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‘Sickening smell’ persists in Shannon

AS Shannon Town Council discussed the foul odours that have plagued the area this year, it was claimed that local children have been left dizzy and too ill to go to school. While the odour hadn’t been very noticeable for some time, there were complaints that it was as bad as ever in the early part of this week. A report prepared for Tuesday’s town council meeting by Ger Dollard, director of services with Clare County Council and Sean Water, senior engineer, water services, said a major upgrade of Shannon’s wastewater plant and sewer network would cost €22 million, while an interim scheme would cost between €2m and €2.5m. However, they didn’t hold out much hope of the work happening very soon. While Irish Water is set to take over responsibility for maintenance of the network, Mr Dollard and Mr Ward’s report said, “The approach of Irish Water in its early years is likely to concentrate on smaller and/or interim …

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Dromoland staff saddened by President Mandela’s death

A PALL of sadness hung over Dromoland Castle last night after the death of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela (95). The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was jailed for 27 years for anti-apartheid political activity, stayed in Dromoland Castle during a two-day private visit in March 2000. Dromoland Castle managing director, Mark Nolan, told The Clare Champion staff were saddened when they learned about his death. He said Mr Mandela presented his daughter Gillian, who was six at the time, with a signed copy of his autobiography, The Long Walk to Freedom in exchange for a bouquet of flowers. It included a brief note, “To Gilly from Nelson Mandela”. The former ANC leader insisted on meeting all the staff in a formal line up outside the old entrance to the castle. Mr Nolan was struck by his great presence and charisma during the visit. “Nelson Mandela wanted to meet all the staff. There was a whole line including …

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827 people in need of housing

THERE is a very large demand for social housing in Shannon, this week’s meeting of the town council heard, while some of the members said there is a need for new development in the town. Councillor Cathy McCafferty put forward a motion asking for information on the number of applicants and their dependants on the waiting list; the total number of vacant houses in Shannon returned to use this year, the total number of vacant houses in the town, the average time between the council acquiring a vacant house until it is let once again and the number of social houses retrofitted for energy efficiency in Shannon this year. In a written reply, Liam O’Connor of the county council’s housing section stated there are 303 approved applicants for social housing support who have Shannon as their first preference. The number of applicants and dependants combined is 827. However, he stated, “It is likely that a significant proportion of these applicants …

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Clare jobless figures drop

THE  latest Live Register figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the number of people out of work in Clare has dropped by 7% over the last 12 months. The number of people on the Live Register across Clare has fallen by 68, from 9,628 to 8,947 during the last year. Around the county, unemployment figures are down 8% in Ennis, Ennistymon and Tulla and by 3% in Kilrush. “These are yet more encouraging figures from the Live Register, which show that the national unemployment rate has fallen for the seventeenth month in a row, to 12.5%. While this rate remains too high, these figures clearly show that the downward trend in unemployment figures is well established, as more and more people get back to work “The unemployment rate is falling in every region across the country. This is testament to the fact that small businesses are getting back on their feet and once again creating jobs. Jobs growth …

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Jobs going as Shannon firm to close

SHANNON Free Zone is facing another jobs hit, with news on Thursday that electrical switchgear company  Kraus & Naimer will cease production at the end of January. It will result in 63 direct employees losing their jobs, as well as two contractors. There had already been a handful of redundancies there and staff had been on short time. It’s understood that many of the workers have long service behind them and that union officials came to the Shannon plant on Thursday to meet with management. Clare TD Timmy Dooley said he was sorry to hear of the jobs going.  “My initial reacion is that I’m very disappointed to hear of the jobs going. It’s a devastating blow to the workforce and my thoughts are with the people losing their jobs as Christmas approaches.” Local Councillor Sean McLoughlin also said it was a difficult time of year to be receiving the news. “It’s a big blow, particularly at this time of …

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Shannon Airport moving into profit

SHANNON Airport is on the brink of turning a profit for 2013, as its recovery continues. “We’re not into forecasting but, at the end of this year, we expect to turn a modest profit or break-even which, for the airport, is a very good result on a standalone basis,” Shannon Group chair, Rose Hynes, said on Wednesday. She was speaking after the announcement of a new Shannon-Bristol route from Aer Lingus Regional and increases in capacity on its Birmingham and Manchester routes. Not so long ago, Shannon was losing well over €100,000 per week and there were concerns about its sustainability after separation from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA). However, there have been a slew of positive announcements on future services in the second half of this year, while traffic has been growing for some months. Ms Hynes said the decision of Government to abolish the travel tax has been a major help to recovery. “It was significant in prompting …

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Meaney fails to make Fianna Fáil ticket

THREE candidates to contest next year’s local election in the Ennis area were selected by Fianna Fáil on Monday evening. The convention also saw some heated exchanges, with delegates in the Auburn Lodge Hotel criticising the direction from the national executive’s constituencies committee that only three candidates would be selected in Clare on the night. Councillor Brian Meaney, who left the Green Party earlier this year and joined Fianna Fail, failed in his bid to be selected. Sitting Clare County Councillors Pat Daly and Tom McNamara were selected by the delegates, along with former county councillor Bernard Hanrahan, who lost his seat on the county council in 2009. Following the announcement of the result, Councillor Meaney said he was aware when entering the process that it would be an “uphill task”. He expressed disappointment at coming “bottom of the heap” adding, “I have spent 25 years operating in politics in Clare and I have worked hard on behalf of the …

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Doctors departures are a ‘crushing blow’

THE shock departure of three registrars from Ennis Hospital has been described as a “crushing blow” for local acute services. Two experienced senior registrars, who treated patients in both Ennis and St Joseph’s Geriatric hospitals for over six years, have tendered their resignations. It is expected that Dr Kamal and Dr Haroon will finish up by the end of the year, while Dr Umbreen has decided not to renew her contract, which was up at the start of December. The Clare Champion has learned that the introduction of a new rota system, which involves registrars carrying out the task of senior house officers (SHO) after 5pm, which would be a demotion following years of training, was a major factor that influenced their decisions to leave. The Mid-West HSE has played down their departures stating “there is nothing unusual in doctors moving from one hospital to another”. “The employer is obliged to obey the law and, in this case, the European …

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