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Landmark ‘asylum seekers’ court decision

THE project manager at the Clare Immigrant Support Centre in Ennis has described this week’s Supreme Court finding that the ban on asylum seekers joining the working force is unconstitutional as “very significant”. The ban was appealed by a Burmese man who lived in Direct Provision for eight years, prior to being granted refugee status. The court adjourned making a formal order for six months, to allow the Dáil to address the issue. Ireland and Lithuania are the only EU member states with indefinite bans on the right to work, while the working group report to government on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision, recommended that the right to work be brought in. The Irish Government has yet to implement the recommendation. “This is a very significant and welcome decision by the courts,” Orla Ní Éilí, who has worked in the Clare Immigrant Support Centre for 24 years, told The Clare Champion this week. “I remember in 1996, …

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Duke of Kent visits Kilrush

THE Duke of Kent visited Kilrush RNLI station in Cappa on Tuesday as part of a two-day tour of lifeboat stations in Clare, Tipperary and Kerry. The Duke has been president of the RNLI since 1969. The 81-year-old arrived in Kilrush by helicopter, which landed in the local GAA field. There was a sizeable garda presence en route to Cappa and the roads were closed from shortly after 3pm, while Prince Edward was at the lifeboat station. His Royal Highness was greeted by the volunteer lifeboat operations team, lifeboat crew members and the local fundraising branch. As part of the visit, Kilrush RNLI showcased local Irish dancing, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, hand-crafted traditional Irish currach building and a selection of local pottery from the Brothers of Charity. The Duke was particularly taken with the display of brush dancing. Also in attendance were representatives from Kilrush GAA, focusing on the partnership between the GAA and RNLI working together to …

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Sign up for Heritage Week

INDIVIDUALS and groups around Clare are being encouraged to to get involved in National Heritage Week 2017 by registering an event in their community before next Wednesday. National Heritage Week – the theme of which is ‘It’s In Your Nature’ – takes place nationwide from August 19 to 27. Coordinated nationally by the Heritage Council, more than 450,000 people are expected to participate in over 2,000 heritage events. Each year events range from night-time bat walks, wildlife walks and lectures, classical music and poetry recitals, traditional music sessions, storytelling, historical re-enactments, and local history walks and talks. Congella McGuire, Clare Heritage Officer said, “Clare County Council encourages people to view Heritage Week as an opportunity to display their own area of heritage, be it natural, built or cultural, to the broader public. She explained, “Events can be held at a variety of venues, such as monuments and historical sites, parks and gardens, woodlands, wildlife reserves and inland waterways, schools, libraries and heritage …

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Following Blue Flag beaches on Twitter

Clare County Council will provide updates on conditions at the county’s Blue Flag beaches on its Twitter and Facebook accounts from Saturday next. The updates will feature latest sea, water quality and weather conditions, as well as tide in and tide out times for Ballycuggeran (Killaloe), Cappa, Fanore, Kilkee, Lahinch, Mountshannon, Spanish Point, Whitestrand Doonbeg and Whitestrand Miltown Malbay. The updates coincide with the commencement of lifeguard cover at County Clare beaches this June Bank Holiday Weekend. Lifeguard cover will be provided at Clare’s Blue Flag beaches from 11.00am to 7.00pm this Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Cover will continue on Saturdays and Sundays during the month of June, while there will be full-time time cover at these locations as well as at Bishops Quarter (Ballyvaughan) and Seafield Quilty during the months of July and August and the first two weekends of September.

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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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