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Big bucks for UL library

The Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan has given a commitment to provide €10 million next year for investment in the University of Limerick library project. Welcoming this as “a move that will enhance the educational opportunities in the Mid-West region”, Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey said,“I have received written confirmation from Minister Jan O’Sullivan that €10 million will be made available next year for the extention of the library at the University of Limerick. This is great news and follows a long campaign.” Continuuing, Deputy Carey said, “The need for a library extension at the University of Limerick was brought to my attention by the many Clare students that attend the college. Currently, there are over 13, 000 students attending the University of Limerick but unfortunately the library was designed to cater for 7000 students. This proposed development, which has the benefit of planning permission, will extend the library’s capacity to cater for the student population, adding …

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Noirin Hegarty

Noirín not Lonely in North Clare

Noirín Hegarty may be in the business of world travel as Managing Destination Editor with Lonely Planet but the well-known journalist considers her family’s holiday home in Liscannor her ‘refuge’. Her mother Carmel Vaughan and her father Sean Hegarty hail from the West and North of the county and although reared in Dublin, Noirín spent many happy holidays here as a child visiting her 60 cousins. Not only are her ancestral roots here, it was also in Clare that the seeds of her interest in journalism were planted. “My uncle Martin Vaughan still lives in Miltown Malbay. He was always involved in what was going on in the community. He knew what was happening around and that sparked my initial curiosity for journalism,” she said. “I remember when I was a child and Martin was in the civil defence and he would be out looking for bodies after a bad storm and I thought this was fascinating and that goes …

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Residents object to Westbury house plans

Former Defence Minister Willie O’Dea and Councillor Cathal Crowe have joined 125 residents to oppose the completion of 22 residential units and site works in Westbury. The largest housing estate in South-East Clare could get even bigger if Clare County Council grants planning permission for an extra 22 houses. According to Punch Consulting Engineers, planning permission for this development was granted under a previous application, which has now expired. Sixteen of the proposed units are located in the proposed cul-de-sac adjacent to No. 87 Bruachlan, while the remaining six units are situated in another cul-de-sac between properties 24 and 31. A comprehensive objection signed by 127 people was drafted by Councillor Crowe, following a recent public meeting he organised in Larkin’s Pub, Parteen to oppose this “NAMA planning application”. According to the objection, Westbury is a development of about 1,000 housing units, yet there is only a single entrance into the estate, which results in a “serious traffic problem” with …

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And they call it puppy love

AN ENNIS woman with an incurable case of ‘puppy love’ is at the centre of an incredible tale of devotion and care for sick and abandoned dogs. Martina Flaherty, from Westbourne, loves all breeds of puppies and dogs and has saved more than 130 lives since she set up Babydog Rescue with her friend, Mags Mooney from Lisdoonvarna, earlier this year. Dog warden, Frankie Coote can’t praise Martina enough. “Martina’s work is essential because she has about 130 dogs taken from the pound since she started Babydog Rescue earlier this year. It’s a huge amount of dogs. She has a wonderful way of dealing with people and other rescue groups. “Martina and Mags Mooney fundraise and I think they have over 60 pups inoculated with the seven-in-one injections that have gone out to homes in Clare as well,” Frankie said. “There’s a lot of work goes into it and a lot of expenses before the dog goes out. They’ve fundraised …

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Gaining confidence, inch by inch

FOR the last few months, Mark Kearney has been drawing puzzled glances from people he meets on the streets, even from people he has known for years. He is close to unrecognisable from the man he was on St Patrick’s Day, after shedding almost 11 stone in the space of seven months. The weight loss came after a religiously-observed diet and the re-introduction of exercise into his life. When he started the weight loss programme in April, Mark, who lives in Ennis, was 25 stone and nine pounds but when he finished in early October, he was down to 14 stone and 11 pounds, a fairly appropriate weight for his 6’5 frame. It’s hardly surprising that he wasn’t satisfied with life at 25 stone and he says the weight was draining the positives from him in all sorts of ways. “Being that weight was affecting my whole life. Going in for interviews for jobs [he was then unemployed], it was …

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Raheen hospital moves towards HIQA standards

THE Health Service Executive is to lodge a planning application in the coming weeks for the construction of an extension to Raheen Community Hospital to include six single rooms, one double room with en-suites and a new patient sitting area. The HSE publicised its intention to seek planning permission on Thursday and, commenting on the proposed development, Labour TD, Michael McNamara has said it is “a crucial first step in bringing the community hospital up to HIQA standards”. He said the extension, if granted, will ensure greater comfort and care for the patients in this highly-regarded facility. “The planning application has been expected for a long time but I believe that recent modifications to the plans, based on work carried out at Ennistymon and Kilrush community hospitals, will make for a better outcome at Raheen. “It is proposed to construct a new single-storey extension to include six single and one double bedrooms, all with en-suite facilities. The proposal to include …

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Accusation of ‘massaging’ housing lists

Clare County Council has been accused of “massaging” official figures on its social housing list, amid growing concern of a 28% hike in applicants seeking local authority accommodation. Strategic policy committee chairman, Councillor Gerry Flynn, claimed official figures did not fully reflect the real social housing waiting list, which is already at “crisis point” and of “epidemic” proportions. Councillor Flynn claimed the council is “massaging” the overall figures due to the lack of a proper validation process, as applicants were knocked off the list if they didn’t respond to a council letter, asking them if they had a house. He believes an applicant should be left on a list unless the council has “concrete proof” they have obtained permanent accommodation. His charge coincides with a challenge from Housing Minister Paudie Coffey for the council and other local authorities to “step up to the plate” in terms of social housing provision. According to the most recent figures provided by the council, …

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Corporate help needed to melt Ebola ‘iceberg’

COMPANIES in Clare should “step up and provide corporate support” to West Africa, as it fights to contain the outbreak of Ebola, an Inagh man leading one NGO’s response to the disease in the region has said. Damien Queally of Plan Ireland has just returned to his base in Senegal from a visit to the charity’s projects in the three worst-affected countries. “We are looking for medical personnel, good solid project managers who are able to keep multiple activities moving at the same time, logisticians. It would be great if some companies would step up and provide corporate support with some of the supplies that are needed. Personal protective equipment for one person is about €50, a water hygiene kit is about €25,” he said. “After visiting the three countries, while I was a bit apprehensive going in, once I saw the hand-washing checks everywhere, the temperature checks everywhere…there is a lot more in place, my fear went. Having gone …

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