particularly children. Announcing the plan, Minister Ring said, “Our waters are an amazing resource yet 133 people on average lose their lives to drowning on them each year. Ireland’s National Drowning Prevention Strategy sets out a clear and achievable vision to halve that number by 2027. “There needs to be greater awareness of the danger that our waters present and on how to prevent drownings. In 2015 there were 122 drownings compared to 165 deaths on the road. However there is far greater public awareness of road safety than of water safety. “We have more than 3,000 km of coastline, over 12,000 lakes and our five longest rivers measure …

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