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Dragon investment to set seaweed company alight

By 2018, the Quilty-based seaweed weed company, established by the Talty family, is anticipating a €1 million turnover. The firm, Wild Irish Seaweed, was considerably boosted in this ambition on Sunday night, when Evan and Gerard Talty appeared on RTÉ’s Dragons’ Den where they were successful in pitching for a €50,000 investment from Alison Cowzer, one of the four dragons. “Everything changes now,” Evan told The Clare Champion on Monday. “While we’ve got this far on our own, we now have an investor on board so we have to be accountable to her and to prove that we can do what we said we’re going to do. We’ve also just been lined up for High Potential Start-Up status by Enterprise Ireland. They come in and give you €200,000 for a 10% share in your company,” he revealed. The company currently provides employment for 25 people, include 14 harvesters, who sell their produce to Wild Irish Seaweed. The reaction to their …

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Baby rescued after car rolls off pier

A SIX-month-old baby had a lucky escape in Mountshannon last weekend, when a local angler helped to rescue the infant from the back seat of a car that rolled off the pier, at pace, into Lough Derg. The incident occurred at approximately 1.30pm on Saturday last, when a Dublin family were visiting Mountshannon for the weekend. They parked their car at Knockaphort Pier, opposite Holy Island, and left the vehicle for a brief moment, leaving their infant strapped in a car seat. The windows were down but suddenly the car started to move and gained momentum, as it rolled down the decline to the pier and into the lake. John Barry, who was preparing to go out fishing, narrowly escaped its path. “I was in the water at the bow of my boat when a car passed me by, going at a considerable clip and it came dangerously close to me. I was standing beside my boat, up to my …

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Suicide strategy to assist gardaí to help others

THE introduction of a new three-year suicide prevention strategy will provide greater assistance to Clare gardaí in their work to help those suffering from psychological distress. In relation to the new Connecting for Life Suicide Prevention Action Plan, steering group member Chief Superintendent John Kerin said, for the first time, this gives gardaí more of a focus as to who in communities can help people suffering from acute distress. “Previously, gardaí were often the first responders and there really wasn’t a great follow-up. But now, getting involved in the Connecting for Life process, we understand all the agencies that can help,” he said. Superintendent Kerin said virtually every garda in the Clare division has completed training in the area of suicide prevention and awareness. Acknowledging that gardaí have engaged in acts of self-harm and have died by suicide, Superintendent Kerin said garda management is very aware of this issue and noted that a 24-hour independent service is available to gardaí …

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Taking a peak at county’s new crematorium

CLARE’S first crematorium is on the verge of completion at Illaunmanagh in Shannon. An open day will be held at the new facility, which is adjacent to Illaunmanagh Cemetery, on May 28 with the public welcome to view the development for a few hours. Developer Jim Cranwell said this week that things are nearly ready. “Everything is going very well. I’m down in Shannon at the moment and everything looks perfect.” He added, “All the equipment is in. The construction of the pathway and the roads and everything is being done. We’re nearly there alright but building always takes a while. We should be testing by May 20.” Mr Cranwell expects the first cremations in Clare will take place within a month. At the moment, one in six people in Ireland are cremated, with the figure having risen very significantly in the last 10 years. However, it is far below the rate in the UK, where almost 75% of bodies …

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President Kay enjoys an active retirement

Shannon’s Kay Murphy has been elected the national president of Active Retirement Ireland, following its AGM in Carlow last week. She has been involved in the organisation for nearly 20 years, she says. “I first joined in 1998 with a group in Newmarket-on-Fergus called the Going Strong Club. Then I started a group here in Shannon when I moved, so I’ve been in it all the time really but never at this level.” Kay had been vice-president of Active Retirement Ireland for the previous two years but that did not guarantee her ascension.Instead, she won an election, defeating candidates from Donegal and Wexford. In relation to the celebrations after she came out on top, she says, “I was allowed to bring 14 [to the AGM] and we all assembled in my room and we popped a couple of corks!” Originally from Glin in West Limerick, the mother-of-five says she wants to increase the organisation’s standing. “My main aim is to …

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Baby boom for sea eagles

THE Mountshannon White Tailed Sea Eagles have welcomed two chicks this past week and visitors are expected to flock to catch a glimpse of the new arrivals. The new chicks bring the number hatched there to six. Four of these survived to fledge but, sadly, one was shot in Tipperary in its first year. Last year, the birds were unsuccessful in breeding but Dr Allan Mee of the White Tailed Sea Eagle reintroduction project says the hatching of two birds this year is very promising. “It’s pretty much always two eggs and then not always two chicks hatch, or one or both might die at critical times of hatching. Fingers crossed both will make it – certainly one will, but two only make it in a good year. But then, Lough Derg has been very productive – there’s plenty of fish – so I’d be pretty hopeful” Dr Mee said. He said, so far, the reintroduction scheme has had six …

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Dragonboats help women with cancer

A NEW group in Castleconnell, just over the Limerick border, is looking to help women who are recovering from breast cancer by dragonboat racing. An ancient Chinese sport, dragonboat racing dates back over 2,000 years and has been in Ireland since the 1990s. Chairperson of Shannon Dragons, Bríd O’Connell, says it is very helpful for women in recovery. “It’s the upper body movement. It aids recovery and it helps to minimise lymphedema, which is a complication you can have if you’ve had the lymph nodes removed.” Originally from Birdhill, Bríd has close ties to Clare, having gone to school in Killaloe and having a role with Sixmilebridge Scouts Group. She says some women from Clare are already involved with Shannon Dragons but she wants to spread the word a bit. “We have women coming from Shannon and Ennis but we want to reach into the community in Clare; we want women around the county to know about this. We have …

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Keeping tides at bay in Shannon

THE idea of Shannon Airport being washed away by floods sounds like an Irish take on the disaster movie genre but, according to the Office of Public Works (OPW), if the cards fell in an unfortunate manner this year, more than €103 million worth of damage could be done. While the scenario is unlikely, the OPW has found that, in the event of a once-in-a-thousand-year flood, 21 buildings at the airport would be at risk, with overall potential damages of €103,237,626. It also says in the event of a mid-range event, damage could be in the region of €174m, rising to €289m in a high-end future scenario. In a statement this week, Shannon Airport said it is not overly worried about flooding but it is taking steps to protect what is a hugely important piece of regional infrastructure. “In its 70 years of operation, Shannon Airport has never closed for flood-related issues. We are liasing with the OPW and Clare …

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