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Breaking News

Freak accident in Kilkee

An investigation is being carried out at the scene of  a freak traffic accident at Kilkee beach around 3pm this afternoon. It is understood property was being got from a parked car, when it rolled down steps at the car park near the lifeboat station end of the prom. While the seafront and beach was packed, nobody was reported to be injured. The front of the car hit the sand and it remained balanced on the last step. The tide was out at the time but was on the turn. An effort was immediately put in place to recover the car. Kilrush gardaí attended the scene.    

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In search of bats

A bat talk and outdoor walk hosted by Bat Conservation Ireland and supported by Clare County Council will take place in Ennis this Thursday from 8pm to 10pm. The event forms part of efforts by John Curtin of Bat Conservation Ireland to recruit volunteers for BATLAS 2020. The group is resurveying the entire island of Ireland 10 years on from BATLAS 2010 to record the changing distribution of Ireland’s common bat species. Persons with previous experience surveying bats are particularly invited to attend Thursday evening’s event at the Civic Room, Drumbiggle, Ennis. Anyone interested in attending is asked to email info@batconservationireland.

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How to keep churches open

ARISING from the announcement of diocesan changes by the Bishop of Killaloe, the diocese has confirmed that the Church is not about closing the doors of churches but that a conversation needs to be had about keeping them open. After the bishop’s appointments this week, Rev Ger Nash, diocesan secretary said, “We are not closing churches. Down the line, who knows. Big questions have to be asked and will be asked about how we keep our churches open. Every community wants to keep their churches open but it’s a challenge”. The announcement has detailed the clustering of Quin and Tulla parishes with Ennis for the time being. The changes arise from the appointment of Fr Ignatius McCormack as principal in St Flannan’s College and the retirement of Fr Martin O’Brien in Tulla. Rev Nash outlined that the population has “become hugely skewed” within the diocese. While the diocese caters to all parishes, the clustering is deemed necessary due to depopulation …

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Helping east Africa food appeal

Special collections will take place at all masses across County Clare at the weekend, as part of a national appeal to help people caught up in the current food crisis in east Africa. Trócaire executive director Éamonn Meehan, from Kilmaley, has urged people to get behind the appeal and support the agency’s efforts to save lives in the affected areas. 25 million people in east Africa are facing starvation in the coming months and millions could die unless they receive immediate assistance. Severe drought, driven by climate change, is currently affecting Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia and this has resulted in failed harvests and the widespread death of livestock. The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference has called for a national church collection to support Trócaire’s work in the region. “With the failure of successive rains and a prolonged drought having taken hold of the region, just surviving has now become the main challenge facing the people of east Africa,” Éamons …

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Planning granted for solar energy farm

Clare could become the first county in Ireland to generate electricity from solar energy following the granting of planning permission to Terra Solar to develop and operate the company’s second solar farm in Firgrove, Sixmilebridge. Construction on the Terra project is expected to commence mid next year, creating 60 jobs during the 12 week build. The Irish company also received planning permission earlier this year for another solar farm located in Ballymorris near Cratloe. Both solar farms are similar in size and between them will generate enough electricity from the sun to power nearly 2,500 homes in the county. Solar power is regarded as one of the cleanest sources of energy and has minimal impact on the environment as it does not emit pollution during production or consumption. The farms will remove nearly 3,600 tonnes of carbon emissions from the atmosphere, helping Clare County Council in its work towards meeting the national target of generating 40% of energy used from …

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Glór’s €250k grant should not be a ‘crutch’

Clare County Council’s €250,000 annual grant to the Glór should not become a financial “crutch to lean on” over the coming years, a local councillor has warned. The comment was made as councillors agreed to extend the five-year lease for the use of the building to 15 years, for a nominal sum of €1, at a meeting this week. Acknowledging the provision of an annual subsidy of €250,000 is an “ongoing cost”, chief executive officer Pat Dowling said the authority is looking at ways to make the facility more economically sustainable. He added that the authority would also be examining governance issues. While Glór plays an important role in the cultural life of Clare, Mr Dowling stressed it is vital that the council ensure the facility is sustainable. He explained the lease is being extended to allow the facility, which has been in operation since 2001, to draw down extra funding. Councillor Gerry Flynn said he was aware that Glór …

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Donal Óg distances himself from ‘letter of support’

Clare senior hurling coach Donal Óg Cusack has distanced himself from a “letter of support” he had written, which was then submitted by a company to try to secure planning permission for an unauthorised sports facility in South-East Clare. The Clare Champion can exclusively reveal that Mr Cusack was not asked for his consent for the inclusion of a recommendation letter to support a retention planning application that was submitted to Clare County Council. Up to 100 residents have criticised the use of this unauthorised facility by Clare GAA in a comprehensive objection submitted to the council. A petition, signed by 102 residents opposing the planning retention, was sent to the local authority. Gillogue Residents’ Association (GRA) chairperson, Jim Upton, stated in a letter to the council, “We are sure community groups, the GAA and Donal Óg Cusack would be delighted to endorse an authorised development in a unique vast indoor facility, available nowhere else in the county”. Clare senior …

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Protection from Brexit vital

The Government must protect jobs in the Mid-West from the worst impacts of Brexit, Ennis Councillor Johnny Flynn has stressed. “The UK withdrawal from Europe places Irish jobs at risk; we have already seen due to the fall in value of sterling that there is a significant drop in tourists from UK. With tourism responsible for one of seven jobs in Clare I am concerned of the impact that that any plans to increase the VAT rate from 9% on tourism spend might have in Ennis and Clare.” Clare and Ennis was very badly affected by the economic collapse in 2008 with huge increase in people signing on due to job losses. By 2012 there were 10,493 people unemployed in Clare, that figure is now 6075. The number of people signing on the Live Register in Ennis district alone has dropped by 2028 from 5859 to 3389 since 2012, Mr Flynn has learned.This news comes as the CSO revealed the …

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