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Free wi-fi for Ennis

ENNIS will soon be switching on to free public wi-fi. Clare County Council has commenced the rollout of free public wi-fi to Ennis town centre as part of a wider plan to introduce open internet access to several other Clare towns. Open wi-fi access was recently introduced to the Upper Market area of Ennis with plans to extend the free service to Parnell Street and Carpark, Abbey Street and carpark, O’Connell Street and O’Connell Square during the coming weeks. Clare County Council, which is funding the initiative, is working with local businesses to install the wi-fi hotspots in an effort to draw shoppers and business people to the town.

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Award for Lough Derg promotion

The role played by three local authorities, including Clare County Council, in developing and promoting tourism in the Lough Derg region has received official recognition at the 2017 Irish Tourism Industry Awards. The Lough Derg Marketing Group (LDMG) was named Best Local Authority Tourism Initiative at an event in Dublin on Friday night attended by Minister for Tourism Shane Ross. The Lough Derg Marketing Group was set up to develop Lough Derg as a key visitor destination. Its membership includes Clare County Council, Tipperary County Council, Galway County Council, Waterways Ireland, Inland Fisheries Ireland, community development organisations, and business and trade representatives. The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC), the umbrella group for the tourism industry in Ireland, organises the Irish Tourism Industry Awards in conjunction with Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland. Designed with the intention of rewarding innovation and excellence in tourism, 14 winners were selected from approximately 250 entries.

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A faster trip from Doolin to Inis Oírr

Tourists visiting the Aran Islands will have their journey time cut by more than half from April, as Doolin Ferry Company has announced that it is to launch a new boat, reducing the journey time from Doolin to Inis Oírr from 35 minutes to 15 minutes. The €2 million investment comes on the back of the redevelopment of Doolin Pier and is expected to generate up to 10 seasonal jobs at the ferry company. Liam O’Brien, who is the son of Bill O’Brien, the director of Doolin Ferry Company, said the new 200-passenger ferry, which will be called the Doolin Express, will be in place from April, offering the fastest crossing time to the Aran Islands. “It’s a new boat and we soft-launched it at the Holiday World Show this week. It will take 200 passengers and you will get to Inis Oírr in 15 minutes. It has an electronic stabilising system to counteract the waves and it is the …

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Seedsavers say – ‘love your garden’

IRISH Seeds Savers Association will hold its annual Love Your Garden Week from next Tuesday to February 12 and is encouraging budding gardeners to come along to the Scariff gardens for some inspiration and tips. Barry Foley of Irish Seed Savers said, “Now is the perfect time of year to start planning your garden for the coming year”. He said there are many things to consider when planning for the new seasons, such as where to plant flowers, how many raised beds to have and what was planted last year? He stressed that all of the work, care, harvesting and eating that lies ahead begins with a seed. “With the daylight hours increasing, February is a great month to get back to the garden. Cleaning out the polytunnel or greenhouse, tidying up the raised beds, doing some soil preparation and garden planning should all be on February’s to do list. “To help beat the winter blues, you could even start …

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Springfield residents to seek solutions

RESIDENTS in a flood-prone community in South-East Clare have pledged to focus on proposed concrete solutions when a Government minister of state visits the area next week. Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief Sean Canney will visit Springfield, Clonlara on Monday. While Springfield resident Geraldine Quinlivan welcomed official confirmation of a visit from Minister Canney, she stressed that householders who have suffered so much flooding in recent decades need to hear details of when long-awaited solutions will be delivered on the ground. Following numerous meetings with politicians from all parties, including former Environment Minister Simon Coveney, who visited the flood-stricken area in January 2015, Ms Quinlivan told The Clare Champion that the minister is well aware of the devastation caused by flooding events in 2009 and 2015. “As one resident said to me ‘the time for talking is over, we need action’. I agreed with him totally. Engineers involved in drafting the …

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Fáilte Ireland reveals grand plan

Fáilte Ireland has revealed plans to win €157 million in business tourism for Ireland in 2017. To do so, businesses in the sector will be supported to convert a significant amount of international corporate, incentive and association conference business leads from a €330 million pool of good possibilities identified by the tourism authority. The Fáilte Ireland plans were delivered at a top level industry briefing for people in the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) sector, in Dublin. Attendees, including representatives from the Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau, heard that the tourism authority will this year identify 550 leads for industry partners – a 10% increase on 2016. Paul Keeley, director of business development, emphasised the importance and strength of the business tourism and events sector in Ireland. “The generation of leads with the potential to secure conference business that delivers a higher number of delegates per conference, and therefore greater economic value, is the central focus for Fáilte …

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Kilrush school’s rise in third level attedance

KILRUSH Community School principal, Rock Kirwan, attributes the fact that 100% of last year’s Leaving Cert students went on to study at third level, to a collective ambition to get the best from each student. This figure is a huge increase from 2009, when 51% of students went on to study at third level. Almost 50 students sat the State exam in 2016, while the school currently has a student population of 460. “We just do our best with the students. We try to get the best out of them and, if something like this happens as a result, that’s a bonus. It reinforces our sense of what we’re doing as a school. “Education is changing constantly in difficult times. We’re well aware that an individual child has a personal best. If there’s something hindering them from achieving that personal best, we do what we can to resolve that. Children, whom we feel aren’t achieving their personal best, we will …

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Mental health petition deliver to Dáil

Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Helen McEntee has confirmed work is underway on a roadmap for improved out-of-hours access to mental health services. On Wednesday, the minister received a petition of almost 12,000 signatures from Shari McDaid, on behalf of the Mental Health Reform, A Lust for Life, Uplift and Future Voices at Leinster House. The campaign is calling for the delivery of Holistic, 24/7 community based crisis mental health services across Ireland. Minister McEntee said,”Improving access to mental health services is a key priority for me as minister and work is underway in this area. Anyone who needs help should be able to get it. We need to ensure that seven-day access is in place, across the country, before we move towards the provision of 24/7 access. We must walk before we can run. “I am glad to say that specific actions are in place around many of the issues raised in the petition. For …

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