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Corofin man dies in accident

A COROFIN man in his late sixties has died following a traffic accident in Ennis on Sunday night. He was Joseph O’Loughlin of Newtown, Corofin and formerly of Roxton, Corofin, known to everyone as “small Joe”. The accident occurred in the Upper Market Street area of the town at around 10pm when the car being driven by the deceased hit a parked vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene and his body was taken to University Hospital Limerick for a post mortem examination. Three others were in the car at the time. All three were taken to hospital but were later discharged, one with a broken arm. An area of The Market remained sealed off on Monday morning, as gardaí continued a technical examination of the accident scene.  

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Clare ‘blacklisted’ for jobs

CLARE has been “blacklisted” when it comes to job creation according to Ennis councillors, who this week criticised the IDA for not bringing employment to the county. Councillor Tommy Brennan has demanded that Ennis Town Council write to both Minister Richard Bruton and the IDA to ask “what they have against County Clare”. Councillor Johnny Flynn commented that the IDA should change its name to “Industrial Development for Dublin, Cork and Limerick”. This week’s meeting of Ennis Town Council saw Councillor Flynn call for an Ennis and District Economic Taskforce to be set up in preparation for the upcoming abolition of Ennis Town Council. He urged that the taskforce should target unemployment, job creation and implement the actions of the Clare County Council Enterprise Strategy. The councillor stated that despite recent jobs announcements by the IDA, “unfortunately Ennis doesn’t seem to be getting any of these”. He went on, “Ennis should be standing up and forming a group to look …

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Mayor of Clare Joe Arkins

Bottom of the pile in 2014 local government funding

CLARE County Council has slipped from third worst to the bottom of the list in a league table of allocations under the Local Government Fund (LGF). Councillors criticised the reduction in national funding under the LGF at the authority’s budget estimates meeting on Wednesday. Mayor of Clare Joe Arkins revealed he contacted a representative of Environment Minister Phil Hogan to complain about the reduction in the LGF and Clare’s place on the bottom of the list. Councillor Arkins said he was informed that Clare’s LGF allocation had to be considered in the context of the expenditure by Irish Water and other local government payments. Councillor Tom McNamara noted that Clare had a compliance rate of about 75% for the Household Charge and over 90% for the Property Tax and yet it found itself bottom of the list in terms of LGF. Councillor Richard Nagle said it looked as if the council was going back to the bad old days of …

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Signs to highlight ‘Ireland’s largest lingerie section’?

ENNIS’ connection to the hit television show Fr Ted could soon be immortalised, with calls being made for a sign to be erected in the town declaring that the county capital is the home of ‘Ireland’s Largest Lingerie Section’. Scenes for the Christmas special of the show in which Fr Ted and other priests are trapped in the department store were filmed in Dunnes Stores in Ennis. According to Councillor Brian Meaney, Ennis should capitalise on its relationship with the show by putting up a sign on Friars Walk. Speaking at a meeting of Ennis Town Council this week, Councillor Meaney commented, “Fr Ted now has cult status. There is significant interest in events like Ted Fest and there are a number of groups involved in a Ted Trail, organising visits to places associated with the show. We’re not inventing anything here; this is a point of interest.” Councillor Peter Considine questioned the validity of the claim that the store …

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Shannon councillors in commercial rates row

HARSH words and some insults were traded at Tuesday night’s meeting of the town council, as the emotive issue of high commercial rates for businesses was aired yet again. Independent Cathy McCafferty put forward a motion calling on the county council to rescind fees charged at recycling centres, significantly reduce commercial rates and calling on the Minister for either Finance or the Environment to clarify which specific local services the local property tax is supporting. However, her own voting record was queried by Councillor Patricia McCarthy, who noted that the Derry native had backed increasing the town charge for Shannon from what was originally proposed in the draft budget for 2014. Councillor McCafferty was one of a majority of councillors who last month voted to reduce the town charge from 2.11 to 2.06. However, the original proposal from the council executive had been to cut it to 1.90, before a majority of the members opted to up it, to provide …

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€8 million ‘shambles’ for council

The Department of the Environment’s decision to scrap a national loan scheme means the council will have to pay off in the region of €8 million for land it purchased for about €5 million. Clare County Council will have to fork out an additional estimated €358,000 each year for the next 20 years to pay unexpected loan charges for undeveloped land in Ennistymon and Feakle. The circumstances surrounding the purchase of land for social housing in North and East Clare and the ending of a scheme to pay off loans taken out for social and affordable housing that was never built has been condemned as a “shambles” by Councillor Pat Burke. Having criticised expenditure totalling more than €5m for this social housing landbank, councillors had hoped that the national exchequer would bear the cost of paying off the loan debts when the council requested its transfer to the Land Aggregation Scheme (LAS). The scheme was set up by the Department …

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‘Organised begging’ heavily criticised

ORGANISED begging is taking place on the streets of Ennis, it has been claimed, as Ennis Town Council was urged to make the county capital a “begging free zone”. This week’s meeting of the local authority saw Councillor Paul O’Shea urge that Ennis Town Council work with the appropriate authorities, such as social welfare inspectors, to ascertain if those who beg on the streets are in receipt of social welfare payments. He stated that the town council should “endeavour to make Ennis a begging free zone in 2014, so as to encourage tourism in our county town”. He went on, “I don’t want to sound inhumane but there are certain people throughout the town who continue to beg. Tourist buses are coming in and they are being met by beggars and I have seen the same beggars who are in Ennis in Clonmel, County Tipperary. Is this organised begging? If it is, we need to do something about it.” According …

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Town council counting the cost of legal challenges

ENNIS Town Council is facing legal bills totalling more than €500,000 defending two separate High Court challenges to national legislation and regulation. A case involving a challenge to the Ennis Casual Trading Bylaws 2011 has resulted in an overall cost of €147,000 to the council. A separate challenge regarding the deregulation of taxis, currently awaiting decision in the High Court, is expected to cost around €400,000. The figures were released during this week’s meeting of Ennis Town Council to agree its budget for 2014. Town manager Ger Dollard stated the council is “seriously concerned regarding the number of cases falling to the council to defend but representing a challenge to national legislation and regulation”. Following a number of High Court hearings, the council secured a settlement in relation to the case taken regarding the Ennis Casual Trading Bylaws 2011, which represented a challenge to the Casual Trading Act 1995 and, in particular, the status of casual trading vis-a-vis market rights. …

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