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Galway council accused of parking U-turn

AN elected representative has accused Galway County Council of turning its meetings into a “farce” and warned he would be calling for legal advice if an adequate explanation was not forthcoming in relation to the non-implementation of a motion passed by the authority last year. At September’s monthly council meeting, Councillor Gerry Finnerty proposed “that all county towns have a (sic) two-hour, free parking where council parking charges apply, at any time during the day. I request that this be on an experimental basis for a period of time.” This was seconded by Councillor Karey McHugh and passed with 21 votes in favour, eight against and two abstentions. Hence, the motion was carried. However, the item was back on the agenda for the April meeting of Galway County Council, which took place on Monday. A lengthy discussion followed on proposed changes to parking charges in towns across the county. Councillor Finnerty said towns such as Gort need incentives to encourage …

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‘Epidemic’ of village signage thefts

THE theft of village signage has been described as “epidemic” by local Councillor Pat Hayes, who highlighted that signs have been stolen in four villages in East Clare. Councillor Hayes said Feakle, Caher, Flagmount and Killanena have had signage taken. He said some thefts have occurred in recent weeks, while others were some time ago. He said it is not the directional signage, which is usually the common problem, but in this case it is the larger signs for the villages themselves. “It seems to be specific to this side of the county. Directional signposts are also missing. The GAA one in Caher was taken down and a couple of business ones were taken as well. It seems to be an epidemic for the last while. I would very much be appealing to the public out there. There might be huge value in those signs but it is the communities that put them up and maintain them. They are part …

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Shining a light on Loop Head’s maritime history

WEST Clare’s maritime history and unique landscape will be showcased at Loop Head Lighthouse this May Bank Holiday weekend through its status as one of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland. This weekend a flagship festival will take place at eight of the 12 Great Lighthouses of Ireland, an all-island tourism initiative that also includes lighthouses at Hook Head in Wexford, Valentia Island in Kerry and Donegal’s Fanad Head. Loop Head will offer family-friendly events that include tours, storytelling and a local food and craft showcase. On Bank Holiday Monday, a guided walk will be hosted along the peninsula from 11am, while there will be food-tasting stalls from 12 noon until 2pm. “This three-day weekend festival celebrates the best of Loop Head’s stunning coastline through a series of events and workshops. The public will be able to enjoy the stories of our maritime past, explore the tower to discover its hidden secrets, get tips on being safe and enjoying our coast …

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‘Intimidation used in money lending’ claims bishop

THE former Bishop of Killaloe, Willie Walsh, has criticised Travellers who are allegedly engaging in “intimidation” to recoup money that has been given to members of their own community as part of unregulated money-lending. Bishop Emeritus Walsh, who served as Bishop of Killaloe from 1994 to 2010, has spoken out about serious problems being caused by a small number of Travellers who are engaged in feuding, the illegal distribution of drugs and money-lending. In an interview with The Clare Champion following the publication of his new memoir No Crusader, Bishop Walsh believes feuding among Travellers, often linked to the illegal sale and distribution of drugs in the county, is still a major problem. “Some Travellers have told me most of this feuding is linked with the distribution of drugs. There are other aspects as well, including a feud between two families over some slight or hurt and row in relation to a marriage. “A large percentage of the feuding is …

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€128,000 of damage to ‘gutted’ Tinerana House

A COURT has heard more than €128,000 worth of damage was caused to Tinerana House during a burglary that “gutted” the Killaloe mansion, which is now owned by the son of Euromillions winner Dolores McNamara. It emerged that although €10,000 worth of antique light fittings and fixtures were stolen from the property, these were sold on for the nominal sum of €1,355 to a scrap metal depot. Jeffrey Lee, 44, with an address at 25 Cosgrave Park, Moyross pleaded guilty to the burglary of Tinerana House, Ballycuggeran, Killaloe on a date unknown between August 17, 2013 and September 14, 2013. A co-accused Declan Browne, 27, from Lakyle, Ardnacrusha, but who is currently living with a relative in Clonlara, pleaded guilty to handling stolen property at Clare Circle Metals, Ballysimon Road, Limerick on September 13, 2013. They both appeared before Ennis Circuit Criminal Court this week, where the sentencing judge was given an overview of the facts in the case. Detective …

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Search still continues for missing Japanese tourist

THE search continues for a missing Japanese tourist eight months after the body of her travelling companion was recovered from the waters off Kilkee. An inquest into the death last August of 63-year-old Eiji Takagi at Clare’s Coroner’s Court this week heard that the search is ongoing for fellow tourist Ushio Azaki, who also went missing. The remains of Mr Takagi, who had a Californian address, were recovered in Kilkee bay in water about 27m deep on August 30 of last year, following an extensive search of the area. The inquest was told that the pair were last seen alive when they checked out of The Bellbridge House Hotel and were due to visit Kilkee. Concern was raised when their hire car was seen parked at George’s Head for a number of days and a search operation was launched. Along with search and rescue teams from Lough Derg, Ennis and Aughinish, local coast guard units from Kilkee, Doolin and Ballybunion …

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Conway retains Seanad Seat

Fine Gael’s Martin Conway will be Clare’s sole representative in the Seanad. The Ennistymon man successfully retained his seat on the Administrative Panel of Seanad Éirean. He was first elected to this panel in 2011 and was the Seanad spokesperson on Justice, Disability and Equality. He is the first visually impaired member of the Oireachtas. Conway’s first foray into politics was in 2004 when he won a seat on Clare County Council, representing North Clare. He was re-elected to the council in 2009, topping the poll. However, outgoing senator Tony Mulcahy from Shannon surrendered his seat. He was one of 23 candidates seeking the 11 seats on the Labour panel. He was eliminated in the sixth count. Following his unsuccessful bid Senator Mulcahy said that one of the first things he has to do is get a handle on his finances. He said that despite perceptions of politics being ultra-lucrative, most of those who have lost their Seanad seats face …

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€7.3m profit for Shannon Group

SHANNON Group made a profit of just under €7.3 million last year. The Group encompasses Shannon Airport, Shannon Commercial Properties, Shannon Heritage and Shannon IASC. Its accounts show that it had total fixed and current assets of €147.5 million and total equity of €120.2 million. There were liabilities of €27.3 million. The accounts show that aeronautical and commercial activities were responsible for €37.76 million in revenue, commercial property rental, management and development for €14.22 million and tourism activities for €13.57 million. Shannon Group saw depreciation of just under €4 million in 2015. Wages and salaries for the year came to €28 million while there were social welfare costs of €2.46 million. On average Shannon Group employed 481 staff during the year. Four hundred and two were in operations and administration, 48 in commercial activities and 31 in property. Remuneration for the then Shannon Group Chief Executive Officer Neil Pakey came to €255,676 in 2015. Commenting on the Shannon Group results, …

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