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Shannon to Boston all year

THE  launch this Wednesday of the Aer Lingus daily year-round service from Shannon to Boston is a major boost for the West of Ireland. The service is one of the key aspects of Aer Lingus’ renewed commitment to the independent Shannon Airport this year, with the airline also set to operate a six-times weekly, year-round JFK New York service from March 30th. In addition, Aer Lingus will also commence a new Malaga service at the end of April and, through its partner Aer Arann, under the Aer Lingus Regional service will also operate a new Bristol route this summer as well as almost double capacity on Manchester and Birmingham services. The increased transatlantic services will build on the strong momentum achieved last year when passenger numbers on US services at Shannon, in the airport’s first year as an independent entity, grew steadily, with the latter half of the year showing a 22% rise on the same period in 2012. The …

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Red Cross Appeal for flood victims

THE Irish Red Cross – Dublin has launched the Ireland Floods Appeal in aid of families affected by the flooding across much of the country, including Clare. As with previous national flood appeals, The Irish Red Cross will work closely with the Community Welfare Services of the Department of Social Protection to identify those most in need of assistance. As well as Clare, other areas badly hit include Cork, Limerick, Louth, Waterford and Wexford. Anyone in the County of Clare in the affected areas that wish to apply for assistance from the Irish Red Cross should first contact The Irish Red Cross – Clare Area, James Lafferty (086-3659708) or email laffertyjames19582013@gmail.com; and in turn should contact their local Community Welfare Office The Irish Red Cross – Clare Area will be appealing for funds over the next few weeks through a series of events.  

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Council reiterate flood risk warning

CLARE County Council has this Tuesday afternoon reiterated its appeal to land, home and business owners in flood prone locations to remain vigilant during the coming days with further heavy rainfall expected to cause localised flooding. 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 rainfall from this evening’s frontal system and further rainfall up to and including the weekend. The council, in conjunction with the emergency services, is progressing contingency arrangements in terms of additional pumping capacity and other flood alleviation measures at flood prone locations along the River Shannon and River Fergus. Meanwhile, Clare County Council is continuing to assess the scale of the damage caused by Storm Brigid to local authority managed public infrastructure over the weekend.   It says it is focusing on the cleanup of storm affected areas and to undertake remedial works to local authority managed …

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Still waiting for Kilkee sewage plant

THE wait for a sewage treatment plant in Kilkee looks like it’s going to enter its ninth year at the very least. At Monday’s meeting of Kilkee Town Council, Councillor Lily Marrinan Sullivan asked for a “complete update regarding the status of the new sewage treatment plant, promised since 2005.” In reply Anthony McNamara, senior executive engineer with Clare County Council, said that responsibility for the progression of the scheme now rests with Irish Water and not with the local authority. “The Kilkee and Kilrush Sewerage Schemes were included in the Department of the Environment Community and Local Government Invest Programme 2010-2013. At the time of the transfer of the local water services function to Irish Water, this scheme was at a stage where the preliminary report had received approval of the Department of the Environment. The next step was to procure a site investigation contract, phase one of the wastewater treatment plant and phase two of collection systems,” Anthony …

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Clare’s Blue Flag beaches under threat

THE damage caused to coastal areas by the recent  storms may leave a question mark over the future status of Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards locations, it has emerged. Clare’s Blue Flag beaches are Cappa, near Kilrush; Kilkee,  White Strand, Doonbeg; Fanore, in addition to Ballycuggeran and Mountshannon on Lough Derg. The issue will be high on the agenda  will be discussed at the annual Blue Flag and Green Coast Award conference in Dublin, on Wednesday. The conference will be attended by coastal  local authority representatives, as well as Blue Flag and Green Coast Award jury members. Annabel FitzGerald, coastal programmes manager, An Taisce said, “There are some serious concerns for some candidate Blue Flag and Green Coast Award beaches that have been left devastated by the recent storms particularly where infrastructure such as access roads, carparks and other amenities have been destroyed.” These are among the 32 imperative criteria required to achieve Blue Flag status. She added, “Local Authorities work …

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The life of Brian for Paddy’s Day

PLANS are underway for this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Ennis with the theme ‘The Life of Brian Boú’. The parade will follow the established route from Áras Contae an Chláir, New Road and proceed along Newbridge Road, O’Connell Square, O’Connell Street and to terminate in the market. The parade will commence at 11am and is expected to take between an hour and an hour and a half to pass the reviewing stand which will be located in O’Connell Square. There will be some level of pedestrianisation at either side of the parade event, but it is not envisaged there will be full pedestrianisation. This year a delegation from Lagenfeld in Germany will be visiting Ennis for the St Patrick’s festivities. Invitations have also been sent by Ennis Town Council to St Paul de Fenouillet in France and Phoenix, Arizona who have twinning relationships with Ennis.

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CCTV considered for graveyard

CCTV cameras could be installed at Drumcliff burial grounds in a bid to tackle thefts, anti-social behaviour and illegal dumping. At this week’s meeting of Ennis Town Council, Councillor Mary Howard urged that the council investigate the possibility of putting the cameras at the cemetery. And she was told that Clare County Council is “examining the feasibility” of installing the devices. “Drumcliff should be a quiet place of contemplation but there have been a number of incidences and it has been going on for many years,” she said. She outlined that visitors to the graveyard have come back to their cars to find their windows smashed and belongings taken. “You often find somebody upset that their windows have been smashed when they get back to their car. CCTV is possibly the only way to go in dealing with this,” she said. She also detailed anti-social and intimidating behaviour by large groups of people gathered at the graveyard. In response to …

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Ann launches council crusade

THE dramatic entry of well-known Clare charity disability campaigner, Ann Norton into the local elections  is certain to add an edge to the contest in the Ennis Electoral Area. The Clare Champion can exclusively reveal that one of the co-founders of the Clare Crusaders’ Clinic will run as an independent candidate and if elected, the Barefield-based candidate has pledged to “give a voice to the most vulnerable in society”. The decision of the mother of three children to enter the race will significantly damage the re-election prospects of outgoing Fianna Fáil Councillor and Barefield native, Brian Meaney, who relied a great deal on securing votes from his home base. Ms Norton will be seen as a strong contender for a seat and could  take votes from dissatisfied Fine Gael and Labour supporters and should also garner a large percentage of any floating protest vote. The 2012 Clare Person of the Year, who enjoys a high public profile in the county …

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