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‘Magnified’ economic decline in Gort

By Nicola Corless UNEMPLOYMENT and emigration rates increased more in Gort than any other town in the country, according to research revealed this week. Figures for towns in other parts of Ireland will not be released until April, but Professor Cathal O’Donoghue of the Teagasc’s Rural Economy Development Programme outlined details of the group’s research in Gort to a meeting of Galway County Council on Monday, as part of a presentation from The Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Area (CEDRA). According to its national town rankings, which take into account unemployment and emigration rates, Gort has seen the biggest fall nationally in a Teagasc index of small and medium sized towns. In 2002 and 2006 it was just outside the top 10% of towns in Ireland but by 2011 it had slipped to the bottom 10%. The South Galway town lost 400 jobs in just five years, between 2006 and 2011. While the population of the town dropped …

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Five Cars Crash on M18 at Newmarket on Fergus

GARDAí, six units of the fire brigade, and two ambulances were called to five separate car crashes, which occurred during a ten minute window on Thursday morning on the M18. Two of the three crashes occurred on the northbound lane of the M18, and a further two separate collisions occurred on the southbound lane between the Shannon flyover and the Newmarket-on-Fergus flyover. Gardaí at the scene outlined that all three occurred separately within a ten minute period around 8.30am and all during a “freak” “downpour of hailstones”. One of the cars lost control and hit the central median and was a write off. There was one person in this vehicle. A further car, also on the northbound lane left the road further up from this location and struck the crash barrier. There were two females in this car that had to be cut out of the vehicle. According to gardaí, a  further car that tried to avoid the accident spun …

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Media blamed for Dublin launch for Wild Atlantic Way

Nicola Corless THE  launch of the Wild Atlantic Way, a 2,500km touring route from Donegal to West Cork which aims to attract more visitors to the West Coast takes place place in Dublin this Thursday. Despite the route showcasing the Atlantic coast, the launch will take place at the Fáilte Ireland headquarters in Dublin City Centre. Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring told The Clare Champion holding it Dublin was the fault of the national media, something echoed by organisers Fáilte Ireland. “It is a scandal,” he claimed. “That is the trouble with the national media, it is Dublin orientated and that is one of the reasons we have to have it in Dublin.” He also noted that holding the launch in the capital would not guarantee publicity. The Minister has promised a series of other launches along the route. “We will be doing a number of launches around places where it is and we will do …

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Windfarms ‘a blow to tourism’ says Trump

By Peter O’Connell DONALD J Trump has told The Clare Champion he is completely opposed to any possibility of windfarms being given the go-ahead in Doonbeg or in the West Clare region. In an extensive interview from his New York office, he even said he would join any local group opposing such a development. He claimed windfarms are “destructive, destroy tourism, depreciate property values and kill birds”.  Confirming his support for any committee campaigning against windfarms in West Clare, he said, “Put me in that group”. Mr Trump acknowledged windfarm construction has caused issues for his company in Scotland. “I’ve been fighting it for years in Scotland. I think I’ll end up winning that battle. It’s a battle that just never ends. These are terrible, destructive things. They don’t work without massive government subsidies. They raise everybody’s taxes and they kill all the birds,” he claimed. “They wipe out the birds. You might as well be standing at the shore …

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Trump to employ 400 in Doonbeg

by Peter O’Connell THE Trump Organisation will employ 400 people at its newly acquired resort and golf club in Doonbeg, according to Donald J Trump. Claiming prospective windfarms would “absolutely destroy tourism” in West Clare, the billionaire developer, in a extensive interview with The Clare Champion, also said the company intends investing “many, many millions” in the Clare facility, which his company purchased for a reported €15 million. The deal was formally signed on Tuesday. “It was just confirmed and the money has been sent,” Mr Trump, who is chairman and president of The Trump Organisation, said on Tuesday evening. “I would say we’re going to employ 400 people in total. It’s a lot of jobs,” he revealed, speaking from the US. Mr Trump Snr, who will visit Doonbeg in about five weeks, said it was too early to say what the exact investment in the Trump International Golf Links Ireland would be. However, he said the investment would be …

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Seanad supports rent review bill

RETAIL Excellence Ireland (REI) has  welcomed the Seanad’s support of an Upward Only Rent Review Bill, proposed by Senator Feargal Quinn. Ennis-based David Fitzsimons, chief executive, REI stated “This is a significant decision taken by members of the Seanad who are very aware of the untold damage being done to family businesses and jobs because of the continued existence of upward only rent review clauses. “The Bill proposed by Senator Quinn is very fair and balanced and provides for a temporary reduction in commercial rent to a market level. The Government will quote Constitutional issues however our Senior Council advice is clear that the Bill in no way undermines Constitutional property rights. It is a fact that many large private landlords and pension funds have refused to grant tenants any rent relief and have overseen a significant level of business failure and job loss,” he said. Mr Fitzsimons said the last six  years have proven that a cohort of landlords …

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European Commission to examine HGV proposal

THE  new changes proposed by the UK government, which would significantly affect the competitiveness of Irish hauliers, are to be examined by the European Commission. Independent MEP Marian Harkin, who raised the issue of proposed cross border charges for HGVs exceeding 12 tonnes weight, to be levied from April 2014, has been told by the Commission that they will assess the charges to ensure that they do not breach EU rules. She said,“The planned Road User Charge for Heavy Goods Vehicles is directed at non UK mainland Europe hauliers who , due to their cost structures, can  undercut UK hauliers for business in and out of the UK.    However, the measure poses serious problems for Irish hauliers and especially those in the border areas who have to cross the border with Northern Ireland.  These charges raise significant problems, especially for border hauliers and, if implemented, will seriously affect business and employment.   I am hopeful that the European Commission, having assessed …

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Cambodian war survivor threatened to “blow the plane”

A FRENCH national, originally from Cambodia, travelling on board an Air Transat flight, which diverted to Shannon Airport, had threatened to “blow the plane by opening the doors”, Ennis District Court heard. Mr Som Chanh (55)  used the winnings of €945 from a Euromillions draw to purchase his ticket so he could meet his family for the first time in more than 30 years. Mr Som Chanh, with an address of 2 Place Des Feders 93160 Noisy Le Grand, Paris, was on board a Paris to Montreal flight, which was diverted to Shannon Airport on Monday due to an “air rage” incident. His solicitor Stiofan Fitzpatrick told the court his client had survived the Cambodian war, sought refuge in France in 1977  and had recently learned that his mother was alive and living in Montreal. Chanh was given the benefit of the probation act after pleading  guilty to charges of engaging in behaviour likely to cause serious offence or annoyance …

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