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Housing and jobs key to survival of shops in East Clare

THE lack of housing and employment have emerged as key issues to safeguard the future viability of rural shops in East Clare. O’Meara’s grocery and agri-business supplier is the only retail outlet in Flagmont village, operating out of the same premises since 1897. It was all started by John O’Meara. His great grandson, Thomas O’Meara, has been managing the shop since 2010, with valuable assistance from his mother, Annette. It provides a valuable service to people in East Clare from 9am to 8pm, six days a week and 9am to 1pm on Sunday. The key to its success is it provides, in the words of Thomas, a “bit of everything”, grocery, fuel, convenience goods and a large variety of agricultural supplies. The long hours in a rural shop mean it is very much a “vocation” for this family-run business. Asked if there is a magic wand solution to keep rural shops alive, Thomas says there is no quick-fix solution, but …

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Recalling a lost ’empire’in Ruan

THE introduction of large foreign multinational retail outlets has resulted in the demise of rural Ireland, according to a retired businessman. Michael Moloney, (72), who ran the Dalcassian Bar in Ruan, has outlined how he built a “business empire” in the small village, which attracted hundreds of shoppers from surrounding towns and villages for years. In 1968, Mr Moloney re-opened McGann’s pub in Ruan, which had closed due to a bereavement. He had learned the trade from managing a licensed premises in Galway City for more than two years and working five and a half years in the Diamond Bar in Ennis. At the time the Diamond Bar had a great grocery and retail business, which proved to be a great learning ground for him. Fr Carmody called into the pub he was working in Galway City and told him he should buy a property in Ruan. With the help of a loan from AIB in Galway, he purchased the …

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GAA needs a new model for small clubs

A NEW model is required to keep small rural clubs alive, according to GAA coaching officer, Peter Casey. The Lisdoonvarna native, who is living in Fanore for the past 15 years, argues the GAA’s one-size-fits-all approach isn’t suitable for some clubs, particularly those on the periphery in the west, north and east of the county. The former Clare U-21 hurling selector proposes one model for an urban club with enough playing resources and another for those struggling due to a lack of numbers. In the first group, he includes the likes of Éire Óg, Sixmilebridge, Doora-Barefield, Ballyea and Clarecastle, who usually can field two teams in most underage grades most years. He places Cratloe, Tulla, Broadford, Ennistymon and Corofin in a middle group that can comfortably field teams in most grades. Clubs on the Loop Head Peninsula, such as Naomh Eoin and O’Curry’s, and teams in isolated parts of North and East Clare, however, require amalgamations at underage level. Stressing …

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Sun shines on County Show

THE County Show went ahead last Sunday in superb weather conditions, with bright sunshine and very high temperatures. Clashing with the Munster hurling final hit the crowd to a certain extent, but it was still a very successful day according to chairman Joe Lillis. “The crowd was smaller than usual but we had great horse classes, plenty of jumpers, the cattle were back naturally because of the weather. We had a good few trade stands in it. We actually had a large fleet of donkeys in there.” He added, “The hurling took a good bit from it. Also the weather, a lot of people wouldn’t show cattle in that weather. The cattle just don’t perform, you could take a 100 weight off a beast travelling two hours in a box on a day like that. “The cattle were down, but the showing horses were up. We had a great All Ireland yearling class there, it’s known as the Banner yearling …

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hannon gets the country’s first Starbucks drive-thru

The Shannon Free Zone has become home of the country’s first drive-thru Starbucks as the US coffee house chain opened the doors of its latest outlet to the public. The 204sq metre unit developed by Shannon Group subsidiary, Shannon Commercial Properties, will employ 15 people as it becomes the latest page to turn in the evolving story of the Shannon Free Zone. The US based giant, which is among the world’s largest coffee companies and coffee house chains, operates over 20,000 outlets globally but this is the very first drive-thru in the Republic of Ireland. Starbucks opened its first Irish store in 2005. Located in Shannon Free Zone ‘West’, the single storey unit will include outdoor – as well as indoor – seating, ideal for the heatwave currently gripping the nation. Given its location in one of the country’s largest industrial parks, the unit also, appropriately, comprise a coffee dock/meeting hub that will service the entire industrial estate and prove …

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Shannon records hottest Irish temperature for 12 years

EXTREME heat is the story of the week in Clare, and on Thursday Shannon Airport recorded a phenomenal 32 degrees celsius, the hottest Irish temperature seen since July 2006. It was also the hottest June temperature recorded anywhere in the country since 1976. A staus yellow high temperature warning remains in place until 10pm on Saturday for the whole country. Temperatures of up to 32 degrees Celsius are expected in the Mid West again today, while in excess of 27 degrees are expected on Saturday. Clare County Council have said that their gritters are continuing to treat roads that are affected by melting tarmac, while a road temperature in Scariff hit 56.9 degrees celsius on Thursday. Road users are advised to be cautious, particularly on minor roads and when braking. Owen Ryan

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Lisdoonvarna asylum seekers plight shows how fortunate we are-Comment

THERE are many things we complain about in Ireland, sometimes with validity. Our health service is creaking, our property prices are exploding, our weather is appalling, our capital is swallowing the rest of the country, our streets are filled with homeless men and women. All of these are daily complaints that fill our newspapers and chat shows but, for all Ireland’s failings, when we hear the stories of those housed in Direct Provision in Lisdoonvarna, we see that this is not such a dysfunctional society. One man who spoke to The Clare Champion fled the Congo because he feared he would be killed by state forces if he didn’t poison others. Who here will ever be put in such a position? It might seem unbelievable that anyone here over the age of 25 was born into an Ireland where homosexuality was illegal, but things have clearly progressed dramatically. Contrast that with the experience of Sihre Mkandla, who moved in the …

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Illegal encampment may jeapordise future of planned social housing in Ennis

AN illegal encampment may jeapordise the future of a planned development of social housing in Ennis, it is feared. Plans are underway by the council to build 40 housing units at Ashline to, according to the council, “address the high needs in the Ennis area”. However, a family has set up an illegal encampment in a nearby laneway regularly used as a shortcut to Ennis National School. Last month Clare County Council assisted the gardaí in removing the barriers after parents told how their young children didn’t feel safe going to school along the route. Members of the Ennis Municipal District voiced their concerns at their monthly meeting where plans for the housing development proposal at Ashline were outlined. A preliminary public consultation meeting about the development is set to be held on Tuesday next,  June 19 in the Temple Gate Hotel from 6pm to 7.30pm. While councillors welcomed the plans, they highlighted the need for the illegal encampment to …

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