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Decision soon on Killaloe school revamp

A decision is expected to be made soon that would speed up the much needed redevelopment of St Anne’s Community College in Killaloe, according to Clare TD Timmy Dooley. Deputy Dooley made the comments after receiving a parliamentary reply from the Minister for Education which outlined the current state of play with regard to the construction project at the school. “I am led to believe that the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, which has been tasked with delivering this project, have now completed their report, and it has been sent to the Department of Education for a final decision. At present, this report is being reviewed by officials in the Minister’s office and in the forward planning unit of the Department. “The next step is the awarding of the tender to the successful bidder, and then construction can commence. “This will be the fourth extension of the college since its establishment in 1987, and one that is urgently …

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Students want second level hurling

THE newly-appointed principal of St John Bosco Community College in Kildysart has revealed that students and parents have cited the provision of a hurling team at second level as a critical factor when deciding what school to attend. There are currently 210 students attending the Shannonside school. Denis O’Rourke, formerly an assistant principal at Ennis Community College, made his comments during an interview with The Clare Champion. “I went through our first year intake for next year. I rang the parents that have not come back with fees, which more or less means they are not coming. Out of the eight that I rang, seven of them mentioned sport as a factor. It’s all down to the Harty Cup. “Academically, you need your education but I do believe that sport should be a strong part of school,” Mr O’Rourke said. He also found that sixth class pupils in the Kildysart Community College catchment area had similar concerns. “One thing we …

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Local News Matters Now More Than Ever

INVESTMENT in quality journalism is essential to combat the rise of so-called fake news, a conference in Limerick has been told. The use of click-bait and fake news to drive traffic to online news and social media sites, allied to a lack of media literacy amongst many members of the public, were some of the factors cited as influencing the rise of this phenomenon at the event in King John’s Castle. Organised by the Irish South-West Branch of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII), the conference entitled Local News Matters featured a panel of speakers offering different perspectives on the theme of ‘The Truth in the News? The role of quality journalism in an era of fake news’. The panelists were Emma O’Kelly, RTE’s Education Correspondent, Cian Connaughton, President of the PRII and Fiona McGarry, Producer of Clare FM’s flagship current affairs programme, Morning Focus. The debate was chaired by Nandi O’Sullivan, …

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Ombudsmen to deal with Direct Provision issue

From Monday next, the Ombudsman’s Office will be accepting complaints from people living in Direct Provision, while complaints from children or on behalf of children, can be made to the Ombudsman for Children’s Office. This is a change that has been long called for by both Offices and which will provide equal access to complaints procedures for people in Direct Provision. Until now residents in direct provision centres could complain to the Reception and Integration Agency, a body of the Department of Justice and Equality. Now residents who have raised an issue with the manager of the accommodation centre, and the Reception and Integration Agency, and who are not satisfied with the outcome, will be able to make a complaint to the Ombudsman or the Ombudsman for Children. Ombudsman Peter Tyndall said, “The direct provision system has rightly been criticised both nationally and internationally. While the government will shortly implement a more streamlined system for asylum applications those still living …

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Garda chief ‘hurting’ over breath tests

CLARE Garda Chief Superintendent John Kerin has said if it emerges that gardaí in this county contributed to the false reporting of one million fake alcohol breath tests, “maximum sanctions” will be applied. Politicians have called for the resignation of Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan in recent days following the latest garda scandal involving the recording, nationally, of one million breath tests that never took place. On Wednesday, Chief Superintendent Kerin told The Clare Champion that he did not yet have figures for Clare but accepted that fake breath tests are very likely to have taken place in the county. “We’re hoping to be given a breakdown about where this happened across the country and in what areas. I really don’t know the extent of it in Clare but if it’s a countrywide thing, there is no doubt it would have gone on in Clare. “If it has happened in Clare, I will be seriously hurt and disappointed. If I can …

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Clare bids to attract more French visitors

The Embassy of Ireland in Paris was the venue for a recent B2B tourism event, Irlande à Paris. Organised by Tourism Ireland, the networking event involved some 70 leading French group travel operators meeting, and doing business with, 18 Irish tourism companies, including Shannon Heritage. Monica MacLaverty, Tourism Ireland’s manager of Southern Europe, said, “We are delighted that so many key decision-makers from the group travel sector in France took the time to meet with our tourism partners from Ireland, to hear about our fantastic tourism offering and the many opportunities for group travel to County Clare and the West of Ireland.” France is one of the top four markets for tourism to the island of Ireland and 2016 was the fourth record-breaking year in a row for French visitors to Ireland. Last year was the best year ever for tourism from France to the island of Ireland, when with more than 500,000 French visitors.

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Voting for 16-year-olds delayed

The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) has expressed disappointment that a Bill to extend the vote to young people aged 16 and 17 was stymied on Wednesday after the Seanad voted 29-21 in favour of an amendment to delay consideration of the Bill until December 2017. The National Youth Council represents organisations working with over 380,000 young people nationwide. James Doorley, NYCI deputy director said, “Democracy delayed is democracy denied and with this amendment the Government has kicked the can down the road on this issue yet again. The timing is particularly frustrating, as losing nine months will make it very difficult for any change in legislation to be in effect in time for the 2019 Local and European Elections.” The Electoral (Amendment) Voting at 16 Bill 2016, sponsored by Senators Warfield, Ruane and Mac Lochlainn, would have seen voting rights extended to young people aged 16 and 17 in local and European Elections. According to Mr Doorley this …

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Ibec concern for agri-food sector

Speaking after the UK triggered Article 50, Food Drink Ireland (FDI), the Ibec group representing the food and drink sector, today (Wednesday) called for agri-food to be a top priority for the Irish Government in the forthcoming negotiations. Paul Kelly, director of Food Drink Ireland, said, “The agri-food sector exports €4.1bn of food and drink to the UK and accounts for 43,000 Irish jobs, Agri-food is the Irish sector most exposed to trade disruption, and the Irish Government must do all within its control to ensure minimum impact to the free flow of goods. Discussions on the future EU-UK relationship must be commenced early in the negotiating process and must ensure: Free and unfettered access to the UK market for Irish business. An agreement that takes account of the special case of the all-island economy, ensuring that the highly integrated supply chains can continue to operate with free movement of goods and services, Transitional arrangements, of sufficient length, for businesses …

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