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McNamara seeks Redmond commemoration

CLARE Labour TD Michael McNamara has asked that Willie Redmond, who was MP for East Clare from 1892 to 1917, be included in the programme of commemorations relating to significant events in Irish history between 1912 and 1922.  Redmond’s death in the First World War at the Battle of Messines in Belgium caused a by-election in East Clare from which Eamon de Valera emerged triumphant. “The changing course of events consigned Redmond to a minor place in Irish history,” Deputy McNamara said. “A native of Wexford and brother of the leader of the Irish Home Rule Party John Redmond, Willie was a popular attractive figure who was imprisoned for his Land League activities. He never waived in his loyalty to Parnell even after the latter’s fall. He disliked British rule in Ireland and his decision to fight in the First World War at the age of 54 was not an easy one. However, he believed that Ireland would suffer the …

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Christmas closure of rehab unit

THE lack of public rehabilitation services for patients following the closure over Christmas of a unit in St Joseph’s Geriatric Hospital, Ennis has provoked anger. The Rehabilitation Unit in St Joseph’s, which can accommodate 11 male and 11 female patients, was closed at short notice on Monday, December 23 last. It also provides respite support for Clare carers, who are looking after family members that require 24-hour care, such as Alzheimer’s patients. This is the first time that this unit closed in the last four or five years. While the HSE is unable to give a definite date for the reopening of this unit, the agency predicted this service would resume “when demand increases, most likely next week”. HSE West Health Forum member, Councillor Brian Meaney, is “shocked” with its closure and has requested the HSE to allocate whatever resources are necessary to fast track the re-opening of this unit. Councillor Meaney stressed this rehab unit provided a vital recovery …

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New Year’s Day Shots Fired in Ennis

GARDAÍ in Ennis are investigating after shots were  fired at an occupied house in Ennis on the morning of New Year’s Day. A firearm was discharged at Childers Road, Cloughleigh at approximately 5am. It is understood that although the house was occupied at the time no persons were injured during the incident. A man, aged 46, was arrested in connection with the garda investigation and was detained at Ennis Garda Station under the provisions of Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act, 1939 to 1998. He has since been released without charge and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions. Investigations are ongoing and anyone who can assist the gardaí with their enquiries is asked to contact them on 065-6848100.

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Broad support for gay marriage

ELEMENTS within a Government that was damaged by defections after the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill may not have much appetite for a referendum on gay marriage, but it is on the horizon and has been labelled by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore as “civil rights issue of our generation”. Taoiseach Enda Kenny favours same sex marriage too, but when he spoke to The Champion on New Year’s Eve, Clare Fine Gael TD Pat Breen said he’d like some time to pass before the country’s next referendum. “I think that people are a little bit tired of referendums at this stage. Maybe a year without a referendum might be useful to focus on jobs and the action plan that is coming into place in 2014. Obviously, this will be another contentious issue for some people and we had the Protection of Life Bill last year. Sometimes these things can take your mind off the issues that we have to deal with …

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Hundreds turn out to see Clare off

SHANNON Airport’s most popular passengers on New Year’s Day were All-Ireland Champions Clare as some dedicated fans turned up to wish them bon voyage on their  team holiday to the US and Mexico. Some 300 Banner supporters grabbed photos and autographs as the 80 strong party arrived  for the 1.30 p.m. departure to Cancun, Mexico, via Boston. Manager Davy Fitzgerald, with McCarthy Cup in hand, was first to walk through the doors and, more than three months after they claimed the county’s fourth All-Ireland title, was still immediately besieged by young Clare fans eager to get their photograph taken with him. Fitzgerald ensured his young charges were at Shannon early to ensure no fan was left disappointed. There was even a pleasant surprise for the manager himself as among those who stood in for a photo with him and the McCarthy Cup was none other than one of Ireland’s most successful music stars Dolores O’Riordan, fresh from her performance on …

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Strengthening Hawaiian-Irish links

DESPITE the United States being one of Ireland’s most important tourism markets, delivering more than one million tourists to Ireland in 2013, the majority of visitors here come from the east coast. The islands that make up the State of Hawaii are low on the Irish radar and, of course, vice versa. Now however, one of Clare’s sons is at the helm of the Hawaii Tourism Authority and he hopes to see a stronger relationship between the two destinations despite the 7,000-mile distance between them. “While we are oceans apart, I feel like there are more similarities than differences between Hawaii and Ireland, since we are both island communities. I feel like the world is like an island, where you have to learn how to depend and coexist in harmony with one another and with the environment. Everyone learns to pull together to survive economically and sustainably. There is also a strong sense of culture, heritage and tradition that is …

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Hail to the High King

THE night skies over Lough Derg were illuminated with fireworks, as the new year dawned, marking the start of the Brian Boru Millennium Celebrations – Killaloe Ballina 2014. It’s a year-long festival, built around the famous High King of Ireland, who was killed after victory in the Battle of Clontarf  in 1014. The aim of the organising committee is to “reclaim” during 2014 Killaloe’s place as capital of Ireland, as it was during the Clare king’s reign. On New Year’s Eve, people from near and far descended on the twin towns to witness a ceremonial march from four locations to meet at Kincora, the spot where Brian’s palace once stood. In addition to the launch, the festival will include four other key anchor events: Killaloe Ballina St. Patrick’s Festival April Millennium Commemorations Féile Brian Boru 2014, leading a packed summer programme including the Killaloe Pink Ribbon Walk October 10.14 Celebrations The festival will also see the launch of the new National Brian …

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Wolfe Tones Gathering event

THE Gathering has come to a close and one of the last events held in Clare was at Wolfe Tones GAA Club on December 28 when those involved in the club’s juvenile section in 1988 reunited. 1988 was an amazing year for the club, with huge success on the field, as it won every underage A title in Clare in both hurling and football. The club’s second teams also won a number of titles, while the local camogie club, closely associated with Wolfe Tones also tasted success. Kathy Hogan had been involved with preparations for the event and said she was very pleased with how it had gone. “People met up who hadn’t seen each other for ages and there were people home who hadn’t been back for years. It was brilliant, absolutely brilliant.” The Lohan brothers, who would win All Irelands with Clare seven years later were involved in Wolfe Tones underage sides 1n 1988 while Alan Cunningham and …

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