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Change to blood donation ban

Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has announced that from today Monday) the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) has introduced a change to the blood donor deferral policy. This change will see the lifting of the lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men (MSM). A man who last had sex with another man more than 12 months ago will now be able to donate blood if he meets the other blood donor selection criteria. Minister Harris also welcomed today’s introduction of an additional deferral from blood donation of those with a history of specific notifiable sexually transmitted infections for five years from completion of treatment of that infection. Minister Harris said, “The IBTS provides a safe, reliable and robust blood service to the Irish health system and has the necessary programmes and procedures in place to protect both donors and recipients of blood and blood products. Furthermore, the IBTS will continue to keep all deferral policies …

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CEO to pursue roads funding ‘with venom’

THE CEO of Clare County Council has vowed to “pursue with venom” funding needed for a number of key roads projects in the county with Transport Infrastructure Ireland [TII], including improving the road to Shannon Airport and Blake’s Corner. Pat Dowling has confirmed that there are ongoing discussions between Clare County Council and TII in relation to “a small number of key critical projects”, saying that the council will continue to pursue these projects with the national roads authority. He was speaking at the monthly meeting of Clare County Council where the importance of funding to extend and upgrade the N19 road to Shannon Airport was highlighted. Councillor John Crowe, who raised the issue, insisted, “By extending this small section of road, access to the airport would be enhanced and it would make easier access for traffic and pedestrians”. He stressed the importance of improving the route. “For people travelling from the south or west, they are driving on first-class …

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It’s snow time in Clare

County Clare experienced its first snow of 2017 today (Thursday).  The snow was was mainly on higher ground early on but as night approaches it may well become more widespread. The gardaí and AA Roadwatch have issued warnings in relation to travel, asking motorists and pedestrians to exercise particular care. Met Éireann has forecast more sleet and snow  arriving from the north west through Connacht and into Munster. Clare Champion photographer John Kelly braved the cold to capture some of the beauty of the snow-capped high ground.

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Jobs transferred into Limerick

THE Dublin Airport Authority’s (DAA) Shared Services Centre, which employs 56 people at Shannon, is about to transfer to Limerick. Clare TD Timmy Dooley said he is disappointed that Shannon Group haven’t managed to accommodate Shared Services. In a DAA statement this week, it noted, “DAA’s Shared Services Centre, which currently employs 56 people at Shannon Airport, informed staff and stakeholders last November that it is to relocate its operations to a new office development in Plassey Technology Park in Limerick”. Outlining the thinking behind the move, the DAA added, “The move to the new offices will provide a more modern, fit-for-purpose location for Shared Services. “Shared Services has outgrown its existing premises and this move will provide the business with a suitable base to continue to develop and expand the services that it provides to the DAA group. The move to its new location should be completed in the second half of the year.” DAA’s Shared Services provides a …

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Greens confident of Ennistymon falls work

WORK being carried out to develop a hydroelectric system at the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon will not interfere with the long-term welfare of the renowned cascades that front the hotel, according to a Clare Green Party member. Work is ongoing to complete the project, which was given planning permission by Clare County Council. “It looks terrible at the moment but the hotel depends on that scenic view more than any other business in the town and, long term, it will be fine. The hotel is one of the greenest in Ireland. They have bees, an orchard and they grow organic food and now they’ll have hydro-power. Then the hotel will be run on hydro-power completely and as long as the falls go back to looking the way they did before, I have no issue. One of the main stipulations of planning is that long term it will go back to looking the way it did before,” said Róisín Garvey of …

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Deaths of retired business women

THE town of Ennis has lost two well-known retired members of the business community. On Monday, Frances Arthur, nee Cleary, passed away at the Mid Western Regional Hospital in Ennis. The great-grandmother was known to many in the county capital through her family’s shop which had been situated on Parnell Street. Funeral mass takes place on Thursday at 11am at Ennis Cathedral with burial afterwards in Ballyea Church Grounds. The wife of the late Paddy, she is survived by her daughters Patricia and Mary, son in law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, brother James, sisters Peggy and Nan, sister-in-law , brother-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends Meanwhile, another Ennis resident familiar to many passed away recently. Josephine Carr, nee Clarke, of Barrack Court, Barrack Street and formerly The Derrynane, O’Connell Street, Ennis, was involved in number of family businesses with her late husband, Michael, over the years. Mrs Carr is survived her family, Mary, Noel, Michael, Kyran and Alan; grandchildren, son-in-law, daughters-in-law, relatives …

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Hazardous driving conditions alert

AA Ireland is warning motorists to prepare for hazardous driving conditions in coming days, after Met Éireann advised that snow and icy conditions, as well as high winds, are expected across the country in the coming days. Hail, sleet and snow are likely to affect the north of the country as early as today (Wednesday) before moving south throughout Thursday, which could result in dangerous driving conditions during the morning rush hour. AA Ireland is advising motorists to slow down and allow extra braking distance when driving. “We haven’t had truly icy conditions yet this Winter but they may be on the way,” Conor Faughnan, AA director of consumer affairs warned. “Icy conditions and snow are a real danger for motorists. Even where roads are treated the grip of the tyres and the braking distance that you have to allow are very different. What may look like a perfectly safe surface may have ice lingering especially in shady spots, and …

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Brexit looms over Irish tourism

THE Brexit factor will be an issue for Irish tourism to deal with in the year ahead, it has been suggested.Tourism sector sentiment, on the rise for the last few years, may now be plateauing as concerns about Brexit take hold, according to Fáilte Ireland’s latest Tourism Barometer Survey. Results from the survey show that business sentiment across the tourism sector remains buoyant, but there is evidence of optimism tempered by caution within the industry, as 2016 ended and attention turned to 2017 – fuelled mainly by the uncertainties around Brexit. Fáilte Ireland’s Tourism Business Sentiment Index (reflecting 2016 performance and 2017 expectations) shows that, for the first time in years, there has been a slight drop in positive sentiment. While three quarters (76%) remain confident about their business, the upward trend seen since 2010 has not continued. With respect to 2017 and the year ahead, the survey indicates that two thirds (64%) of paid serviced accommodation providers (PSA) expect …

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