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Comment: In the age of the sugar tax, we are abandoning kids to drug dealers

IF you were an outsider with a reasonable sense of perspective and you heard about the introduction of the sugar tax, you’d think Ireland cared about its young people far more than it actually does. On May 1, cans of fizzy drinks went up by 10 cents and two-litre bottles by 60 cents, with the thinking being that this new charge –debated in the press and at political level for months – was a wonderful move to combat obesity. Yes, this caring, health-conscious society was taking concrete action to make sure its young people were going to grow up as close to the peak of health and fitness as possible. But on May 1, as the new charge came into operation and our policymakers lauded themselves, teenagers all over Clare (and undoubtedly everywhere else), were out buying cannabis, cocaine, benzos and heroin. The ability to ignore this inconvenient truth is absolutely staggering, with no coherent strategy to tackle the parasites …

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Musician Heidi relishing the trip east

Eoghan Moloney HEIDI Talbot has toured the world with ultra-popular musicians, including all-female group Cherish The Ladies – renowned worldwide for their Celtic sound – and she is very excited to perform at Feakle’s 31st International Festival of Traditional Irish Music next week. Heidi will perform alongside her husband, John McCusker, an award-winning multi-instrumentalist; much-acclaimed musician Breanndán Ó Beaglaíoch and renowned guitarist Paul Meehan. Heidi said, “We’re really looking forward to our visit to Feakle. We’re coming to the end of a 50-date run of gigs. Myself and John started in May, touring all around Ireland in a tour organised by Network Ireland, with Breanndán and Paul, and then continuing as a duo all over the UK and finishing in gorgeous Feakle. We saved the best for last.” Even though they have been touring since May, Heidi says that the group are still a bundle of energy, “ I feel very lucky that I get to play music for my …

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Shannon Councillor slams An Bord Pleanála after Aldi refusal

COUNCILLOR Gerry Flynn has criticised An Bord Pleanála after it rejected the advice of its own inspector, to turn down Aldi’s application for a store in Shannon. He said it is not the first time the body has done something like this regarding a Shannon proposal. “That has happened before, if you remember, it was the same with the crematorium. I don’t know why they have inspectors at all, the powers that be seem to see them as surplus to requirements at time. If an inspector comes out that has the knowledge and expertise to make a decision on a proposal, would you not think that this is the expert you have to listen to? “The board can say that even though you went out and did your job and gave us your recommendation, we have the power to overturn it and we can decide yay or nay. It’s a regular occurrence that an inspector’s report can be overturned or …

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No Aldi for Shannon-An Bord Pleanála rejects its own inspector’s view

WHILE a Bord Pleanála inspector actually recommended that Clare County Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for an Aldi store in Shannon be overturned, his own board have rejected his conclusion and have denied planning. It seems to be the end of the road for the proposal for the Aldi store, something that many local people would consider to be a step in the right direction for the town and a step towards developing a conventional streetscape. In his report, Inspector Rónán O’Connor wrote, “I do not consider that the provision of the convenience retail store would diminish the range of services within Shannon Town Centre but rather would be complementary to same. This would, in turn, increase the attractiveness of Shannon Town Centre with a potential reduction in vacancy rates in the town.” He found that the development would increase competition within the town, which would also be in keeping with national retail policy. There is not another alternative …

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Clare man killed in Greece wildfires

BRIAN O’Callaghan-Westropp, who was originally from the Shannon/Newmarket area, has died as a result of the wildfires in Greece this week. Brian and his new wife Zoe Holohan had travelled to Greece following their wedding on July 19. At the time of writing Zoe is receiving treatment in hospital for burns. On Wednesday the death toll from the fires already exceeded 80 and was expected to rise further. In a statement the Holohan and O’Callaghan-Westropp families said they “would respectfully appreciate privacy at this time as we grieve and as Zoe makes her recovery.” Brian worked for a Dublin company called Ready Chef Ltd while he was secretary of Blood Bikes East, a charity that provides an emergency medical transport service between the hospitals in Dublin and the Greater Leinster area. Franco De Bonis of Blood Bikes East described Brian as “a big presence, a man of action, who wasn’t afraid to get things done and help out.” Brian became …

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Corofin preparing for North Clare Show

THE 69th North Clare Show will take place in Corofin on Saturday July 28.  The show will again feature a range of events and competitions including cattle, sheep, donkey, poultry, vegetable and dog show sections. Their will be particular interest in the All-Ireland Pedigree Suckler-Type Heifer Championship Qualifer. There will be a strong core of pedigree limousin cattle classes, with the Champion Limousin of the Show awarded the Michael Shannon Perpetual Memorial Cup.

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Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council Michael Begley. Photograph by John Kelly.

Clare communities prepare for visit of Pride of Place judges

The communities of Spanish Point, Kilkishen, Shannon and Quin are busily preparing for the adjudication stage of 2018 IPB Pride of Place competition, which takes place next Tuesday and Wednesday. The four communities have been nominated by the Rural Development Directorate of Clare County Council to participate in annual all-island competition, which is run by Co-operation Ireland and aims to recognise and celebrate the vital contributions that communities make to society. The Castle Bog Walk project in Kilkishen, which features in the ‘Community Wellbeing Initiative’ category, will be visited by Pride of Places judges on Tuesday morning. The judges will then move on to Shannon which is representing the county in Population Category 5 (Population over 5,000) in recognition of its many leisure, sporting, social and educational facilities built by an active, vibrant and engaged community. On Wednesday morning, judges will visit Spanish Point which is included in the Islands & Coastal Communities Category of the competition in recognition of …

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Satefy petition over Kilkishen NS

IMPROVEMENT works and safety measures are to be considered and put in place to slow down traffic at Kilkishen National School, after a petition was submitted to members of the Killaloe Municipal District. Councillor Alan O’Callaghan called on Clare County Council to carry out works at the school to slow traffic, in the interest of the health and safety of children. At last week’s meeting of the municipal district, a petition with approximately 80 signatures was handed in on behalf of locals who were confirming these concerns. Responding, Hugh McGrath, senior executive engineer, said, “It is accepted that there are safety concerns at this location relating to traffic in the vicinity of the school. We are to carry out improvement works to the road surface at this location in the coming months.” In advance of the works, Mr McGrath said the local authority will give consideration to any measures that may improve road safety at this location in consultation with …

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