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SVP seeks unwanted gifts

THE Society of St Vincent de Paul is urging those with unwanted gifts to donate them to their shop in Ennis, where they will be used to help those in need. The society is delighted with the generosity shown by members of the public during their recent flag day collection in Ennis. “Without that support we simply could not do our work. This allowed us to support the many families who needed our help during the festive season and into the New Year. We also wish to thank all those people and schools who donated toys and food items.” Donations or unwanted gifts can be sent or dropped in to the SVP Shop at 84 Parnell Sreet, Ennis.

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Online initiative to grow Seed Savers

The East Clare based national charity, Irish Seed Savers, was dealt a financial blow in recent months arising from funding cuts, which led to redundancies at the facility. Last month it launched an online campaign at www.indiegogo.com to raise funds to help save the facility and secure its future. Although nowhere near the €100,000 it needs, funds are trickling in and to date, over €4,000 has been pledged. Irish Seed Savers Association was set up in 1991 to save Ireland’s heritage and heirloom vegetable seeds, potatoes, grains and fruit trees from extinction. Since then it has grown to a stage where it has over 800 varieties of organic, open pollinated heritage seeds in a purpose seed bank, which was opened in 2012 by President Michael D Higgins. Speaking at that time President Higgins said, “From little acorns, oak trees grow and from modest beginnings in 1991, the Irish Seed Savers Association has grown to such an extent that impressively it now …

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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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