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Terrorised pensioner cycles 30 miles to sanctuary

By CAROL BYRNE A 67 year-old man cycled 30miles with all his belongings in the dead of night to a nursing home in Ennis to take up residence after being subjected to two robberies at his rural West Clare home, Ennis Circuit Criminal Court has heard. The details emerged at the sentencing hearing of Noel Garry, (20), of Cooraclare; Shane Donnellan, also 20 years of age of Clohanbeg, Cree and Joseph Lernihan, (21) of Finnemore Park, Mullagh on Monday. They all pleaded guilty to robbing €3,000 from the man at his rural home in West Clare on February 25, 2012. Joseph Lernihan also admitted a further charge of robbery of €4,000 from the same man days earlier on February 21, 2012. Detective Garda Donal Corkery said the victim is 68 now and resided alone in a rural isolated location. “The nearest village was two miles away. At 10pm on February 21, 2012, he was at home and heard banging at …

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Girls take centre stage at Flannan’s

St Flannan’s, Ennis 4-9 Laurel Hill, Limerick 0-8 ST Flannan’s College, long known for the prowess of its hurling teams, added a new dimension to their sporting achievements on Saturday afternoon. The senior camogie team are in the limelight following their Munster Colleges A title victory, a first for the school. A solid defence, the ability to take scores when needed, plus outstanding goalkeeping by Doireann Murphy, saw St Flannan’s in control throughout and return from Ballybricken/Bohermore GAA grounds with the silverware. With the underfoot conditions soft, St Flannan’s opened the scoring in the fourth minute through midfielder Aoife Keane. Laurel Hill’s Kate Mulqueen levelled matters when she converted a free just over a minute later. St Flannan’s won the resulting puckout and with the ball laid off to Amie Wiley, the Clarecastle youngster made no mistake as she split the posts to grab the lead for the Ennis school, a lead that was not relinquished. Aoibhean Malone raised the …

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Philomena author for Ennis Book Club Festival

MARTIN Sixsmith, the journalist and author, whose book inspired the critically acclaimed and Oscar nominated film Philomena, will appear at the Ennis Book Club Festival just days after the Academy Awards ceremony. He is just one of many well known authors and personalities who will visit the town in March for the popular festival. Ciana Campbell of the Ennis Book Club Festival voluntary committee said they are delighted to welcome Sixsmith to Ennis, along with the other participants. “It’s all taken off for him; it’s been brilliant so we are looking forward to welcoming him. In fact he seems very enthusiastic about coming here. He will be here just after the Oscars ceremony, but Oscar or no Oscar the success has been phenomenal for him,” she outlined. In 2009 Sixsmith wrote The Lost Child of Philomena Lee about the forcible separation of a Limerick mother and child by the nuns of an Irish convent during the 1950s, and the subsequent …

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€60,000 bill for fire service after storm

CHRISTINE whipped up a storm in Clare ,leaving the local fire service with a €60,000 headache as a result of weather related call-outs. Storm related incidents accounted for almost two thirds of all incidents attended by the Clare Fire Service between December 20 and January 3. Seventy of the 115 incidents involved falling trees when the county was battered by ‘Storm Christine’. Meanwhile, non-weather related callouts (45) were down across the county for a fourth successive year.  The call-out figures for the period were less than those recorded during the corresponding periods in 2010, 2011 and 2012 when the fire service was mobilised to 81, 64 and 48 incidents respectively. Six of the call-outs related to house fires with a further six call-outs involving chimney fires while fire-fighters also attended 14 road-based incidents, four agricultural building fires, three storage building fires and five false alarms. Emergency call-outs during the Christmas period, including to storm-related incidents, were attended by Ennis Fire …

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€71m spend on Clare property

JUST shy of €71 million was spent on residential property in Clare last year, an analysis of figures from the Residential Property Price Register shows, While the average price was €118,472.56, the majority of sales (310 of the 598) were for less than €100,000. The register shows that there were 598 transactions during the 12 months. The second half of the year was busier than the first, with 238 transactions in the first six months and 360 from July to December. July was by far the busiest month, with 89 sales. Interestingly, the end of the year also saw a spike in sales, with November (62 sales) and December (65 sales) the second and third busiest months of 2013. There was just one seven-figure purchase in the county last year, with €1,462,500 paid for Tinerana House, Ogonnolloe, Killaloe. This was more than 12 times the average price. Another 17 properties were sold for prices in excess of €300,000, meaning that …

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Family law court workload “insanity”

THE level of casework in Clare’s Family Law Court has been described as “insanity”. Sixty individual cases were listed at last week’s sitting, compared to a typical list of 25 to 30 cases in other areas. As each case is held in camera, with no member of the public allowed to attend, some litigants in family law proceedings must wait their turn for several hours in the corridors at Ennis Courthouse. Dr Carol Coulter, the director of the Child Care Law Reporting Project (CCLRP) and former Irish Times legal affairs editor, made her dramatic comment about the “insanity” of the long list of Clare cases after attending last week’s court. This was her first time attending the childcare court in Ennis and she expects to be back again in the next eight or nine months. Dr Coulter, commented, “There were 60 cases on the list. That is just insanity. How could you give a proper hearing to 60 cases? Given that …

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Cannabis seizure at Spancilhill

GARDAÍ  seized a quantity of drugs and arrested a man in his 30s in Ennis last  night. In a planned operation, Ennis gardaí searched a house at Kilvoyden, Spancillhill and during the course of the search a quantity of cannabis herb, with an estimated street value (subject to analysis) of €200,000, was discovered. A man in his 30s was arrested at the scene and he is currently detained at Ennis Garda Station under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996. He can be detained for up to seven days. The scene remains preserved and a technical examination of the area will take place later today. This is the latest in a number of cannabis finds in Clare in recent times, while gardaí in other parts of the country have also had similar successes in the ongoing fight against drugs.

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Sean O Rourke

Carol Byrne on RTÉ Radio

OUR crime reporter, Carol Byrne, talked to RTÉ’s Seán O’Rourke earlier today about the tragic case of a 68-year-old West Clare man, who cycled 30 miles at night to check himself into a nursing home. He lived alone and had been terrorised by burglars at his remote home. At Ennis Circuit Court yesterday, three men pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in March. Listen to the interview here.  

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