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Clare Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Joe Downey.

Spike in catalytic converter thefts

GARDAÍ in the county have noted a sizable spike in the theft of catalytic converters from cars, with five stolen at different locations in one day alone. Catalytic converters are a part on the exhaust system which helps reduce the pollutants in emissions. To have this item replaced costs in the region of €1,500 and gardaí are advising the public to take precautions where possible. Speaking to The Clare Champion, Clare Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Joe Downey said, “There is an increase in these thefts and people need to be more alert. There were five catalytic converters stolen this past Tuesday, three in Shannon and two in Ennis”. He explained to steal these parts, the thief crawls under the vehicle and simply cuts it out. It only takes approximately two minutes. Sergeant Downey said those who have fallen victim to this crime will know, as when they start their car the exhaust system will be must noisier. “They cost €1,500 …

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Coveney to view storm damage and flooding

Clare farmers along the estuary who have seen their lands swamped by recent flooding will be making their case for a funding reprieve from government when Minister for Agriculture and Marine, Simon Coveney visits the county this afternoon. But Minister Coveney will not be concentrating his visit on areas of flooding , he will also survey some of the damage experienced by coastal communities, areas hardest-hit by Storms Christine and Bridgid. Minister Coveney, who will be accompanied on his visit by Clare TDs Pat Breen and Joe Carey and Senator Tony Mulcahy, is due at Liscannor Pier at 2.30pm. He will then head down along the coastline to Ballynacally and Kildysart where vast tracts of land, an estimated 1,200 acres,  have been submerged with flood water after the embankments in the Shannon were breached. Taoiseach Enda Kenny has admitted not enough money has been earmarked for flood defence works in the years ahead, but Clare Fine Gael TD Pat Breen …

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Flooding at Ballycar is disrupting rail services.

Ennis-Limerick disruptions likely for some time

TRAIN services between Limerick and Ennis are likely to be disrupted for some time. Councillor Pat McMahon, who inspected flooding on the railway line on Tuesday, said that at one point, close to Mooghaun Bridge, the entire track is flooded for a distance of about 150 metres. Councillor McMahon said that the area in question is notoriously prone to flooding and predicted it would take a minimum of three weeks to dry out. Flooding in the area has disrupted train services on numerous occasions over the years, but Councillor McMahon said that the will to solve the problem has been lacking. “Nothing has happened. There has been lots of reports and lots of deputations, but the bottom line is, nothing has happened.”

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First Start for Tony Kelly

MANAGER Davy Fitzgerald has handed a first competitive start this year to star forward Tony Kelly for tonight’s Waterford Crystal hurling final against Tipperary at The Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Kelly, selected ‘Hurler of the Year’ following his epic displays for Clare in winning last year’s U-21 and All-Ireland senior titles, will lead the attack.  He is flanked by John Conlon and Colin Ryan. The triumvirate make up the half forw3ard line as was the case in the All-Ireland final against Cork. His Ballyea clubmate, Paul Flanagan, last year’s U-21 winning captain, comes in for his first start in the tournament. Flanagan was introduced as a second half subsitiute in the semi-final win over UCC. Eight of the starting team for tonight’s game started in last year’s All-Ireland final win over the Rebels. Podge Collins, Conor Ryan and Jack Browne were ineligible having already played in the Waterford Crystal tournament with University of Limerick while hat-trick hero, Shane 0’Donnell had …

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The county is bracing itself for a further rise in groundwater levels.

Clare on flood alert

HAVING been battered by the terrible-twins, Storms Christine and Brigid, and with an estimated repair bill touching €30 million, Clare is now in grave danger of being swamped by further floodwater. Recent rainfall, coupled with the forecast of torrential rains at the weekend, has Clare County Council on red alert, with the risk of flooding in Ennis. The local authority, in conjunction with the emergency services, is putting contingency arrangements in place, both in terms of additional pumping capacity and other flood alleviation measures, at flood-prone locations along the River Shannon and River Fergus. Council engineers are continuing to monitor water levels on the River Fergus and Lower River Shannon and say the risk of flooding will increase as a result of further rainfall up to and including the weekend. County engineer Tom Tiernan has warned of the possibility of flooding in Ennis in the coming days. “There’s a risk; there’s no doubt about it. Things aren’t too bad at …

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Dylan Quigley, The Vikings Amercian Football team on hand to help launch the Shannon Boston Aer Lingus daily flights.

Boston-Shannon link commences

SHANNON and America’s most Irish city got a little closer on Wednesday, as Aer Lingus commenced a daily year-round service to Boston. It will also be operating a six-times-a-week New York service, starting on March 30. The increased transatlantic services will build on the momentum achieved in the second half of last year when passenger numbers on US services at Shannon grew by 22%, compared with the same six months in 2012. Wednesday’s flight was a first in that it marked Aer Lingus’ inaugural commercial transatlantic flight with a Boeing 757 aircraft. The airline will be basing two 757s at the Clare airport, replacing a single Airbus A330. Speaking at the launch on Wednesday morning, Clare Deputy Pat Breen noted, “This is a major announcement for Shannon Airport. The year-round seven-times weekly services to Boston and six-times weekly to New York will bolster transatlantic capacity and provides a much-needed winter boost, something which will also be warmly welcomed by tour …

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John Nolan watches the flooding as it rises over his farm at Corker, Kiltartan. In the background, haulier Michael Lynskey locks up John’s cattle in a truck for evacuation from the slatted house before the water comes in.

Water creeping towards 2009 levels

By Nicola Corless FARMERS are calling on the OPW and Galway County Council to clear drainage channels leading from Kiltartan to the sea at Kinvara, as high water levels have left hundreds of acres of land flooded. According to Councillor Gerry Finnerty, “There are a number of houses and a number of farm sheds under threat”. “In the Tarmon, Cahermore, Ballylee, Peterswell, Ballinastague and Coole areas, there is very, very high ground water levels,” he explained. “Anywhere the small schemes have been done, like in Shanaglish, and with the clearing of the river in Gort, things have improved. They are very small schemes but they have been very effective. When you see the bigger picture though, when the water is going down from Gort to Kiltartan, acres and acres of land has been flooded in Kiltartan and Cahermore. The water is blocking the road at Cahermore and Ballinastague and that is only three miles as the crow flies from the …

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University Hospital Limerick.

Patients ‘awful’ wait at Limerick hospital

THE status of  Ennis hospital is back in the public domain following a statement from a senior HSE figure about the “awful” experience of patients waiting for long periods in the emergency department at University Hospital Limerick (UHL). Twenty-four hour emergency department services were reduced to 12 hours at Ennis Hospital in April 2009, following reconfiguration of services in local acute hospitals. Deputy Joe Carey has pledged to request Health Minister James Reilly to commission an independent review of acute hospital services following the revelation that the Mid-West is the only region in the country without at least two fully functioning 24-hour emergency departments. The Mid-West currently has one model four hospital, a university teaching hospital with a high-level intensive care unit, at UHL; three model two hospitals in Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s, Limerick, where selected medical in-patient, medical assessment and a local injuries unit are provided; as well as Croom Hospital and University Maternity Hospital, Limerick. However, it …

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