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Prison sentence imposed on rape charge

By Jessica Magee and Emer Connolly A Kilmihil man who raped a Brazilian woman he had asked to clean his house has been sentenced to seven and a half years, after a judge said he couldn’t “buy himself out” of a custodial sentence. Father-of-four Thomas Egan (47), a developer, of Cahermurphy, Kilmihill, paid over €10,000 in court to be forwarded to his victim, who has since returned to Brazil. Mr Justice Barry White suspended the final three and a half years of the sentence, noting that Egan had a previous “unblemished record” apart from a minor road traffic offence. Egan was convicted last May by a jury at the Central Criminal Court of raping the 23 year-old woman at a house in Tipperary on July 5, 2010. He had denied the charge. Egan admitted having sex with the woman, but told gardaí it was consensual and that she had not shown any fear. During the trial, Seán Gillane SC prosecuting, …

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Ennis a winner with hurling fixture

ENNIS Chamber has welcomed the added economic boost which came to the town with the hosting of Clare’s opening National Hurling League game against Kilkenny. “The success of the All-Ireland winning senior hurlers in winning their first Allianz hurling league match was made a little sweeter for the local economy by the thousands of people who came to Ennis to see the game yesterday.  The welcome reprieve in the recent stormy weather conditions also meant that spectators were able to travel in comfort.  Given the calibre  of teams in Division 1 of the league and as kingpins in hurling, Kilkenny attracted many of their supporters to follow their team to the West of Ireland,” commented Chamber CEO, Rita McInerney. “Ennis Chamber welcomes the playing of such league games in the County Grounds of Cusack Park.  It brought a real buzz to the town at an otherwise quiet time of year.  Local hotels reported a busy weekend both for Valentine’s and …

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A marker against fuel fraud

THE Freight Transport Association of Ireland (FTA Ireland), has welcomed the announcement by the UK and Ireland governments that they are to introduce a marker that will help tackle fuel fraud. This has to be good news to help reduce fuel laundering,” the organisation general manager, Neil McDonnell said. The product will be used to mark rebated fuels, including the off-road diesel commonly known in the UK as ‘red diesel’, in a move that will boost both countries’ fight against illegal fuel laundering. The marker will help HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Irish Revenue Commissioners tackle the criminal market in off-road diesel, marked with a red dye in the UK and green in Ireland, and also kerosene primarily used for heating oil. Neil McDonnell commented, “FTA welcomes any effort such as this to tackle fuel laundering. The costs of fuel laundering to the exchequer, to fair competition, to the environment are simply too high, and are not being …

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Shannon’s hangar expansion programme

SHANNON Airport’s decision to expand its programme of hangar development has the potential to lead to significant growth in the aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector as well as the composites industry throughout the Mid-West Region, Senator Tony Mulcahy has stressed. The Shannon-based senator was reacting to the announcement by Shannon Airport that it is to embark on a programme of new hangar development after achieving full occupancy of its existing capacity. He said the new development will help Shannon to position itself as “a one-stop-shop for all airline needs”, including use of hangars to house aircraft and pilot-training, but primarily for the MRO sector. “It is clear that the future viability of Shannon Airport and surrounding businesses cannot be justified through passenger growth alone, and that the development of ancillary aviation business is key. “The level of existing use of aviation-specific hangars along with the planned construction of a new hangar means that Shannon Airport is working towards establishing …

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Mayor of Clare Joe Arkins

Mayor defends NY parade decision

MAYOR of Clare Joe Arkins is standing by his decision to participate in the New York St Patrick’s Day Parade, despite a call to follow the  boycott stance taken by New York Mayor, Bill de Blasio in support of gay rights groups. Mayor Blasio has decided not to march in his own city parade over the long standing exclusion of American gay and lesbians  publicly express their sexual orientation under a banner. Councillor Arkins and Ennis Town Mayor, Mary Coote-Ryan have been invited by the Clare Association in New York to represent local authorities in the New York Parade. Lesbian and Gay Bisexual and Transgender director Brian Sheehan from Kilrush has appealed to the two Clare first citizens to seriously reconsider their participation and follow the “moral leadership” shown by Mayor Blasio by opting out of the parade. Stressing the two mayors should still travel to New York and attend any meetings promoting industry and tourism in Clare, Mr Sheehan would …

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Huge majority vote for industrial action at Shannon Airport

THE prospect of a strike at Shannon Airport has moved closer, as a ballot on industrial action showed a massive majority of SIPTU members favouring it, due to a long-running dispute over pensions. Workers at Dublin and Cork airports, as well as Aer Lingus, have also voted for industrial action but SIPTU pension policy adviser, Dermot O’Loughlin, said the ballot of Shannon Aviation Authority members was particularly one-sided. On Tuesday he said, “There were record turnouts and results in Cork and Dublin but they were trumped beyond belief in Shannon. Ninety-eight per cent have voted for taking industrial action and 96% said their preference was for strike action.” He said there had been a 90% turnout and that both that figure and the resounding vote in favour of strike action were “amazing”. Workers at the three State airports and at Aer Lingus are all covered by the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme, which has a deficit of a reported €780 million. …

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Flooding at Ballycar is disrupting rail services.

Ennis-Limerick rail line closed for at least six weeks

AS so often happens when there is heavy rain, the railway line between Ennis and Limerick is closed due to flooding and Iarnród Éireann have said it will be at least six weeks until it reopens. In the interim Iarnród Éireann say there will be bus transfers operating, at scheduled train times, and they will also serve Sixmilebridge. Train services between Ennis and Galway will remain as normal. In a statement on Tuesday Iarnród Éireann said; “The line has flooded following a significant increase in water levels at Ballycar Lough due to the recent sustained heavy rainfall, and the slow draining nature of the karst landscape in the area.   Should the recent rainfall patterns persist, this will extend significantly the duration of the closure of the rail line.” The statement also said; “Iarnród Éireann had raised the track level by 60 centimetres at Ballycar in 2003 to mitigate against the effects of flooding.  However, the current flood levels are at …

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Shannon Airport seeks retail partner

By Owen Ryan SHANNON Airport has launched a tender process to secure a partner to operate its historic travel retail outlet. The Shannon Group has also announced that it will rename its store Shannon Duty Free, the original name for the travel retail offering at Shannon, which was the global birthplace of duty free. It will happen when the current service agreement for the space, which has been known as The Loop for the last few years, winds up in June. The shop is currently operated by Shannon Airport Authority, under a transitional agreement with Aer Rianta International, following Shannon’s separation from the State Airport’s group at the start of 2013. However Shannon Group is now seeking a joint venture partner for the travel retail business and it formally advertised on the Moodies Report, the information website for the global travel retail sector. Announcing the decision to seek a joint venture, Shannon Group CEO Neil Pakey said; “In keeping with …

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