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Protecting freedom of speech

AN Iranian author whose family fled from persecution before settling in Ennis seven years ago, will be giving away ‘Je Suis Charlie’ t-shirts near the O’Connell Monument from 12 to 1pm this Saturday. The move is in response to the heinous murders of the staff of Charlie Hebdo magazine and their police protectors in Paris on January 7. Friends Hassan Faramarz and Kevin Quinlan, who are passionate in their desire to protect freedom of speech, which they believe is under threat, had hoped to sell the t-shirts cheaply to recover their costs but, without a licence, they have decided to give them away and to hope for donations. The friends will, “make a little bit of noise, hang around and make fools of ourselves”, while waving a larger than life pen inscribed with the words, ‘Ink not Blood’, said Kevin. For both men though, this is a deadly serious matter. “I come from Iran and I have already lost a …

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Stamp marks historic Stormont meeting

The 50th Anniversary of an historic meeting between then Taoiseach, Sean Lemass and the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Terence O’Neill is marked today (Thursday) with the release, by An Post, of a commemorative stamp. The groundbreaking meeting took place in utmost secrecy in January 1965 and marked the first invitation to an Irish taoiseach to take part in official talks with the Northern Ireland prime minister. The event was a brave venture in North-South relations and began a thaw in relations between the two states. A return visit took place in Dublin in February of that year. The 68c stamp, designed by Red&Grey Design of Dublin, features an image of O’Neil and Lemass outside Government Buildings at Stormont. The stamp can be purchased, along with a special First Day Cover at leading post offices, at the stamp shop in Dublin’s GPO or online at www.irishstamps.ie. Sean Lemass (1899 – 1971) was taoiseach from 1959 until 1966 and one of …

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Felipe Massa visits Shannon

Formula One driver, Felipe Massa will create lots of excitement when he visits Genworth Financial’s International Business Centre in Shannon on this Thursday afternoon. The Williams Martini team star will take time out of his hectic pre-season schedule to visit over 400 staff at Genworth’s Shannon site. Following a tour of the new state-of-the-art workplace, located in Westpark business campus, members of the media along with Genworth staff will have the opportunity to attend a question and answer session with Felipe Massa before the driver shows off his skills on a FORMULA 1 simulato

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New Intreo Centre in Ennis

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection, with special responsibility for Employment, Community and Social Support, Kevin Humphreys, will officially open the department ‘s newly established Intreo Centre at Government Buildings in Ennis on this Thursday. With the amalgamation of employment services, employment programmes, community welfare services and staff from other agencies and the Department of Social Protection, considerable work has been undertaken to develop an integrated service which reflects and addresses the individual needs of the department’s customers, particularly jobseekers. The enhanced service now available in Ennis for the people of County Clare provides employment and income supports in one place and offers a personalised employment advice, guidance and support service that is targeted to the individual needs of the customer.

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Killaloe students raise €11,000 for Missionvale trip

A GROUP of students from St Anne’s Secondary School have raised almost €11,000 for their charity trip to South Africa later this month. Under the stewardship of teacher Brendan O’Brien, four fourth year students are making final preparations for their trip to the Missionvale Township. The group, which includes Mr O’Brien, Emma Collins, Ballina; Ben King, Ballina; Emer Mooney, Ogonnelloe and Michael O’Shea, Bridgetown, leave for Missionvale Township, Port Elizabeth, on Saturday, January 24. They will return on Wednesday, February 4. The total funds raised, to date, after a concert they held and other donations, is €10,866. The group has also begun an appeal for unused or unwanted Christmas wrapping paper and plastic shopping bags. Each year, on December 15, which is Fr Christmas Day, 8,000 children in the Missionvale Township receive Christmas parcels from Fr Christmas, and, as this is a huge undertaking, it has to be planned in advance. As the group will also be involved in this …

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Volunteers clock up over 8,500 hours

LAST year saw an increase of volunteer registrations with the Clare Volunteer Centre, bringing the total number of volunteers registered to more than 1,400 people, who contributed over 8,563 hours to the local community – up from 7,949 in 2013. These volunteers are only a small fraction of the estimated 41% of Irish people who volunteered in 2014. Of the volunteers who signed up in 2014, the most popular areas of interest were befriending/mentoring, retail and teaching/tutoring. The most popular reasons for wanting to volunteer were, to assist career/employment prospects and to make a difference in the community. Nearly two-thirds of the volunteers who signed up with the Clare Volunteer Centre last year had never volunteered before and more than 160 community and voluntary organisations are now registered with Clare Volunteer Centre. Commenting on 2014, Sharon Meaney, manager with the Clare Volunteer Centre, said, “Every year, we are delighted to see the registration figures for the Clare Volunteer Centre increasing. …

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Killaloe – the ‘Kinsale of the region’

RESIDENTIAL property sales clinched almost €15 million for home owners in South-East Clare last year, official figures have revealed. Some of the highest prices for homes were realised in Killaloe, Ogonnelloe and Broadford, where a stunning period house and lands netted almost €1 million, according to the Residential Property Price Register. “Killaloe is regarded as the Kinsale of the region. People aspire to come and live years over the years. Killaloe is a popular location for people who move into the area and can still travel a relatively short distance to work in Limerick, Shannon or Nenagh,” said John Phelan of Harry Brann Auctioneers. Even though the start of the year is usually considered to be a quiet period for auctioneers and property transactions, February 2014 proved to be an exceptional month, with total sales in South-East Clare netting an impressive €2.116 million. This compares with residential property deals worth €717,500 in January and €632,000 in March. Top of the …

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‘Irish Muslims have not been spared’

A WEST Clare Muslim convert has described last week’s murder of 12 people in an attack on the offices of a French satirical magazine as “an evil, cowardly and barbaric act”. It was reported that Al-Qaeda in Yemen has claimed responsibility for planning and funding the Charlie Hebdo massacre in revenge for ridiculing Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. As the number of Muslim converts in Ireland grows, one Quilty man, who converted to Islam nearly a decade ago, believes the voice of Irish Muslims is missing from the discussion on the rise of extremism. Last week’s attacks in Paris were condemned by Christopher (Yusuf) Pender, who believes such incidents only serve to diminish the reputation of Muslims and do nothing to spread the message of the Prophet Muhammad and the Qur’an. Yusuf also compared what he sees as a creeping increase in Islamophobia here with the treatment of Irish people in Britain during the Troubles. “My father lived in London in the …

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