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Lifestyle

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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No rates reprieve as Budget adopted

Businesses will not benefit from any commercial cut in rates next year, ahead of the new equalisation process in 2016. Clare’s 2015 Draft Budget was passed at a meeting on Wednesday by 23 votes to three. It was opposed by Fine Gael Councillor Johnny Flynn and Independent Councillors Ian Lynch and James Breen. The new Annual Rate of Valuation (ARV) was set at €72.99, which is the existing county commercial rate. This proposal was passed by 23 votes to two, following opposition from Councillors Flynn and Lynch, with one abstention. Following this decision, it seems as if commercial rates in Ennis and Kilrush will have to increase from €65.45 and €61.93, respectively, up to the €72.99 over a five-year period, starting in 2016. Councillor Johnny Flynn argued there should be plenty of scope to reduce the county commercial rate down to the Ennis rate, considering up to €1 million should have been saved in increased efficiencies, following the abolition of …

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bill slattery

Council plumbs depths with grave debate

A Lahinch county councillor has claimed that Clare County Council employees are “roaming” around North Clare, checking if graves are the required depth, which Councillor Bill Slattery has heard should now be eight-foot deep. Councillor Slattery has challenged the local authority to dig 10 eight-foot graves in Lahinch, where he says the rock formation mitigate against deep graves. “In recent times, a person was being buried and somebody came out and told them the coffin wasn’t down far enough,” Councillor Slattery claimed. “Was it someone from the council?” director of services, Ann Haugh asked. “I believe so. They couldn’t go down any further because they had met rock. They were down five-foot-nine and he said ‘ye better go down to eight foot. Those are the new guidelines.’ This was the morning of the funeral. The graveyards around here are all rock. Are there new EU guidelines or guidelines from the Department of Environment, as regards new requirements for burial grounds, …

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Clare Museum acquires 1916 journal

A journal and autograph book that provides a unique insight into life and conditions at Frongoch prisoner of war camp, where an estimated 1,800 Irish participants of The Easter Rising were interned between June and December 1916, has been acquired at auction by Clare Museum. Belonging to IRA Volunteer and future Clare T.D. Patrick Brennan, from Meelick, the album features accounts of life in the North Wales camp, poetry in Irish and English, and coloured illustrations of the camp and its inhabitants. The journal is also autographed by many of the camp’s prisoners including Michael Collins and Richard Mulcahy, who would later become instrumental figures in the ensuing Irish War of Independence and the establishment of the Irish Free State. “Outside of the author’s historic connections with County Clare, this journal and autograph book is hugely important considering the upcoming centenary of the 1916 Rising and the significant influence of the Frongoch camp experience on the future leaders of the …

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The Killaloe swim instruction who ‘couldn’t swim’

A KILLALOE resident has helped a local author to solve the mystery about the swimming instructor and one time town mayor “who couldn’t swim”. Henry Murdoch, who grew up in Ballina and Killaloe in the 1950s and ’60s, described the impact of great characters, such as Peter Lacy, in his recently published book Remembering Killaloe. Peter Lacy taught a huge number of children to swim, including Henry, at the Pier Head in Killaloe in the 1950s. Working as the local painter and decorator, Peter lived in Canal Bank Cottage, near the author’s dwelling in Aillebaun House. The extraordinary thing was that Peter was not able to swim himself. At least, that is what he told everyone and everyone believed him. But that did not prevent him “going for a swim”, which he did by diving in at the step at the Pier Head, twisting around while under water, to emerge back at the step without a stroke. Peter taught Henry …

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‘Champion stories make it big

CLARE news stories selected from The Clare Champion feature as part of a new book of best headlines and stories from Ireland’s local newspapers, written by journalist, Ronan Casey. Medium Sized Town, Fairly Big Story features the best, unique and most hilarious stories from Ireland’s local newspapers. Each week, Ronan Casey reads through every local newspaper in Ireland and carefully chooses the stories that have hit the headlines in the towns and villages the length and breadth of the country for his local news slot on TV3’s Ireland AM. The best of those headlines and stories has been gathered together in a his new book, published this week by Gill & Macmillan. Among the County Clare stories that captured the writer’s imagination were Clare Champion articles entitled, Clare Litter Louts To Be Attacked With Drones?, Council Cannot Think Of Anything and Exercise Can Get Your Goat, among others. Medium Sized Town, Fairly Big Story started out with Ronan and Hector …

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