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Increase in nursing school places needed

THE number of places available for students to study nursing in Ireland should be increased, according to Councillor Gabriel Keating. At a recent meeting of Clare County Council, he said, “An increase in points is being driven by the shortage of undergraduate places in our universities and institutes of technology. “The number of placements in general nursing programmes reduced from 1,870 places in 2009 to 1,500 places in 2015, due to the HSE decision that year to reduce the number of places as a cost-saving measure, given that as part of their education trainee nurses receive a payment when there are on placement in hospitals.” He said that nursing courses are becoming increasingly difficult to access. “For example, midwifery and nursing courses in UCC were both 445 points, while general nursing at UCD, IT Tralee and Trinity were all 425 points. “It is clear at this stage that the only way forward is to allow the 13 nursing schools to …

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Ennis is country’s latest Gigabit town

ENNIS is to benefit from broadband speeds on a par with those in Tokyo and faster than in Dublin, resulting in a boost for local business. The town is to be catapulted into the international leagues when it comes to broadband connectivity with the announcement that the county capital is Ireland’s latest Gigabit Town. Minister of State for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen announced last Friday that Ennis is to be powered by SIRO’s 100% fibre-optic gigabit broadband network. Residents and businesses will be able to avail of SIRO’s Gigabit connectivity (1,000Mbps), which is three times faster than the best service available in Dublin and 10 times more powerful than the fastest average internet speed in Ireland. At the announcement in Ennis Deputy Breen said, “I am delighted to unveil Ennis as Ireland’s latest Gigabit Town. This announcement is good news for Ennis and means that businesses in the town are on a level playing field with those in …

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Drones to combat illegal dumping

DRONES could soon be flying over the skies of County Clare in a bid to combat the “scourge” of illegal dumping. Clare County Council has confirmed it is considering using drones as part of efforts to tackle dumping. The council is investigating the potential of working alongside the Civil Defence, who already have a drone. Details of the plans emerged at this week’s meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, where Councillor Johnny Flynn stated, in some cases, that the dumping is part of “a well organised criminal activity”. He urged the use of “smart technology” including drones to catch those responsible. He said the drones could be used to identify areas where dumping is being carried out, and “hopefully identify the culprits”. “We need to improve our use of smart technology to catch these people; a lot of these people are mobile. This dumping is not just anti-social behaviour, it is criminal activity and, in many cases, it’s organised criminal …

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Renewing towns and villages

The Town and Village Renewal Scheme for 2017 has bee launched by the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys. As part of the Action Plan for Rural Development, towns and villages across the country are set to benefit from €20 million in funding from the scheme. The Scheme is part of the Government’s commitment to ensure that the benefits of economic recovery are felt in every part of the country. As part of that commitment, and as a key support for the retail sector under the Action Plan for Jobs 2017, Minister Mitchell O’Connor will launch the Framework for Town Centre Renewal at the end of the month. This is the second year of the scheme and will see up to 300 towns and villages benefit from funding from the department. Proposals for funding will have to support sustainable, economic development in their locality.

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Council supports medicinal cannabis use

LEGALISING the prescription of medicinal cannabis is an idea whose time has come, according to Clare County Council. At Monday’s meeting, Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy put forward a motion that the council “ask the Minister for Health Simon Harris to prioritise legislation legalising the prescribing of medicinal cannabis in Ireland, where those suffering and in need, as highlighted by the recent walk of Vera Twomey across the country, will have their lives hugely improved.” Ms Twomey had walked from Cork to Dublin in an attempt to draw attention to the issue. Her motion was supported by Councillor Ann Norton. “For a lot of people, medication doesn’t take away the severity of the pain,” she noted. Regarding medicinal cannabis, she said it could be “legalised and monitored like other drugs”. She added that many patients already use the drug illegally and can be fined up to €2,500 for a first offence and imprisoned for subsequent transgressions. While she said she wouldn’t …

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New housing for Shannon

PLANS are being made for a new 50-unit housing development at Tullyvarraga, Shannon. With the property market recovering for some time now, developer John Walsh believes prices are going to increase, making such developments sustainable once again. “I hope to have planning there within 12 months and it should be ripe after that. We would start developing some time in the middle of next year.” He plans to put a total of 50 residential dwellings in place, 10 detached, 24 semi-detached and 16 apartments. While he feels current prices are generally not high enough to justify new building, he feels this will change. He also has an idea of what properties at the Tullyvarraga site should reach when they are eventually built. “There is still probably a bit left in the market for it to reach a sustainable building level. Prices for a three-bed semi at €210,000 or €215,000 would be rock-bottom. That’s the level it would need to be …

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Environmental art works in Dromore Woods

Participants of the Embrace for Arts & People with Disabilities Programme have been taking advantage of the fine spell of weather by relocating to Dromore Woods to create environmental art works with artist and facilitator, Alan Shoosmith. Run by Clare County Arts Office and supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, the Embrace Programme for Arts and People with Disabilities provides opportunities for individuals to engage with a wide range of art forms. With just three weeks to go until the annual Embrace event at Glór, members of the Dulick group have been creating environmental pieces to showcase at the exhibition. Each ephemeral art work is created using elements such as wood, flowers, grass and berries which are gathered on site and also through engaging creatively with the surrounding environment. The finished works will be photographed before being exhibited in glór. This year’s Embrace Arts and People with Disabilities exhibition and performance event will be held on May 9 at …

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Breen in Budapest to discuss Brexit

Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen TD travelled to Hungary this week  for a series of bilateral meetings with his EU counterparts. These meetings form part of an ongoing programme of engagement by Irish government Ministers with EU Member States in an effort to build awareness of the unique impacts of Brexit on Ireland and to hear fellow Member State views regarding Brexit. To date there has been over 400 engagements undertaken by the Irish Government with remaining EU member states and the EU institutions regarding Brexit. During the course of the Minister’s two- day visit to Hungary, he met with the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Lázsló Szabó, State Secretary for EU Affairs, Szabolcs Takács, and State Secretary at the Ministry of National Economy, Mr István Lepsényi. Minister Breen used these meetings to set out the significance of the impact on Ireland of the UK’s departure from the EU, and conveyed the unique nature …

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