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Tara can solve your problems

A CLARE girl reached the concluding stage of a nationwide search to find Ireland’s top young problem solvers, which took place in Trinity College, Dublin this week. Tara Comber from St Joseph’s, Spanish Point was among the 100 secondary school pupils who successfully made it through to the national final of the CNGL Centre for Global Intelligent Content’s All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad (AILO). From a starting line-up of 2,600 students across 23 counties, the 100 top sleuths battled it out during an individual and team round, each lasting two hours. The top four decoders from the individual round will be selected to represent Ireland at the International Linguistics Olympiad, which will be held in Beijing, in July. There, Team Ireland members will test their wits against students from over 30countries during a week packed with puzzles and cultural experiences. The Olympiad, run by the Science Foundation Ireland-funded CNGL Centre for Global Intelligent Content, challenges students to apply logic and reasoning …

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Ronan O’Gara coming to town

SHANNON Chamber members and their associates are in for a rare treat on Friday, April 4, when rugby hero Ronan O’Gara takes to the stage in Dromoland Castle Hotel for an after-breakfast conversation on all things rugby. Organised by mobile network Three, in conjunction with Shannon Chamber, the event, which begins at 7.30am, will set the mood for the Heineken Cup quarter final between Munster and Toulouse, which takes place the following day in Thomond Park. Shannon Chamber’s chief executive Helen Downes said, “We’re extremely excited to have secured this event for Shannon. It’s a departure from our normal event type, but, as Ronan is now a coach in Racing Metro, he will be able to give us his thoughts on leadership and management. I’m sure he will also give us an excellent insight into what it’s like to be part of a camp like Munster Rugby and Paul O’Connell’s innate ability to inject a winning mentality into a squad …

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Increased rates to ‘destroy’ small restaurants

A WARNING that job losses in rural communities are inevitable, as local authorities continue to increase rates and destroy small restaurants, has been levelled by the Restaurants Association of Ireland. Based on a recent business survey carried out by the Restaurants Association of Ireland, it was found that most participants have experienced an increase in their rate charges in the last five years, despite the poor trading conditions. Several rural restaurateurs said that the valuation of rates are on par with large urban towns. The association is calling for a reduction in local authority rates and a radical improvement of efficiencies within local authorities. Ireland is the most expensive country in Europe to run a restaurant, the association claims. It notes that restaurateurs pay on average €23,278 in rates per annum. Annual water charges vary from up to €12,500 in urban areas to €5,000 in rural areas.Water charges set to increase with introduction of Irish Water.Waste licence fee has increased …

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Avoid property penalty deadline – council

CLARE  property owners who haven’t registered and paid the Non Principal Private Residence (NPPR) charge, including any late payment penalties have until August 31 to discharge their liability before additional penalties are added to the charge, under new legislative changes announced by Government. The NPPR charge applies to any residential property in which the owner does not reside as their normal place of residence such as holiday homes, second properties and rental properties, Clare County Council has advised. The charge also applies to vacant residential property and properties where the owners live abroad. The NPPR was in place for five years from 2009 to 2013. The payment Local Government Reform Act 2014 provides for a period, March 2 to August 31, 2014, during which time no new late penalties will be applied to existing liabilities. As and from September 1, additional penalties of over 50 % will be applied to existing arrears resulting in a liability of up to €7,230 …

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Minimum pricing for drink to save lives

MINIMUM pricing will lead to reduction in alcohol-fuelled crime in Ireland and save lives, according to a leading research expert in the field has asserted. Professor Tim Stockwell told the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality this Tuesday that minimum pricing has led to a reduction in crime and deaths due to alcohol in Canada and would have similarly positive results if introduced in Ireland. Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol-related issues, and Professor Stockwell, Director at the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia, addressed the Committee on alcohol-related crime and the potential of minimum pricing to reduce it. The Committee heard that alcohol plays a key role in crime in Ireland and the type and severity of alcohol-related offences are wide-ranging, from public order offences to violent assault and manslaughter, while alcohol-fuelled crime also puts a huge strain on Garda resources and costs the State an estimated €1.2 billion annually. Professor Stockwell presented his latest …

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Community Alert Information in Shannon

SHANNON Community Gardaí are holding a community Alert Information night on April 3 at 7.30pm. It will take place at the Garda Station and Community Garda Diarmuid O’Brien said that it is for people living on the outskirts of the town, in rural areas. “This crime prevention initiative is targeting the rural areas of Shannon in the form of Community Alert. Shannon Town is currently served by a number of Neighbourhood Watch Schemes and Business Watch Schemes which serve the Urban Residential Community and Business Community. However Community Alert is a crime prevention programme where we work in partnership with the rural community in the prevention and detection of crime.” Outlining how Community Alert works he said; “It’s based on the simple principles of being aware, being alert, being secure and being a good neighbour to those around you. We will be encouraging people to get to know their neighbours particularly those living alone, to call in and visit-it’s the …

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UK truck tax ‘discriminatory’ – Higgins

IRELAND’S  representative on the European Parliament Transport Committee, MEP Jim Higgins has today called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to do “whatever it takes” to ensure that the new UK truck tax which he described as “discriminatory” does not come into effect on April 1.  “I have discussed the matter with Leo Varadkar over the past number of months, and he has been successful in getting small sections of the A3 near Clones exempted, but it is not enough. The Taoiseach now needs to tell the UK that the charge is going to hurt Irish hauliers, and furthermore that it is discriminatory. The Government should examine the possibility of lodging a complaint with the European Commission on the grounds of discrimination, since the tax will affect Republic of Ireland registered trucks, but not NI registered trucks.” “The Government has to send a clear unambiguous signal to London that this kind of discrimination is not acceptable.”   “We need a proper solution …

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Funding to repair Clare piers

MONDAY’S Government announcement of almost €233,000 for storm damaged Clare piers will be met with relief in the communities affected. Clare Labour TD, Michael McNamara  said that four piers will benefit from a funding package for the repair of public owned piers, harbours and slipways damaged during the winter storms. Funding for four Clare Piers is as follows: Liscannor                                             €130,950 Ballyvaughan Pier                           €65,700 Seafield Pier                                      €18,000 Kilbaha Pier                                       €18,000 “These funds will be made available to Clare County Council for the immediate repair of the piers concerned as part of an extended capital programme for 2014. I welcome the Clare allocation announced by Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney,” commented Deputy McNamara. “When I met him in Liscannor, where he surveyed the storm damage, I have no doubt that the minister was shocked by the scale of the damage and that fact that he has reacted so swiftly is very good news,”  Deputy McNamara added.

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