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Funds available for community groups

Community groups and environmental organisations across the county are being enouraged to submit applications for funding under the Local Agenda 21 (LA21) Environmental Partnership Fund 2017. Clare County Council, which administers the Fund in conjunction with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, says the financial support scheme is aimed at community projects that help to increase local levels of environmental awareness and help communities become more sustainable. “This Fund promotes sustainable development by assisting small scale, non-profit environmental projects at local level,” explained Karen Foley, the council’s environmental awareness Officer. She added, “Projects should focus on environmental awareness and actions which complement national environmental policies such as those on waste, biodiversity, climate change, air, water and sustainable development. “A wide variety of projects and schemes have been supported under the fund in previous years, including community gardens and allotments, compost schemes, rainwater harvesting, biodiversity projects, waste prevention and reduction initiatives, educational initiatives and environmental exhibitions. Lists of …

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Intel looking for mini scientist

Intel Ireland has launched its 2017 Mini Scientist competition for primary schools. The competition is open to 4th, 5th and 6th class pupils from across Ireland. Taking part in the Intel Mini Scientist involves creating a science and technology project which can be based on the Primary Science Curriculum or any area, which is of interest to the participating pupils. Once the projects have been developed, schools host an exhibition where all of the projects can be showcased and for which Intel will provide judges and prizes for everyone taking part. A winning project from every school taking part then progresses to a regional final where pupils will have the chance to compete for a place at the National Grand Final. In 2016, almost 6,500 pupils from 15 different counties took part in Mini Scientist with 105 different schools involved.

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Ageism should be consigned to the past

AGEISM needs to be made a thing of the past in Clare, according to Sinn Féin Councillor Mike McKee. “The recently published Census 2016 showed a huge and rapid rise in the number of people aged over 65 years in Clare. Since 2011, there has been an increase of 19% of people aged over 65 and a 13% increase in the number of people aged over 85. This poses great challenges but Sinn Féín believe that we should see improved health and longevity as an opportunity, as well as a challenge, celebrating the contribution older people make to our communities in Clare. “Negative societal perceptions of our older people are a massive obstacle. Our older people are a valuable resource, not a burden. As active citizens, older people contribute massively to local communities in Clare and their participation in the voluntary sector enhances and enriches life for people of all ages, while contributing to services of social and economic value. …

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Listening for the curlew

The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys is encouraging members of the public to report sightings of the Curlew to the National Parks and Wildlife Service. This is to feed into an important conservation project. The Curlew is one of Ireland’s most threatened birds and the Agri-Ecology Unit of the NPWS of the Department is pioneering efforts at protecting them through the Curlew Conservation Programme. Speaking today (Thursday) Minister Humphreys, said, “The Curlew is an iconic bird in rural Ireland. Many people who grew up in the countryside will remember hearing the cry of the Curlew during summertime, whether in the fields or in the bogs. I am very committed to my department’s Curlew Conservation Programme, through which my officials are engaging in a positive way with landowners to help the Curlew remain a sight and a sound in the Irish summer. As part of this work I would encourage members of the public to …

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Planning granted for Ennis school

Clare County Council has granted permission for a major expansion project at Ennis Community College and Gaelcholáiste an Chláir. The planners made their decision on Wednesday, having received applications on behalf of the school from Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board. “We are thrilled with the decision to grant permission for this development”, said the school principal Brian O’Donoghue. “The project will see a build of over 4,100 square metres. It includes multiple classrooms and specialist rooms such as science labs. Also included is a full size state of the art sports hall. We have been in Ennis since 1938 and this is a very significant development which will greatly benefit our students and the community of Ennis.” Construction is expected to begin in the coming months.

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Ennis Tidy Towns’ wild biodiversity plan

ENNIS Tidy Towns has gone ‘wild’ about biodiversity. The local organisation launched its Wild About Ennis Biodiversity Plan for 2017- 2019 last Friday in the Gordon Drive Community Garden. Mayor of Ennis Ann Norton officially launched the plan with members of the local community in Cloughleigh, Chamber CE Scheme, who manage the Garden, Department of Social Protection, Ennis Chamber, Clare County Council and students from Cloughleigh Primary School in attendance. This community-led plan was developed with the support of local individuals and community groups through online questionnaires and two dedicated workshops. Ennis Tidy Towns also invited groups from throughout the county to assist with the development of the plan, thereby ensuring many of the ideas and skills learned during the process were distributed around the county. “We look forward to implementing this ambitious plan with the help of the local community as well as local stakeholders, including Clare County Council, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Inland Fisheries Ireland.It also …

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Shannon food court outlets to close

IT is understood that the three occupied units at the food court at SkyCourt are going to close in their current location in the coming months. It is not clear as of yet why they are being closed but it is understood that the occupiers have been given notice, presumably with some other future retailers in mind. SkyCourt refused to make any comment when contacted. At this week’s meeting of Shannon Municipal District, there were claims that SkyCourt has been struggling badly in recent years. Independent Councillor Gerry Flynn said, in recent times, that “the town centre has been practically dying on its feet”. He said that when Shannon Development had its offices in the area it had made a big difference, while it has been negatively effected since its closure. Councillor Flynn said businesses are closing in the centre as it is, while he claimed Shannon Group “walked away from it”. He said he is not happy with how …

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Coveney flanked by Clare Fine Gael TDs during Ennis Visit

The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government and Fine Gael leadership candidate Simon Coveney was flanked by party colleagues Minister of State Pat Breen, and Deputy Joe Carey at ministerial engagements in Ennis today, Friday. The Minister will later address members of Clare’s Fine Gael party at their Annual General Meeting this evening, where he will hope to secure some undecided votes in the leadership contest. As yet undeclared, Deputies Pat Breen and Joe Carey would not be drawn on their stance in favour of one candidate over the other at today’s events, and Minister Coveney said he would not ask them to publicly declare during the media questions and answers session. The first of Minister Coveney’s engagements was to visit Laurel Lodge, Clare’s only homeless hostel located on the Clare Road in Ennis. While there he met with some of the residents and discussed his leadership bid with journalists. He then went to Pairc na Coille bungalows to meet …

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