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Commemoration for Volunteer John Ryan

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the death of IRA volunteer John Ryan of Crossagh, Newmarket-on-Fergus, who was the first fatality of the War of Independence in Clare. Ryan, a member of the IRA’s East Clare Brigade, was killed by members of the Royal Irish Constabulary during a cattle drive on the Blood-Smyth estate in Castlefergus, near Quin, on Sunday, March 24, 1918. To mark this centenary, a group of local historians and republicans has formed the Volunteer John Ryan Centenary Committee and, next Sunday, a series of commemorative events is planned. The committee has already had Ryan’s headstone professionally cleaned and his grave refurbished at Clonlohan Cemetery. On Sunday, a piper will lead a procession from Castlefergus to Liddy’s house in Doora, where Ryan died from his injuries, for the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at 2pm. There will be a laying of wreaths at the spot where Ryan was killed, a reading of the 1916 Proclamation and …

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Breen visits Limerick’s Digital District

The Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen is keeping abreast of pioneering work in cutting edge technology. On Friday, he visited the University of Limerick’s Digital District at the Park Point Facility in the city for a briefing with Dr Mary Shire, vice president of research and enterprise and Dr Ann Ledwith, Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies. The Digital District will host a newly established Digital Skills Academy, the Nexus Digital Accelerator and the confirm centre for smart manufacturing. Ireland’s first Masters in Artificial Intelligence (AI) was launched on January 25 by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys. The programme will run in UL’s Digital District from September, in association with the Irish Centre for High End Computing. After his meeting, Minister Breen said, ‘Artificial Intelligence (AI) is shaping a new reality for Irish businesses, creating exciting new opportunities for innovation across all industries. To keep …

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Donnah crowned Woman of the Year

A MOTHER of three, living in a Direct Provision Centre on the border of Clare and Limerick, has been awarded the 2017 Clare Woman of the Year award by the Soroptimist International Ennis and District Club. Donnah Vuma, who is from Zimbabwe, has lived in Knockalisheen with her young family for more than three years, while she waits for her asylum application to be processed. In the centre, there are over 200 people, including families and single men. In 2009, a report by the University of Limerick’s Centre for Peace and Development Studies deemed the centre only suitable as a short-term solution. However, nearly 10 years later, 226 people continue to reside there. Donnah had hoped for a better future when she arrived in Ireland but, instead, found that she was unable to work. Rather than succumb to the very difficult economic and institutional life in the centre, with no freedom or choice over food choices or meal times, Donnah has …

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CIF welcomes €115b boost for infrastructure

The Construction Industry Federation has welcomed the €115 billion investment in infrastructure announced by Government today (Friday) as a “potential gamechanger” for the southern region. The announcement was made as part of the government’s 10-year public capital programme and National Planning Framework. Regional CIF director, Conor O’Connell stated, “Today’s announcement could represent a game-changer for the southern region and for the Irish economy. Cities like Cork, Limerick and Waterford and our regional towns can be developed into a dynamic regional economy in the south that can counter-balance the irish economy’s overdependence on the greater Dublin area.The construction industry in the region has significant capacity to deliver the essential housing, infrastructure and specialist buildings underpinning the ambition outlined in the National Planning Framework.” Mr O’Connell said the €115 billion outlined will give construction companies in the region the confidence to invest in their businesses again and we expect to see significant increases in activity across all our sectors including civil engineering, …

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Ennis course for tour guides a national first

ENNIS is pulling out all the stops when it comes to reaping the benefits of coach tourism, including job creation and increased visitor numbers. The county capital will shortly be the first in the country to offer an accredited course for tour guides. It is expected that the Certificate in Arts in Local Heritage Tour Guiding, run through Limerick Institute of Technology, will be up and running in the coming months. Details of the initiative were unveiled at this week’s meeting of members of the Ennis Municipal District. Councillor Johnny Flynn, a member of the Ennis Coach-Friendly Committee, called for financial support to be given for its delivery. The course will be run as a joint tourism initiative between the local authority, local businesses, Ennis Chamber and LIT. The venture is the result of efforts being made to capitalise on Ennis’ achievement of Coach-Friendly Destination accreditation last year. Brian McCarthy, acting director of services, explained, “A working group/committee was formed …

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Spotting the danger signals of dating abuse

WOMEN’S Aid, the national organisation providing support and information to women experiencing domestic violence and dating abuse, launched its new look #TooIntoYou public awareness campaign on St Valentine’s Day. It will run until March 8, International Women’s Day. The campaign is aimed at young women, aged 18 to 25 years old, and highlights abusive and controlling behaviour in intimate relationships. To encourage discussion about healthy and unhealthy relationships, the #TooIntoYou campaign features seven characters (including ‘Controlling Conor’, ‘Send Nudes Niall’, ‘Needy Neil’, ‘Dramatic Dan’ and ‘Triple Text Thomas’) that reflect the insidious and harmful ways that young women experience dating abuse from their boyfriends or exes. The campaign also helps young women to spot the 10 key danger signs of dating abuse and provides information to combat online stalking and digital abuse. It is supported by Norah Casey and Bláthnaid Treacy. Margaret Martin, director of Women’s Aid, says, “Dating abuse is a significant issue for our frontline support services and research has …

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Farmer guilty of dumping animal carcasses over cliff

A 65-year old farmer this week pleaded guilty to a charge in connection with the dumping of 12 decomposing animal carcasses from a 300 ft high cliff four years ago in West Clare. At Ennis Circuit Court today (Tuesday), Martin Gerald Foley pleaded guilty to disposing of waste in a manner that is likely to cause environmental pollution on dates unknown between April 20th 2013 and March 13th 2014 contrary to Section 32 (1) of the Waste Management Act. The 12 carcasses were made up of eight horse carcasses and four cattle carcasses. At a previous court date, counsel for Mr Foley, Pat Whyms BL said that his client would be contesting the charge and that the trial would take over one week. Judge Gerald Keys was ready to be impaneled in the case on Tuesday, however, Mr Foley of Lislanihan, Kilkee said ‘guilty judge’ when arraigned on the single charge in court. The guilty plea followed a lengthy Garda …

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€600b spend forecast for EU consumers in 2018

MORE and more Clare people are moving their shopping habits online, choosing to purchase items from the comfort of their own home, rather than making their way to the shops. Online sales have been growing steadily year on year and are expected to be an even more integral part of the marketplace in 2018. Recent phenomena like Black Friday and Cyber Monday have moved across the Atlantic and are now a firm fixture of the festive season in the Banner County. The trend towards increased cyber shopping was highlighted in recent statistics released by the Ennis-based Retail Excellence Ireland, showing that customers browsing for goods using their mobile phones in December increased by 60% on last year. However, now that the tinsel has been taken down, what do you do when there is a problem with the product you bought online in the lead up to Christmas? According to Paul Woulfe, manager of the Clare Citizens’ Information Centre, there are …

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