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Good signs for 2016 tourism

CSO figures published today (Wednesday) show a significant increase in overseas visitors to Ireland between December 2015 and February 2016. Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said, “Today’s figures represent a very positive start to 2016 – confirming that, for the first time ever, we welcomed more than one million visitors in the first two months of the year. In the period December 2015 and February 2016, almost a quarter of a million additional visitors (+17%) came to Ireland, when compared with the same three-month period last year.” Growth was recorded from all markets around the world – including Britain (+21%), North America (+13%), Mainland Europe (over +14%) and from Australia and developing markets (almost +9%). “Our focus now is on surpassing last year’s success, to ensure that 2016 is another record-breaking year for overseas tourism. We remain conscious of recent tragic events in Brussels and elsewhere and the potential impact on travel; we continue to monitor the situation,” Mr …

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MEPs to meet Shannon Estuary group

Seán Kelly MEP, is hosting a visit by a European Parliament delegation to the Mid-West this week. MEPs will meet company representatives from Shannon LNG and Shannon Foynes Port tomorrow (Thursday). The MEPs belonging to the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy are on a fact-finding mission to learn about the local innovations and research in the area of technology and energy. Speaking ahead of the high-profile visit, Mr Kelly, the leader of the Fine Gael delegation in the European Parliament, said: “I look forward to welcoming the group of cross-party MEPs from all various member states, where we will enjoy a busy agenda meeting and learning from technology and energy experts locally. “After meeting with local business and technology experts and university researchers and students, we will hold a briefing with Shannon LNG and Shannon Foynes Port Company representatives. “The European Commission recently cited Shannon LNG as a strategic gas source for Europe, as we work towards a more secure …

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Body discovered on Labasheeda shoreline

KILRUSH Gardaí are investigating the discovery of a body on the shore at Labasheeda this evening  (Tuesday). The body was spotted shortly before 5pm by the Shannon Rescue Helicopter on the shore, close to the townland of Colmanstown. The helicopter had been on a training exercise. Kilrush RNLI and the Kilkee Coastguard Unit were called to help with the recovery operation, while the helicopter returned from Shannon with two gardaí. The area where the body was located was only accessible from the air. The body was removed from the scene and gardaí are checking their missing persons database in an effort to identify the person. By Peter O’Connell

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Garda warning: dangerous road conditions

As heavy rain and hail showers are forecast this evening (Tuesday), gardaí have appealed to road users to take extra care and for drivers to always drive at a speed appropriate to the conditions. The heavy rain and hail showers will create potentially hazardous conditions for road users. Road users are advised: • It takes longer to stop a vehicle on wet roads so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the vehicle in front. • Heavy hail showers will make roads slippery, increase stopping distances and reduce visibility. • Take special care when driving behind trucks or buses as they generate a considerable amount of spray which reduces your visibility. • Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. • Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are advised to be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt. • Pedestrians should walk on a footpath, and if there is no footpath, walk …

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Daisy posing at Porlock Weir.

Dog microchipping deadline looms

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney has reminded all dog owners that new arrangements requiring all dogs to be both microchipped and registered on an authorised database will become compulsory from this Friday. “The dog microchipping programme has been rolled out on a phased basis.Widespread microchipping of all dogs brings a range of benefits including the protection of the welfare of dogs and assist with speedy identification of stray dogs and their owners,” Minister Coveney said. The minister added, “It will act as a deterrent for those who abandon dogs and assist in identifying marauding dogs and those that pose a threat to livestock or people.” The Minister stressed the importance of making sure all dogs are compliant with the requirements that the microchip used be ISO compliant and that the microchip details are registered on an authorised database.There are currently four authorised databases Animark, Fido, The Irish Coursing Club and the Irish Kennel Club

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Heading for ‘roads up in the clouds’

Care County Council could end up with “roads up in the clouds”, if it continues to raise roads affected by flooding, instead of looking at drainage alternatives, a local councillor has claimed. Flood remedial works on the outskirts of Newmarket-on-Fergus have created problems in other areas in the locality, according to Councillor Alan O’Callaghan. Councillor O’Callaghan told  a recent Killaloe Municipal District meeting that in the region of €300,000 was spent on raising a road in Ballycar to facilitate access for a number of houses, which the householders really appreciated. However, he pointed out that this road was still blocked with water 100 yards further on, which resulted in another portion being raised on two successive occasions. “While works needed to be done on these roads, the bigger picture here is drainage. Or are we going to end up with roads up in the clouds? “Eighty percent of the water could be alleviated, if drains and culverts were being opened. …

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Mini roundabout proposal for traffic problems

TRAFFIC levels are leaving residents of Corrovorrin and St Senan’s Road in Ennis “frustrated”, a meeting of local councillors has heard. Among the solutions suggested was a mini-roundabout in the area. Councillor Ann Norton, at a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, asked that a traffic survey be carried out at the exit of Corrovorrin and St Senan’s Road to investigate the viability of the traffic-calming measure. She commented, “Residents in the area are quite concerned and frustrated; there is quite a lot of traffic.” Eamon O’Dea, senior executive engineer, told the meeting that a proposal funded by a Low Cost Safety Scheme went through a public consultation process for traffic-calming and was withdrawn at approval stage at Ennis Town Council, as approval was not forthcoming from the councillors. He explained, “The key issue in the withdrawal of the previous proposal was the position of the local shop to the junction and the requirements under road design guidelines that eliminated …

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Council not tempted by Apple

WHEN it came to the crunch, a planning application by Applegreen Ltd to build a motorway service station on the Limerick to Ennis motorway has been refused permission by Clare County Council. A decision has been made on the controversial planning application, which received a number of local objections, including one from Ennis Chamber. In January, Applegreen Services Area Ltd submitted an application to Clare County Council for the development of a motorway service area at Latoon South and Latoon North, Dromoland on the M18. In making their decision to refuse permission, the planning authority noted other proposed service stations along the M18. Pat McDonagh, CEO of Supermacs, was granted planning permission for a motorway service station at junction 12 of the motorway. This decision has since been appealed to An Bord Pleanála. Meanwhile, Transport Infrastructure Ireland has undertaken public consultations in relation to the provision of an online service station between Ennis and Sixmilebridge. Clare County Council’s planning authority …

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