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Santa’s letter deadline extended

Santa Claus will soon be setting out from the North Pole with his reindeer and sleigh in the direction of Ireland and he wants to know what toys and treats to load up for the children of County Clare. He needs your list pretty soon, as the elves have to put the finishing touches to some of the toys, computer games, team jerseys and other surprises. Rather than run the risk of your letter not reaching Santa’s North Pole workshop, why not write to The Clare Champion and let us deliver it for you. After all, we have been delivering the news to the people of Clare and adjoining counties for over 120 years. Send your letter to Santa, C/O The Clare Champion, Barrack Street, Ennis, County Clare. Because we have received so many letters  and have to sort them in alphabetical order to make things easier for Santa, we have decided to extend the deadline to 12 noon on …

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USI highlights ‘mental health’ damage of alcohol

The Union of Students of Ireland (USI) has launched a new campaign that highlights the mental health impact of harmful drinking on young people. The USI’s new resource on alcohol and mental health, mentaldrinking.ie, contains easy-to-understand information on the risks that alcohol consumption, particularly binge drinking, pose to young people, and the impact this can have on their mental health and wellbeing. As part of its campaign, the USI is also encouraging third level students to lead by example and pass on the truth about harmful drinking and the many problems it causes to the next generation, particularly their younger brothers and sisters. Alongside its information and awareness-raising campaign, the USI will be providing alcohol brief intervention training, beginning with student union welfare officers and then extending to student counsellors and other relevant groups. The USI will also be working with students unions throughout the country to implement new alcohol policies and improve best practice, particularly around events and their …

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John Minogue dies in Tulla

Well known publican and former county councillor, John Minogue from Tulla has died. Elected to Clare County Council on five separate occasions, serving over 30 years as an Independent county councillor, John Minogue was also a well known publican in Tulla village. His premises was a great meeting point for GAA supporters on big match days at Dr Tommy Daly Park, as well as a venue for music sessions and social occasions. He died on Monday, having been unwell for the last number of months. He has also been an avid supporter of the GAA and collector of GAA memorabilia. John Minogue has been described as a “pillar of the local community” in his native Tulla by the Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council Councillor, John Crowe. Councillor Crowe said, “John represented the Killaloe Electoral Area from 1960 to 1991. He was always honest and hard working for the people he represented. His non-party standing meant he often took a stand …

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Santa Flights available from Wednesday

Shannon Airport has again apologised for problems experienced by people trying to book its special Santa Flights and has said booking for the remaining seats will reopen on Wednesday. “We are pleased to announce that Santa Flights will be available to book online via our Shannon Airport website from midday, Wednesday, December 3,” a spokesperson for the airport stated. “We are really sorry for the problems experienced last week in booking the flights. We are really keen to get it right and are finalising new booking arrangements. We are conscious of the demand and we want to ensure that as many families as possible will have the opportunity to book flights. We would like to sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused and thank you once again for your patience while we are working to rectify the situation,” he continued. Booking for the flights opened at 2pm on Friday but many parents were left disappointed as demand caused the booking system …

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Youth lauded for work in their communities

Galway Rose Nicola Corcoran presented Pope John Paul II Awards to young people of the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora recently. More than 50 young people from across the diocese, including South Galway and parts of North Clare, were acknowledged at the fourth annual Pope John Paul II Awards. The ceremony took place in St Mary’s College in Galway City, where Bishop Martin Drennan and Galway Rose, Nicola Corcoran, presented the participants with their awards for spending the last year as active members of their parishes and communities. The Pope John Paul II Award is dedicated to the late Pope John Paul II, in memory of his love of young people. “For young people, aged between 16 and 18 and living or going to school in participating dioceses, the Pope John Paul II Award enables them to become more actively involved in the life of parishes and communities. The young people who accept the task of doing the award, delve …

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Children’s group welcomes report on protection

The Children’s Rights Alliance has welcomed the release of the seventh report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Dr Geoffrey Shannon. Tanya Ward, chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said, “Dr Shannon’s report is a wakeup call for Government to urgently review the 1991 Child Care Act, which is the bedrock of our child protection system. The legislation is over 20 years old and the courts don’t have the powers they need to keep children safe. The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly is well placed to commission a review and to reform this area.” Ms Ward added, “The internet is a new frontier in child protection and Dr Shannon shows how our laws have not kept pace with technological advances. This generation of children are in danger of online grooming and Dr Shannon is calling for new laws. For this reason the new Heads of the Sexual Offences Bill published on Thursday by Minister …

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Clare to feature in The Evolution of Ireland

HISTORIAN and archaeologist Stephen Daly is working on an extremely ambitious book tracing the development of Ireland and he visited the Banner County last week as part of his project. Between 2001 and 2008, he completed a degree in history, a postgraduate qualification in archaeology and worked on some major civil engineering projects in the West and Mid-West. In 2009, he began working on this book and it has taken up nearly all his energy since. “I’ve been at it full-time for the last five years. I never intended for it to be so long but I decided to devote the time that it demanded. I said I’d do it right if I was going doing it at all.” Explaining what the book will cover, he says, “It’s called The Evolution of Ireland and it’s basically telling the complete story of Ireland, so it’s going back to the earliest human settlers of the island and even before that. It’ll go …

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On the road to retirement

A report from the Retirement Planning Council has revealed that more than half of those approaching retirement or recently retired did not feel ready for retirement prior to undertaking a retirement planning course. The new report is based on an extensive national survey of over 648 people, who are either approaching retirement or had recently retired in the last 12 months. Fiona Thornton, chairman of the Retirement Planning Council, said, “Retirement can be a time of great upheaval and change; not just financially but emotionally, psychologically and physically. It is vital that people take time to prepare themselves. Equipping themselves with the knowledge and skills to deal with the changes ahead makes for a smoother transition into retirement. “Over half of the participants in our survey did not feel properly prepared for their retirement. Taking the time to consider all the changes that retirement brings and making a personal plan to address them, goes a long way to helping retirees feel prepared. …

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