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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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Additional finance for flood damage

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan has confirmed that additional funding will be made available to deal with the aftermath of flooding due to the Catherine and Bridget storms. Speaking in Limerick this Monday afternoon, where he viewed flood damage,  he said he expected that the scale of devastation caused in recent weeks would mean that more money would be needed from central Government. Mr Noonan said the funding would come from the national budget and that the amounts required would be affordable in the overall national context. Individual local authorities are estimating the cost of damage and then when the overall Minister of State for the Office of Public Works Brian Hayes said a full assessment of the damage in western counties in January was due this week and a memo would be brought before a Cabinet meeting next week.

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Worse flooding to hit Clare

AS Clare County Council tots up the massive bill for the combined damaged caused by storms Christine and Bridget,  Met Éireann has forecast worse if still to come in terms of flooding. The local authority says most areas affected by severe weather in early January were again affected by the weekend storm with further structural damage reported along Clare’s Atlantic coastline and at some locations along the Shannon Estuary. Some remedial flood defence works carried out in recent weeks have been significantly undone in places as a result of the weekend weather, including at The Flaggy Shore, Seafield, and Kilbaha. Lahinch promenade  remains closed to the public until further notice after the walkways and seawall suffered further damage at the weekend. A number of other locations, which were not significantly affected by previous storms, have suffered infrastructural damage and flooding including Kilkee, Spanish Point and Moyasta. The  focus is on the cleanup of storm affected areas in addition to  remedial works …

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Mopping up after storms

COUNTY Clare is in mop up mode after the weekend storm, which undid much of the repair works carried out following Catherine a few weeks ago.  A considerable a mount of flooding occurred inland as a result both high tides and water pouring off the lands early on St Bridget’s Day and this was followed by further damage next day. A number of families found themselves, once again cut off by surrounding flood water.   Flooding on the main road into Shannon  

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Geopark shortlisted for international tourism award

THE management and promotion of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark as a sustainable destination has been officially recognised by one of the world’s foremost tourism and travel award schemes. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has confirmed the Geopark is one of 18 finalists for its 2014 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, just two months after the Clare destination was shortlisted for a top honour in the 2013 World Responsible Tourism Awards. The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are one of the highest accolades in the global travel and tourism industry, recognising sustainable tourism best practices in businesses and destinations worldwide, ranging from local destinations to global hotel groups, international airlines, luxury tour operators and small eco-lodges. Award applications were received this year from 56 countries, representing all continents. The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark has been shortlisted alongside Bonito (Brazil) and Temes SA in Costa Navarino (Greece) as Destination Award finalists for “showing commitment to supporting and …

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