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Young Scientist awards for Lisdoonvarna pupils

PUPILS from Mary Immaculate Secondary School in Lisdoonvarna were celebrating on Friday night when the awards were presented at this year’s BT Young Scientist Exhibition at the RDS in Dublin. Stephen O’Connell won the intermediate individual award in the Biological and Ecological Sciences category with his project, Grading Crab Meat – an easier way? In the Social and Behavioural Sciences category, Rhianna McMahon and Keelan McMahon came second in the senior group section with their project, The Changing Geography of the Young Scientist Competition. They also won the EMC Data Hero Award, while Tess Casasin Sheridan and Aoife Doherty won the Geological Survey of Ireland award for their project, Why are the Beaches in Clare Different Colours? There was a record number of entries for the exhibition, which continues until Saturday. The 50th competition saw 2,000 ideas submitted by 4,418 students from across 32 counties. Fifty per cent of secondary schools in the Republic have entered a project for the milestone year. This year’s BT Young …

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Preliminary Clare storm damage bill hits €23.7m

CLARE County Council has estimated the total damage caused by Storm Christine in County Clare at €23,761,043 with Lahinch being the worst affected. At a specially convened meeting of Clare County Council on Friday, members were given an outline of a preliminary storm damage report, which estimated the total damage caused in Lahinch at €5,842,390. The next highest cost of repairs was in Kilbaha, estimated in the region of €3,423,950. Meanwhile, repairs at Cloughaninchy, Quilty are estimated at €2,581,250. Storm damage in New Quay amounted to approximately €1.854m, while the repair works necessary at Carrowdotia in Moneypoint are estimated at €1,115,400. Councillors viewed CCTV footage of the storm captured at Lahinch promenade. A contingency fund of €2,160,095 was also included in the preliminary report, and costs of non-coastal repairs were estimated in the region of €190,000.  Meanwhile, water services issues relating to the storm came to approximately €20,000. Senior engineer Tom Tiernan outlined in the report that the council also …

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€500,000 worth of cannabis seized in West Clare growhouse

GARDAÍ in Kilrush have seized drugs with an estimated street value of €500,000 after they uncovered a growhouse in West Clare this week. The cannabis cultivation operation was located at a house at Breaffa, a townland approximately one mile from the seaside village of Carraigaholt, on Wednesday, January 8. During the operation, gardaí discovered 600 plants growing and evidence of in excess of 500 harvested plants. According to gardaí, but pending analysis, the drugs seized may have a street value of almost €500,000. The search and seizure was part of an operation targeting the cultivation of cannabis in the locality. The scene was preserved and a technical examination of the area has been carried out. Gardaí in Kilrush confirmed there have been no arrests to date and anyone with information is asked to contact Kilrush Garda Station on 065 9080550.

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First Clare personal insolvency court held in Ennis

THE first personal insolvency court to sit in Clare was held before Judge Patrick Meghan at Ennis Courthouse on Thursday. In the case, a protection certificate was granted to a Clare man as part of a personal insolvency arrangement. The single case before the court related to the Clare native’s liabilities of €1.8million. This is the first time the new special circuit court has sat in the county. The matter before the court was the highest liability to come before the personal insolvency court in Ireland to date. The court was set up following the enactment of the Personal Insolvency Act 2012, which not only established the court but also provided for a special circuit court judge to hear these matters. The cases are then processed by the Insolvency Service of Ireland. The first personal insolvency court took place in Monaghan in October 2013 and since that time, there have been 13 further hearings. John Hogan, one of two personal …

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Counting the cost of Christine

REPAIRS to public property along the Clare coast, caused by last weekend’s Storm Christine, is likely to cost millions of euro, according to Clare County Council’s senior engineer, Tom Tiernan. A preliminary estimate of the damage caused is expected to be announced at a specially convened council meeting on Friday. New Quay, Doolin, Lahinch, Liscannor, Seafield in Quilty, Doonbeg, parts of the Loop Head Peninsula, Carrigaholt, Kilbaha, Ross, Knock, Killimer, Kildysart and Ballynacally were the worst affected areas in the county. Many of the damaged coastal roads form part of the Wild Atlantic Way, a touring route stretching down the west coast, launched by Fáilte Ireland last year. “There has been a very serious roads component [to the damage] and not just a roads component but also a roads protection component. If you have a public road running along a coast, that infrastructure is very much exposed to the power of the sea and it requires some level of protection …

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€19m owed to council

CLARE County Council’s debtors’ arrears bill of €19.6 million is adversely affecting its cash flow, a local government auditor has warned. Excluding cities, this is the third-highest amount of money owed to any local authority in the country. The two biggest debtors in 2012 were commercial rates of €9.814m and commercial water of €8.186m. In his latest audit of the council finances, local government auditor, Thomas O’Callaghan has described its collection rate for housing rents and annuities, commercial water, housing loans and commercial rates in 2012 as unsatisfactory. Mr O’Callaghan stated the total amount of money owed under these categories by December 31, 2012 is “having an adverse impact on the council’s cash flow”. The auditor noted the council has made accumulated provisions for bad debts of €12.6m. Describing the outstanding debts owed as “alarming”, Councillor PJ Kelly claimed this was caused by a “systems failure” and a “management deficit”. Stating that a lot of this “legacy debt” had built …

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Jennifer Lauren leaves Ireland on United Airlines flight

The niece of fashion designer Ralph Lauren, Jennifer Lauren, who was convicted of intoxication on an aircraft, has left Ireland this morning, Thursday, on board a United Airlines Flight to Newark. The New York based jewellery designer was yesterday convicted of two charges under the Air Navigation and Transport Act 1973 at a sitting of Ennis District Court, for unruly conduct on board a Delta Airlines flight from Barcelona to JFK in New York. The Clare Champion has learned that Ms Lauren spent a third night in Shannon, her second at the Shannon hotel The Oakwood Arms, before being able to get a flight out of the country. Delta Airlines, as a policy, will not fly those involved in such incidents. Ms Lauren’s passport was returned to her at 5pm on Wednesday after being held by gardai while her case was at hearing. The United Airlines flight departed Shannon this morning at 9.43am.

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Peninsula badly hit by extreme weather

FOUR families in Kilcredaun, Carrigaholt were marooned last weekend when high tide hit the picturesque townland, which is home to a historic lighthouse. The flooding resulted in the townland being rendered effectively an island from last Friday to Monday. A total of six houses were cut off by the flooding. The grounds of the nearby O’Curry’s Irish College were also adversely affected by flooding, following the breaching of the nearby sea wall. A number of houses in Carrigaholt village were also flooded when the village sea wall was breached at high tide, while the approach wall to the village, at the bottom of Moyarta Hill, was also damaged. The entry road to the village was completely impassable at the height of the tides. Geoff Magee, who along with his wife, Sue, runs Dolphin Watch in Carrigaholt, was one of the Kilcredaun residents who found themselves living on a temporary island. He underlined the urgency of repairing the damaged sea wall, …

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