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Quiet fair day in Kilrush

MONDAY’S Kilrush Horse Fair attracted less than 15 traders to the town. Those who made it to the town, which has hosted fairs for generations, huddled on both sides of Frances Street, while a few ponies could be heard whinnying around the corner in the town square. On a bitingly cold March afternoon, the stallholders did scant business.

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Indian focus on Banner County

CLARE is set to be the focus of a programme on a popular business news TV station in India, ET Now.

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Pursuing research into ovarian cancer

BREAKTHROUGH Cancer Research has launched a fundraising drive to support three new ovarian cancer research projects.  The campaign coincides with Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.As the fourth most common cancer in Ireland, with an average of 376 new cases every year, ovarian cancer kills more than 267 of these women within five years, because of a lack of treatment options.  It is one of the most stubbornly resistant cancers to the advances of modern medicine like chemotherapy. Because of this, sadly, more than seven out of every 10 women diagnosed do not survive. Commenting on the appeal, Orla Dolan from Breakthrough Cancer Research said, “Our researchers are close to a number of breakthroughs that will revolutionise the way ovarian cancer is treated – treatment options that are specifically designed to attack chemo-resistant strains of ovarian cancer. But the simple fact is that we will not succeed in achieving any of this without an urgent injection of research funding. We are imploring …

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Blarney Castle gardener joins festival line-up

THE head gardener at Blarney Castle has been announced as the latest high-profile speaker confirmed to appear at this year’s Clare Garden Festival.Adam Whitbourn will join other speakers including Clare’s organic guru Jim Cronin, GIY patron Klaus Laitenberger and plantsman and RHS tutor Ciarán Burke at the festival to be held at the Ennis Showgrounds in April. The theme this year fitting to the Gathering is Going back to your roots! with all areas of gardening set to be covered.Adam, a trained horticulturalist from Askham Bryan college, York, England, took on the role as head gardener at Blarney Castle in 2009 and has overseen the transformation of the gardens into a must-see destination for anyone with a passion for horticulture, having featured in Irish Garden magazine and The English Garden magazine. “I am excited to visit Clare and be part of what is promising to be a great festival with an amazing line-up of speakers and exhibitors. It will be …

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Following in the footsteps of the Fisherman

There is great human interest in the election of a Pope; so much is expected of the man who emerges from behind the heavy red curtains, onto the balcony of St Peter’s. Almost immediately, his gestures and his words are weighed and considered and within hours, millions of people know him by his new name. The Friars in Ennis were watching the moment the cardinal deacon told the world that the new pope’s name was Francis. Francis!That name evokes so much in every Franciscan friar. Within minutes, the crowds in St Peter’s Square were chanting “Francesco, Francesco”. In time our newly elected pope will probably explain exactly why he chose a name that no other pope in history has taken. I’m sure he has very personal reasons for the choice. In Italy, St Francis of Assisi is loved in a unique way. Of course, there are a few saints named Francis, including St Francis Xavier, the great Jesuit missionary, but …

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Pope Francis faces a huge task in focusing his Church

  Like the election of Barack Obama when, for the first time one felt hopeful that the world was finding a fresh, more inclusive language, Pope Francis also fascinates within and without Roman Catholicism. Most immediately, the signs are encouraging: taking the name of the iconic servant figure of Francis with his commitment to the poor and as a Jesuit and bishop, his concern for social justice in testing times within turbulent Argentina. (We pray his record there will stand the light).We all have a stake in the Bishop of Rome as the significant figure in world Christianity. We must be united – the wide spectrum of believers under the so-called Protestant umbrella and Roman Catholics. Some of the former are not afraid to value the term Catholic or catholic, meaning universal and therefore are eager to share it with the universal Church of Rome. Others in their spiritual pilgrimage are less acquainted with and enthused by the concept. But …

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Centra stores get top marks for hygiene

FOUR Centra stores in Clare are celebrating after receiving the Supreme National Hygiene Award from Martin Kelleher, managing director of Centra, and Irene Collins, managing director, Excellence Ireland at the 2013 Centra Quality Awards in Killarney recently. The Supreme Hygiene Award identifies and rewards retailers that have performed to a consistently high level over a three-year period.The four Clare stores that were presented with the prestigious award were Lynch’s Centra, Gort Road, Ennis; Ryan’s Centra, Clonroadmore, Ennis; Donnellan’s Centra, Loughville, Ennis and Rodgers’ Centra, Scariff.A further six Clare stores – Deasy’s Centra, Clarecastle; Michael’s Centra, Kildysart; Johnston’s Centra, Kilmihil; Jones’ Centra, Miltown Malbay; Crowe’s Centra in Sixmilebridge and O’Keeffe’s Centra, Tulla Road – were also presented with the Excellence Ireland National Hygiene and Food Safety Certificate, which is independent verification of the highest standards of operational hygiene and food safety in the food sector business.A total of 343 Centra stores in the Republic of Ireland have achieved the much coveted …

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Vigilance urged despite drop in wildfires

CLARE County Council has warned of the dangers and legal implications surrounding both backyard burning and uncontrolled burning of bog and gorse fires in the county.The timely reminder to the public coincides with the promotion of their annual public information campaign and the release of new figures, which show a sharp decrease in the number of forest, bog and gorse fires attended by the Clare Fire and Rescue Service over the past two years.The Clare County Fire and Rescue Service attended 31 forest, bog and gorse fires last year, which represented a 90% decrease when compared to the high of 262 call-outs in 2010.  The number of call-outs to forest, bog and gorse fires recorded in 2012 is also a significant decrease on the 76 call-outs that took place the previous year.Mayor of Clare, Councillor Pat Daly has emphasised the need for householders and landowners to be vigilant and conscious of their obligations under current environmental legislation.“The burning of waste, …

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