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Dress to impress in the Dáil

Mick Wallace, Richard Boyd Barrett and a couple of other outgoing TDs, if re-elected, could well face another drive to oblige them to wear ties in the Dáil chamber. Senator Lorraine Higgins has called for an Oireachtas dress code to be introduced following General Election 2016. The Galway senator said, “It is unacceptable that members of Dáil and Seanad Éireann would enter the chambers of our national parliament dressed in unsuitable attire.” She noted in 2011, the Oireachtas Committee on Procedures and Privileges drafted a proposal requesting TDs and Senators wear ‘appropriate business attire’ in their function as legislators. “This has clearly not been heeded and a small cohort of deputies continue to dress in an unprofessional manner, unbefitting of our national parliament. ‘’I am calling today on the Taoiseach and Ceann Comhairle to meet prior to the formation of the next Dáil with a view to agreeing a set of rules governing the standards of dress acceptable so that incumbent members of the Oireachtas know what to expect.” she said. “I have always taken my position …

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Students’ union campaign on STIs

The Union of Students in Ireland has launched its SHAG week campaign across the country in six different colleges today (Monday). The campaign, at NUIG, NCI, IT Carlow, GMIT, DKIT and IADT, has two key messages – to get tested and to ask for consent. This follows a survey, published last December, showed an increase of sexually transmitted inifections (STIs) in Ireland by 4% and the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre reported an increase in rapes and sexual assaults. The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre said the victims of recent rape and sexual assault went up to 303 in 2015, from 221 in 2014, but only one in 10 are reported. This figure is only for the Rotunda hospital where the sexual assault treatment unit (SATU) is located which covers the Dublin and Leinster area. There are five other units in the country – Cork, Galway, Donegal, Limerick and Mullingar. The report showing the increase in STIs in Ireland was published by …

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Turnpike memorabilia sought for new book

A FINAL appeal for memories of the Turnpike has been made by Flan Hehir from McNamara Park, who has been working in recent months on compiling a new book exploring the history of the area. Flan’s new publication will explore the history of the old and new Turnpike area. The book is being produced in conjunction with Clare Roots Society. Last year, the partnership, in conjunction with the residents of McNamara Park, produced a booklet to mark the 50th anniversary of the first replacement houses to the Old Turnpike. Flan has been carrying out research over the last 18 months, travelling the town and country, collecting memories and photographs of the houses and tales of former residents. While his extensive research has uncovered many interesting stories, he is urging anyone with any information they feel could be useful in the book to contact him. “The current appeal is for contributions of photographs, documents, invoices and memorabilia of all kinds associated …

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Mental health centre faces closure

AN Ennis mental health support centre is on the brink of closure unless funding can be secured. An extraordinary general meeting takes place in Emotions Peer Support Centre on Monday at 12 noon to see if funding can be secured to save the facility. Since the centre opened in May 2012, it has had 7,200 visits from people seeking support from volunteers. It costs about €18,500 to run the centre annually, which pays for expenses including rent, electricity and other items. Liam Minogue of Emotions Peer Support said the centre has been a huge success. He said the HSE staff have participated in a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) Peer Support Group workshop at the centre, which could be provided for clients in day facilities run by the HSE in Ennis, Shannon, Lisdoonvarna, Ennistymon and Kilrush. He said the drop-in centre had provided a vital lifeline for hundreds of people experiencing mental health or psychological difficulties. Stating that closing the …

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Shannon support for single fathers

SHANNON Family Resource Centre (SFRC) is hosting a new support group for fathers who are living apart from their children. A spokesperson for SFRC said, “It’s just two weeks old, it’s very new. It came from the community, a request was made here. A couple of fathers were talking to each other, looking for a space where they could share information and offer support to each other. That’s how the idea came about – local lads met and they are still meeting.” Speaking about the issues that are being dealt with in the group, the spokesperson explained, “Basically, the fathers are not with the mothers of the children and it’s been about custody and things like that. It’s really a group for dads, who feel they don’t have a voice particularly around shared care.” As time goes by, the group will go in the direction that those involved want it to. “It has to be what they want in a …

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Fears for estuary dolphins’ health

ALTHOUGH a report published by the Zoological Society in London has found that the effect of pollution on bottlenose dolphins in the Shannon Estuary is the lowest in Europe, Dr Simon Berrow of the Kilrush-based Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has expressed alarm at the level of pollution in the estuary. Levels are above the toxic threshold thought to impact on bottlenose dolphins’ health and reproduction. Information collected by the IWDG in Irish waters fed into the research led by Dr Paul Jepson of the Zoological Society. Dr Berrow, project manager with the IWDG and lecturer in applied freshwater and marine biology at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, was one of the co-authors in the study. “We provided samples from bottlenose dolphins in the Shannon Estuary for the study and, although concentrations in the Shannon dolphins were the lowest in Europe, the levels were still well above the toxicity threshold, which leads to serious impacts,” Dr Berrow said, adding that …

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Council to close Westbury area office

Clare County Council will close the Westbury Area Office in southeast Clare when the present lease expires next month. The closure will not result in any job losses as staff working in Westbury will be redeployed to other positions in the council. The decision not to renew the lease follows an examination of the level of activities at the Area Office which has identified that in 2015 the majority of the contacts, either through personal callers or telephone calls, were in relation to motor tax transactions and primarily to renew motor tax online. Excluding motor tax, a total of 400 contacts were made with the office throughout 2015. This equates to less than 10 contacts per week. The council said it is “conscious that with advances in phone technology in particular, access to online facilities is now much greater than when online access facilities were initiated at the office. An increasing number of people are renewing motor tax on-line in …

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Clare Association honours Willie Keane

AN insight into what drives an athlete to shine at national and international level was afforded to members of the Clare Association in Dublin and their friends at the weekend. At the association’s annual dinner in the Ballsbridge Hotel last Saturday night, Kilkee athlete Willie Keane, who was presented with the association’s Clare Person of the Year award for 2016, explained how being beaten in the All-Ireland Senior Cross Country Championship in 1973 was big turning point in his career. He waited exactly 12 months to turn the tables on Mick Priest, training for 30 consecutive days in hail, rain and snow in the month of January to prepare for the next championship race. In March 1974, he regained his title and, in fact, was not beaten again in a championship race until 1980. He continued to compete for many years after that despite maintaining a heavy work schedule. At times he trained at 7am or 10pm. He rarely felt …

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