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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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Compensation award for age discrimination

A CLARE man was awarded €20,000, after being unlawfully discriminated against on the grounds of age at a job interview.Quin man Dave Barry, who managed the Clooney-Quin senior hurlers to last year’s county final, brought a case under the Employment Equality Act against Solas, the Further Education and Training (FET) Authority in Ireland. Mr Barry was represented at the hearing by Pat O’Donoghue of SIPTU, while Katie Doyle of IBEC appeared for Solas. Mr Barry applied for and was interviewed for the position of assistant manager in the Limerick Training Centre in 2014. The complainant, who was aged 60, claimed he was asked at interview, ‘Do you think at this stage you should be taking it easier?’ The question was asked by a woman referred to only as Ms C in the published summary. The summary stated that Mr Barry said he could not sleep the night after the interview, as he felt an injustice had been done. “He submits …

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‘Pot luck’ cannabis plant grows in garden

A CLOUGHLEIGH man has told Ennis District Court that it was “pot luck” that a cannabis plant happened to be growing in the garden of his home. Matthew Reddan, 27, with an address at Shallee Drive, pleaded guilty to a charge of cultivating a cannabis plant at his address on June 14 last. Defence solicitor John Casey told the court that his client had possession of a cannabis seed and decided to plant it. “He put it in a pot and it grew in the pot outside. He might’ve even forgotten about it,” he said. Mr Casey told presiding Judge Patrick Durcan that the court often hears cases whereby lighting and other equipment is put in attics to facilitate the growth of cannabis plants. In his client’s case, the cannabis was grown outside and it was just “pot luck” that it grew in that environment. Judge Durcan asked “was it a case of Jack and the beanstalk?” Garda Inspector David …

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Psychological distress after abortion

RESEARCHERS from University of Limerick (UL) have found that women who feel stigmatised after having an abortion, experience increased psychological distress and physical health symptoms.The research has been published in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly. The article is entitled “Restricted reproductive rights and risky sexual behaviour: How political disenfranchisement relates to women’s sense of control, well-being and sexual health. Dr Aisling O’Donnell of UL’s Department of Psychology, who led the research, explains, “While in the past, it has been assumed that having an abortion leads to worse mental or physical health, there has been no research-based evidence that this is the case. However, there is evidence that women who have abortions are stigmatised, and also that numerous types of stigma are linked to worse mental and physical health. That was the starting point for our research.” Dr O’Donnell and her team, investigated whether the health issues that related to stigma also applied to the stigma surrounding abortion. The team focused …

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New lease of life for Our Lady’s site?

PLANS for a development on the site of Our Lady’s Hospital, expected to generate hundreds of jobs, have been given a new lease of life. JJ Enterprises Limited is applying to Clare County Council to extend previously granted planning permission for the development of a healthcare facility at the historic site on the Gort Road. Permission had been granted to Duesbury Limited back in 2013 for the development, subject to 23 conditions. The application to extend that permission has been lodged with Clare County Council and was at the pre-validation stage at the time of going to press. The initial plans include the construction of a four-storey healthcare facility over the basement building, linked to the existing protected structure. It is proposed to provide a full range of medical and related services, including 97 in-patient beds, 30 recovery cubicles, consultants’ suites, administration, office accommodation, pharmacy shop, catering facilities, crèche, energy centre, plant rooms and all ancillary accommodation. The development will …

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