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‘I was abandoned by the Irish State.’

SIX months into 2016, Áine O’Neill hadn’t a care in the world. The Ardrahan woman was expecting her second child and in June of that year travelled, with her partner, to University Hospital Galway for a three month scan. Literally minutes after the scan she stumbled away, her thoughts scrambled, her life derailed. Memories of that moment and the desolate days that followed will never dissipate. Her baby was not going to survive. Áine was devastated but even in those moments of despair, she was clear in her thinking, feeling that a termination was her only option. While she felt as if she was in an inescapable bubble, time moved on. “I was discharged from the hospital within 10 minutes. You don’t know what to ask for. You don’t know to ask for a phone number for support. You haven’t a clue and all of a sudden you’re out on the road. I felt completely disregarded. You wouldn’t get a …

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FF strategy ‘not personality driven’

A LEADING national Fianna Fáil strategist insists its controversial geographical directive, which effectively hinders Councillor Cathal Crowe from seeking a party ticket to contest the next general election at this Thursday’s Dáil Selection Convention, is “strategy and not personality driven”. There has been a major backlash from some angry FF delegates against the decision by the national Constituency Committee (CC) to issue a directive to select one candidate from East and West Clare at the Clare Fianna Fáil Dáil Selection Convention. A new ad-hoc group – including former FF director of elections in Clare, Michael Neylon – has called for the convention, scheduled for 670 delegates at the Hotel Woodstock in Ennis, to be postponed, amid claims it is “undemocratic” and “contrary to party rules”. Five candidates were initially nominated for the convention – sitting Deputy Timmy Dooley and Councillor Cathal Crowe in East Clare, as well as Rita McInerney, Dr John Hillery and Michael McDonagh, before the latter officially …

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Child cruelty victim ‘thought about killing’ mother

A VICTIM of child cruelty told Ennis Circuit Criminal Court this week that he “often thought about killing his mother”, such was the level of violence in the home. The victim, who is now in his 20s but was aged between 12 and 17 during the period of abuse, described his life as “a living hell” and says he will “never be able to fully get over the horrible things” his mother put him through. The young man made a disclosure to his school and gardaí when he was 17, detailing cruelty against himself and his three younger siblings between 2012 and 2015. He described being beaten with a boat paddle until it broke, being whipped with an electrical cable and being forced to do a handstand while his broken arm was in a cast. He said he needed to watch You Tube videos to learn how to remove the cast because his mother would not take him to follow-up …

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Criminal Clare teen living in ‘lap of luxury’

A judge has stated that the State is funding a criminal teenager living in the “lap of luxury”. Judge Patrick Durcan made his comment after hearing that TUSLA is funding the 17 year-old Clare teen living in a two bedroom apartment. After hearing of the teen’s living arrangements at the Children’s Court in Ennis, Judge Durcan addressed him and said: “Here you are living in a lap of luxury – a criminal – and being provided with everything by the State. Have you any appreciation for that?’ In response, the teen said: “I do appreciate it a lot.” Asked to outline the money he receives while staying at the TUSLA funded two bedroom apartment, the teen said: “I get €35 a week pocket money; €40 a week for shopping and €50 a month for clothes.” Judge Durcan asked: “Do you realise 100 years ago there were young lads your age being sent off to fight in Europe with big heavy …

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Red deer to roam Bunratty once more

Red deer, once synonymous with Bunratty, can once again be seen roaming the grounds of the folk park. Shannon Heritage introduced two females, currently in calf and due to give birth in May, to the park this week. A young stag will also be arriving shortly at Bunratty. Speaking about the arrival of the red deer, Niall O’Callaghan, Managing Director, Shannon Heritage said: “Red deer have been synonymous with Bunratty Folk Park for over thirty years. They have been a hugely popular attraction as people enjoy seeing such majestic animals at close quarters. They are also seen as a real symbolic animal of Ireland by overseas visitors in particular. “Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is a living, working visitor attraction. We are really excited to have red deer back here at our site. With over 26 acres, our deer will have plenty of room to make themselves at home. The close ties between Shannon Heritage and our animals is evident …

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Shannon Airport to the rescue of fodder hit farmers

Fodder shortage hit farmers in the region got a well-deserved reprieve this week as they received bales from the 1,200 plus crop harvested at Shannon Airport over the weekend. Three days of grass cutting ended on Sunday evening at the airport, with the 1,265 bales despatched throughout the weekend to worst hit farmers across the region. The silage harvesting began on Friday morning and continued right through to Sunday as the airport acceded to the request from the IFA to allow grass across its 400 acre site to be cut. Speaking at the end of a busy weekend, Shannon Airport Director of Operations Niall Maloney said: “It was busy few days but we’re used to a lot of activity at the airport this time of year. What we are not used to is the type of stress that farmers have endured due to the fodder shortage. “They have been under severe pressure due to the fodder shortage and when we …

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Ennis travel agent wins prestigious award

County Clare travel specialist Gearóid Mannion has won the prestigious award for ‘Best Corporate’ at the annual conference for leading independent travel company, Travel Counsellors. The awards, which recognise the exceptional work of Travel Counsellors’ network of franchisees, were presented at a black-tie ceremony in Powerscourt Hotel, Wicklow. The gala event featured as part of Travel Counsellors’ renowned two-day annual conference, which saw over 160 travel professionals in attendance. Speaking about his win, Ennis-based Gearóid, who specialises in corporate travel and holidays for discerning clients, said: “It is an honour to be awarded ‘Best Corporate’. I’ve been in travel all my life, and with Travel Counsellors for the past few years, and it is a job I am extremely passionate about. For both my business and leisure clients, I focus on offering what sets Travel Counsellors apart… bespoke experiences, expert advice, and unrivalled customer service.” Commending Gearóid on his award, General Manager of Travel Counsellors Ireland, Cathy Burke stated: “Every …

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Drug dealer left cocaine in lunch boxes

A Garda surveillance on a telephone pole paid off, when a 43-year-old drug dealer was spotted leaving two plastic lunch boxes, containing 12 bags of cocaine, at the pole. At Ennis District Court this week, Simon McDonagh of Aonach An Chláir, Clarecastle, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supplying cocaine, contrary to Section 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act on March 14, 2017. He also pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of cocaine, contrary to Section 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Act. Judge Patrick Durcan described the circumstances of the find as “fascinating” and said that he regarded the offence as very much at the upper end of Section 15 offences. Giving an outline of the facts in the case, Inspector Tom Kennedy said that Detective Garda Gary Stack was conducting a surveillance operation in a rural area at Lissane West, outside Clarecastle. He saw Simon McDonagh arrive and stoop down beside the telephone pole and place the two …

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