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Clare roadworks funding has halved

By Owen Ryan FUNDING for roadworks in Clare has been almost halved over the last six years and maintaining the county’s infrastructure is now “a real case of loaves and fishes”, this week’s meeting of the County Council heard. Senior engineer Tom Tiernan presented the council’s roadworks programme to Monday’s meeting, which was held in Killaloe, in honour of the Brian Ború Millennium Celebrations. He told the meeting the total allocation for 2014 is a massive 46.8% less than the figure for six years previously. “2008 was the last year of the so-called Celtic Tiger and, since then, things have been on the slide, basically.” The 2014 allocation is down by just over 6%, to €16.8million, from €17.9m in 2013. In the introduction to the programme, it was stated weather conditions have only added to the problems created by the declining funds. “It is now six years since the last roadworks programme, which reflected the characteristics of the boom period, …

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Lives of Clare Firemen at risk-SIPTU

By Owen Ryan THE lives of Clare’s fire fighters are being put at risk following a decision by the County Council made on Monday, SIPTU has claimed. On Monday at its meeting in Kilkee the Council adopted a new Fire and Emergencies Operations Plan in accordance with Section 26 of the Fire Services Act. It was passe without debate. In a statement on Wednesday night SIPTU blasted the move. “This decision means that elected members have, without any discussion of information, placed the lives of fire fighters at great risk and endangered the public. All Fire Stations in the county, along with families, are expressing extreme anger at how public representatives could have taken such a vote and indeed why.” The SIPTU statement outlined the fire fighters objections with what they say the plan will mean. “The extreme safety risk arises from the proposition to now send only four crews on a Fire appliance where the national and international best …

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Asbestos investigators visiting dump sites

By Peter O’Connell CLARE County Council has appointed retired South Tipperary county manager, Ned O’Connor and retired Cork county engineer, Ned Flynn to carry out an independent investigation into the council’s dumping of asbestos at a number of sites in West Clare. The duo have already visited the asbestos dump sites with Clare council engineers. News of the dumping of asbestos was revealed in The Clare Champion back in March and in a statement to The Champion on Wednesday, Clare County Council said phase one of the work to remove asbestos is substantially complete. “Tenders for phase two works are to be returned next week and then assessed by Clare County Council and then phase two works will proceed,” the statement added. The council is unable to give an approximate timescale as to when the investigation and clean-up will be complete. “The independent investigation is underway and it will be a matter for the investigation team to inquire into the …

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Illegal tree-felling at Kilrush Wood

By Peter O’Connell TIMBER has been stolen by the lorryload from Kilrush Wood over the past few months, it has emerged. Kilrush gardaí are investigating the theft of tonnes of timber from the 420-acre wood, where up to 50 acres of trees were knocked, or partially knocked, during the February storms. Concerns over security in Kilrush Wood were raised at the November 2013 meeting of Kilrush Town Council by Councillor Tom Prendeville. The theft of trees was raised at the April meeting of Kilrush Town Council, where town mayor Paul Moroney requested an update from Coillte on the extent of the damage done during the storms. The meeting also heard that people illegally cutting the wood were doing so with chainsaws they are not qualified to handle. While Coillte is responsible for the majority of the wood, where the Vandeleur Walled Garden is located, Kilrush Town Council has leased a section until the end of 2015. In a statement, Coillte …

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Getting a-cross an Easter message

AN Ennis priest is hoping to bring religion to the heart of Ennis’ town centre this Easter weekend using one of the county capital’s most iconic landmarks Fr Ger Fitzgerald is planning to mark Good Friday by erecting a large crucifix at the O’Connell Monument from midnight this Friday for a couple of hours. And he is hoping that this will be of some support to those who are bearing their own cross in life. Efforts are being made to secure a crucifix large enough to place at the monument in time for Friday. Fr Ger explained the reasons behind the plan. “Primarily I want to do this to commemorate Jesus’ trial by the Sanhedrin which took place at night. But secondly, I am inviting people to come, anyone who is carrying any sort of a cross in life, whatever it may be, to place a candle or a written prayer at the foot of the cross. In doing so, …

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Mayor of Clare Joe Arkins

Hopes that LEO will bring lion’s share of jobs

A NEW service for supporting Clare businesses has become operational in Ennis this week with hopes high that it will “harness innovation, grow businesses and create jobs locally.” The new Clare Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is based at Clare County Council’s headquarters, Áras Contae an Chláir and represents a major restructuring of state support for businesses which was previously delivered by county and city enterprise boards. Combining the resources of the Clare County Enterprise Board and Clare County Council’s business support unit, the Clare LEO is one of 31 LEOs around Ireland that is tasked with delivering services and support to businesses within a framework set by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and overseen by Enterprise Ireland. Mayor of Clare Councillor Joe Arkins said the Clare LEO will act as a “first-stop-shop” for small businesses throughout the county. He added, “I look forward to the newly operational LEO playing a leading role in stimulating enterprise development in Clare. …

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Ennis gardai step up a gear for IBTS

THEY provide the sweat and gears – but it is up to you to provide the blood. Over five days from May 12 to May 16, a group of around 20 garda including Sergeant John Ryan and Chief Superintendent John Kerin, Ennis Garda Station will undertake a gruelling 1,000-kilometre cycle that will bring them to each one of the 26 counties. The Garda Blood4Life 2014 Cycle is a novel charity event. It’s not a fundraiser, instead, it aims to recruit blood donors and to raise awareness about the importance of blood donation in communities in every county. People are asked to pledge a unit of blood on the IBTS website www.giveblood.ie or call 021-4807400. Better still, attend a local clinic and turn your pledge into a donation. Last year, many of those who pledged a unit of blood, have since returned to give second and third donations.

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A step closer to ‘legal’ Shannon Group

THE Cabinet on Tuesday agreed the final text of the State Airports (Shannon Group) Bill, which will finally and formally establish the Shannon Group as a legal entity incorporating Shannon Airport Authority and Shannon Development. “I am pleased to confirm that the cabinet today agreed the final text of the legislation that will give formal effect to the status of the Shannon Group,” said Deputy Kieran O’Donnell. “Once this Bill passes through the Houses of the Oireachtas, the final piece of the jigsaw for the independent Shannon Group will be in place. This is a very significant development for Limerick and the Mid-West. I expect the legislation to be published next week and to be passed through both the Dail and Seanad before the end of July. “At that point, full legal effect will have been given to the Shannon Group structure and its status will be beyond question. We are entering the final chapter of the single largest restructuring of the …

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