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Contractor avoids jail in €2.5m fraud case

AN Ennis building contractor who was “ill prepared” to be in charge of a company employing hundreds of people, has escaped jail but been fined €10,000, having committed “significant Revenue fraud of €2.594 million”. Patrick Mahony, 49, with an address at Craglea, Woodstock was sentenced at Ennis Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday, having pleaded guilty to five charges out of a total of 16 under the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997. The accused was a former director of Boxform Limited, now in liquidation, a company that had a turnover in excess of €8m at its peak and employed up to 350 people nationwide. The outstanding tax liability across the 16 charges, the court outlined, came to €2,594,446. The five charges are that Mahony, as a director of Boxform Limited, “knowingly or wilfully” delivered incorrect VAT returns to the Collector General in connection with the VAT periods of January/February 2006, November/December 2006 and November/December 2007. He also admitted to failing to file …

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Study indicates poor water quality in Lough Derg

A series of remedial measures are needed to improve the water quality in Lough Derg, a major €500,000 angling project has revealed. Dr Fran Igoe, who is one of the promoters involved in a ground-breaking 10-year research programme into native Lough Derg fish species, claimed the water quality of the lake is mostly moderate to poor, with only a few sections classified as good. The regional co-ordinator for the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office Southern Region said water quality needs to be improved by involving all stakeholders in forestry, agriculture, wastewater treatment systems and septic tank owners. “Water quality in the lake underpins angling and tourism. It is important that people join the dots, so a better appreciation develops on the importance of managing the land near the lake properly,” Dr Igoe noted. The status of the lake and contributing rivers is based on a combination of water quality and habitat. The study noted that the quality of the …

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Parachute fatality at Cliffs

It was a bad weekend for accidents in County Clare, in one case a precision parachute jump going astray and resulting in a fatality, and the other involving a serious car crash. The parachute jump incident occurred on Saturday at the Aill Na Searrach section of the Cliffs of Moher. Three men went to the sport to undertake a ‘base jump’, when people jump from a fixed structure or cliff wearing a parachute or wingsuit. The first man completed a safe jump but there was a tragic outcome for the second jumper whose parachute failed. The Irish Coast Guard was alerted, while an ambulance, rapid response advanced paramedic unit and gardaí responded to the scene . With good sea conditions, the Doolin Coast Guard craft was able to get close enough to the cliff base to allow three members make their way ashore. The Shannon-based rescue helicopter winched a crew member on the shore below. The man was airlifted onto …

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Boston milliner wows Chinese fashionistas

NORTH Clare milliner Margaret O’Connor has just returned home from China this week with a Global Innovation Design Award, having showcased at Guangzhou International Fashion Week. The Boston, Tubber woman was invited to design a collection of hats to complement a line of clothing by London-based fashion designer Derek Lawlor at the event in China. Margaret made 15 hats accompanying Derek Lawlor’s 30 looks at a catwalk event, as part of the international fashion week. Exhibited as a designer in her own right, Margaret was delighted to then be chosen as the recipient of a Global Innovation Design Award at the closing of the 10-day fashion extravaganza. Guangzhou International Fashion Week showcased more than 150 designers across its programme of events and Margaret said she was delighted to be the only Irish designer among them. She explained how a friend of Derek’s felt his line needed a little something extra and he approached Margaret to create stunning hats to complement …

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Judith Spencer Merrill and Barry Merrill, who have commissioned the life-size statue of Willie Clancy, with the Willie Clancy bust that was also sculpted by Shane Gilmore. Photograph by John Kelly

UL and Willie Clancy team up

THE Blas International Summer School at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in University of Limerick (UL) is linking up with Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy to offer students an opportunity to extend their immersion in traditional music studies. Students attending Blas from June 19 to 30 can also enrol in the Dúchas an Cheoil/Scope of Irish Traditional Music course at the Willie Clancy Summer School from July 1 to 9. This collaboration will offer students an accredited programme based at UL and Miltown Malbay. This initiative will enable students to earn university accreditation worth three undergraduate credits. Students wishing to pursue accreditation will be required to complete both the second week of Blas and the Scope of Irish Traditional Music Course at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy. Over the past 40 years, the Willie Clancy Summer School has attracted thousands of students and followers of Irish traditional music from all over the world. On average, 40% of the annual …

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University Hospital Limerick.

CAT-like speed at Limerick Hospital

PATIENTS should be more speedily able to obtain diagnostic procedures thanks to the provision of a Euro CAT scanner in the new emergency department at University of Limerick (UHL). The CAT scanner, which is the biggest of its kind in the UK or Ireland, will help minimise delays for patients and spare them the inconvenience of trips to and from the radiology department. The scanner will be mounted on a track which means it can be moved between rooms in the emergency department, allowing for imaging of the most seriously ill patients without the requirement to transfer to the radiology department. Currently being commissioned by Siemens, the scanner will result in much faster diagnostics and provide a greater capacity to diagnose sick patients. UL Hospitals’ Group CEO, Colette Cowan, admitted that patients waiting to access CT or MRI scans would often wait a number of days due to sheer demand on existing resources. Acknowledging a second MRI scanner is needed …

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Rats seen near Ennis house

RATS have been spotted near a house in Ennis that has been used as a dumping ground, it has been claimed, as calls were made to address illegal littering described as a “plague” on the county. Rubbish has been dumped behind the house on the Gort Road for the past two years, according to Councillor Tom McNamara. At this week’s meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, the councillor said, “When the Environment Section of Clare County Council have fully investigated the illegal dumping of waste and cannot find anyone responsible, they contact the area office to remove it to landfill. What process has the area engineer in place to insure that this waste is removed to landfill?” He gave an example of the house on the Gort Road, saying, “There has been sightings of rats in the vicinity. I request this waste to be removed to landfill immediately.” Eamon O’Dea, senior executive engineer, responded, “The municipal district office is tasked …

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Increase in nursing school places needed

THE number of places available for students to study nursing in Ireland should be increased, according to Councillor Gabriel Keating. At a recent meeting of Clare County Council, he said, “An increase in points is being driven by the shortage of undergraduate places in our universities and institutes of technology. “The number of placements in general nursing programmes reduced from 1,870 places in 2009 to 1,500 places in 2015, due to the HSE decision that year to reduce the number of places as a cost-saving measure, given that as part of their education trainee nurses receive a payment when there are on placement in hospitals.” He said that nursing courses are becoming increasingly difficult to access. “For example, midwifery and nursing courses in UCC were both 445 points, while general nursing at UCD, IT Tralee and Trinity were all 425 points. “It is clear at this stage that the only way forward is to allow the 13 nursing schools to …

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