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Government approves plan for homelessness

THE Government has this Tuesday approved significant measures proposed by the Minister for Housing and Planning, Jan O’Sullivan, to implement a housing-led approach to homelessness. The measures approved by Government follow on from the recommendations of the Homelessness Oversight Group which presented its first report to the minister in December. Minister O’Sullivan said, “There was full support among Cabinet colleagues today for the proposals I brought to Cabinet. There has been considerable pressure on homelessness services in recent months and it is vital that we bring a very focused approach to tackling homelessness and rough sleeping. “I believe that long-term homelessness can be eliminated by 2016. To achieve that goal it is vital to source a steady supply of suitable permanent accommodation. That is an essential part of a housing-led approach to homelessness. We will now put in place a practical plan to access this accommodation and support people in new tenancies. This will result in the closure of expensive …

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Clare sixth highest personal injuries awards

THE Injuries Board made 10,656 personal injury awards in 2013, an increase of 5.1% compared to 2012.  According to the Board’s Annual Review, published this Tuesday, the total value of these awards was €243.5m, an increase of 11.7% on the €218m awarded in 2012. As the number of accidents remains unchanged, this increase is attributed to a higher proportion of claims being processed through the board’s lower cost, non-adversarial process and also the delivery of a number of exceptionally high value awards by the Board. With 275 awards, Clare accounted for the sixth highest number of personal injury awards on a per head of population basis in 2013. The average award in Clare was €28,747 and total compensation for the county amounted to €7.9m. The Board assesses personal injury claims and makes awards relating to motor, employer and public liability accidents, without the need for litigation.  The review shows that the board’s non-adversarial model has delivered direct savings of over …

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Hotels president wants costs lowered

THE high cost of doing business in Ireland is the single most pressing issue for Irish hotels and guesthouses according to an industry survey carried out by the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF). Federation president, Michael Vaughan has called for immediate and radical Government action to tackle public sector costs, including local authority rates, water charges and energy-related levies. He called for a clearly defined national competitiveness strategy for all business costs under the control of the Government. Speaking on the eve of the IHF’s 76th annual conference, he pointed out that the survey, which was carried out earlier this month, cites excessive local authority rates as the most critical issue facing hoteliers in terms cost competitiveness. The IHF stresses that this is stifling Irish tourism’s ability to compete more effectively for domestic and overseas tourists. “The hotels sector stabilised in 2013 largely as a result of the relentless work of hotels and guesthouses to slash costs where there was any level of …

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Green plan award for Shannon

CLARE  County Council’s Shannon Town Green Infrastructure Plan has won the Environmental and Sustainable Planning award in the Irish Planning Institute’s National Planning Awards at Dublin Castle. The biennial Awards aim to highlight the best examples of planning practice and honour recent projects, plans and programmes, which have made an outstanding contribution to the quality of life in urban and rural Ireland and internationally. The Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets won the overall National Planning Award. The Shannon Town Green Infrastructure Plan 2012 developed and illustrated concepts put forward as objectives in the Shannon Local Area Plan 2012-2018 to use enhanced wildlife corridors to form a network of walking and cycling routes throughout the town and linking the town centre to the estuary via a walking and cycling routes and a newly developed town park.

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Online maths initiative launched by Taoiseach

A FREE, interactive online maths resource for students and teachers in Ireland, which includes an option for live one-to-one tutorials, has been launched by Taoiseach Enda Kenny. The online maths lessons have been developed by Galway company, ALISON, a global leader in free online learning, in partnership with the award-winning tutoring company Maths Doctor from Macmillan Science & Education. The lessons, which are delivered by experienced maths tutors, are aligned with the Irish Leaving Certificate Project Maths Syllabus, for both Higher and Ordinary levels. To access the video lectures, students simply register and log on to the ALISON site. They then choose a maths topic of interest to them from the course and can also link in with a maths tutor who is available to take them through syllabus lessons. “Ireland is very much to the fore of online learning and resources such as those developed by ALISON and Macmillan have a significant role to play in maintaining our position …

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€96,000 for Burren signage

FUNDING of almost €96,000 for a tourism signage plan for the Burren has been announced this Monday  by the Minister for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring. The project includes key elements to help visitors navigate the Wild Atlantic Way through the Burren including: A scheme of directional signage for visitor attractions; Signage for the Black Head Coast Road; Amendments to the tourism directional signage on the N67 route from Kinvara to Lisdoonvarna via Ballyvaughan; Distinctive village and town name boards; Village information boards. “The Burren Signage Plan is a great example of how a signage scheme for a wider destination can be integrated into the Wild Atlantic Way, encouraging visitors to explore the wider destination,” the minister said.  

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Tanáiste lauds post-storms help

THE response of the local communities in assisting their neighbours in need, as well as those in public services who have been working to deal with the aftermath of recent storms, was lauded by Tanáiste Eamon Gilmore at the 25th annual tourism conference in Ennistymon over the weekend. “This Government has responded to the severe weather damage, making €70m available for a pprogramme of repair and remediation works in the areas affected. This is in addition to the €25m announced for the Department of Social Protection’s Humanitarian Assistance Schemes. We are currently awaiting an assessment from local authorities of what is required to deal with damage from the latest storms to hit these shores. “As well as dealing with the consequences of the recent weather, the OPW are looking at what is required for the future in the way of additional coastal defences; flood protection works and a national flood warning system. They will be reporting back to Government on …

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Hey ref, it’s for charity

A REQUEST made to members of the national GAA referees panel to highlight an awareness of cancer Clare referee Rory Hickey had his head shaved at the Éire Óg clubhouse. “Back in the autumn, the members of the national referees group were asked to do something to heighten an awareness of cancer. Some of the lads participated in a fundraiser in November and others are doing their project now,” the Ennis man told The Clare Champion. “In conjunction with Micheál Malone from D Barber shop in Francis Street, we decided to participate in a shave and dye project,” explained the Éire Óg GAA clubman, who had his head dyed on Monday last. At Thursday’s event, Rory and Micheál completed the project. “Unfortunately, everyone we speak to has a cancer-related story. Even in our own club, we have had some cancer-related losses over the years,” said Rory, adding that he lost an uncle to cancer in the not too distant past. …

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