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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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Phoenix sisters connect through art

CLARE artists with disabilities are being encouraged to speak out and express themselves using a voice of their own as part of an international competition. Each year Phoenix Sister Cities, which includes Ennis, host a competition for artists with disabilities. The genesis of the competition is to offer recognition to artists who have gone beyond their disability and utilised their creative talents to promote global understanding of disabilities. Art and photography are submitted by local artists in Arizona and from Phoenix’s 10 sister cities around the world. For 2015, there were a number of entries from County Clare-based artists, as Ennis is twined with Phoenix since 1988. Of these entries, four were award-winners under the theme of ‘A Voice Of Our Own!’ Local woman Theresa Davoren came in third place in her category and she was also presented with a cheque for €150. Awards were also given to Chime Browne, James Hehir and Gerard Arthur. Councillor Mary Howard, deputy mayor …

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Fire sparks warning on electrical goods

The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) is warning consumers to be extremely careful when buying and using electrical products. It comes after a fire broke out in an apartment in Islandbridge, Dublin last night (Wednesday). A charger left on a bed overheated and burst into flames, causing extensive damage. “Everyone knows the rules of basic fire safety and indeed many look out for safety standards, such as the CE Mark, when buying electrical products. However, although the device may be manufactured to the correct safety standards, it can still become very dangerous, very quickly, if not used in the appropriate environment,” warned Pat Bracken, NSAI’s director of corporate services. “Electrical products like hair straighteners, hairdryers, laptops and phone chargers can be incredibly dangerous if left on beds or sofas. Although duvets and quilts often undergo flammability tests, accidents like this can still occur,” he added. Between 2005 and 2014, there have been 326 fatal fires in Ireland, claiming the …

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