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O’Neill and McInerney seek FF nomination

FORMER Clare County Board GAA chairman Michael O’Neill will be among the candidates at the West Clare Fianna Fáil convention on Monday evening in the Armada Hotel at 8pm. Ennis Chamber chief executive, Doonbeg woman Rita McInerney, has also indicated she is very likely to stand. The convention will select candidates to run in the new West Clare constituency in the 2014 Local Elections. Nominations are open until Friday evening. Sitting county councillors Bill Chambers, Pat Keane and PJ Kelly have also been nominated, along with sitting Kilrush town councillor Tom Prendeville. It is believed three candidates will be selected from the old West Clare constituency, to run for Fianna Fáil in the new eight-seat constituency. However, it is unclear ifanyone else will be added to the possible list of three candidates, who are likely be joined in the same constituency by North Clare councillors Michael Hillery and Richard Nagle. Both are nominated by the north Clare branch, who will …

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‘Paranoia’ strikes Kilrush criminals

RECENT garda operations in Kilrush have created a sense of “paranoia” among a criminal element in the town. Garda Superintendent Seamus Nolan outlined this view at Wednesday morning’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting in Kilrush, the day after 11 people were arrested in the town as part of an investigation into unlawful money lending. The investigation, which has been ongoing for several months, is focused on people suspected to be engaged in unlicensed money lending. The searches, which commenced at 7am on Tuesday morning, were carried out at a number of premises in Kilrush, including private and business premises and involved up to 100 gardaí, including the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), Regional Support Unit, special detective units from Galway, the National Criminal Intelligence Unit, as well as officials from Revenue, Social Welfare and Clare County Council. Five men, aged between 18 and 55 years and six females, aged between 20 and 49, were arrested and detained at various garda stations …

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Hospital staff take work home

CLERICAL staff at Ennis Hospital were given computer memory sticks to complete their work at home, on an unpaid basis. The Clare Champion has learned that this work included letters to patients informing them of appointments and insurance claims but excluded patient medical records or information about individual medical conditions IMPACT issued a recent instruction to its low paid members to desist from the practice of removing any Health Service Executive (HSE) documentation, in hard or electronic format, from the hospital for completion outside of normal working hours. With some staff working over 10 additional hours a week on an unpaid basis, without any extra leave, the union has also warned that chronic staffing shortages are resulting in “clinical and corporate risks” to patients and staff. If another two full-time clerical officers leave and are not replaced, the union claimed the proper day-to-day administration of the hospital would collapse. The Mid-West HSE has stated any union issues of concern to …

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Anger over dangerous materials incident

PEOPLE in Shannon who were already concerned about public health, due to foul odours plaguing the town, had their fears heightened on Sunday as emergency services, including bomb disposal officers, transported materials from Enva in Smithstown to Bunratty for disposal. The incident took place shortly after 7am on Sunday morning, and a garda spokesman confirmed to The Clare Champion that roads had to be closed for a short period of time to allow the material to be moved. According to the spokesman, there were about five or six barrels of material of concern to be moved. He said two army trucks, two fire brigades, two garda cars and some ambulances travelled in convoy. The Clare Champion approached Enva for comment on the matter but calls had not been returned at the time of writing. When Shannon Town Council met on Tuesday night, there was intense anger about the incident with complaints that people living in the town feel unsafe and …

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Eleven arrested in Kilrush money lending investigation

As part of an ongoing investigation into unlawful money lending, gardai in Clare have arrested 11 people following searches in the Kilrush on Tuesday morning. The searches, which commenced at 7am, were carried out at a number of premises in the area, including private and business premises and involved local gardaí assisted by Criminal Assets Bureau, Regional Support Unit, Special Dectective Units from Galway, the National Criminal Intelligence Unit as well as offcials from Revenue, Social Welfare and Clare County Council. The arrests include five males aged between 18 and 55  years, and six females aged between 20 and 49 years. All those arrested are detained at stations in Clare, Limerick and Galway under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. The investigation, which has been ongoing for several months, centres around complaints received from various individuals and is focused on persons suspected to be engaged in unlicensed money lending.

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Fish farm row is ‘unseemly’ says BIM chief

THE public disagreement between two State bodies regarding the proposed fish farm off the North Clare Coast is “a very poor reflection of the public sector”, the head of one of them has admitted. Inland Fisheries Ireland and Bord Iascaigh Mhara have come out on opposite sides of the plan by BIM for the development of a 456-hectare organic salmon farm between the North Clare coast and Inis Oirr. BIM submitted an application for the farm, which would produce 15,000 tonnes of salmon per year, to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine last January. Speaking to The Clare Champion Bord Iascaigh Mhara CEO Jason Wholly described the disagreement between BIM and IFI as beyond unseemly. “Unseemly is putting it mildly and it shouldn’t be the case and it is a very poor reflection of the public sector in Ireland and, indeed, the Government that this is the case,” he stated. A key area of disagreement between the two sides …

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€2 million spent on six Traveller homes

STOVES and heating systems had to be replaced at six council-owned homes, which are just a decade old, at a cost of about €45,000, it emerged this week. A meeting of North Clare Electoral Area, councillors heard that over €2 million has been spent on six Traveller accommodation units in Ennistymon and it would cost a further €100,000 to install CCTV at the site. According to figures from Clare County Council’s housing section, the initial construction of St John’s Park in Ennistymon was €1.7 million in 2003. Maintenance costs to date have been “in the region of  €10,000 per annum. However, this will rise to €45,000 in 2013 due to the replacement of heating systems and kitchen units in the six houses.” Fires at two houses in the development caused a total of €85,000 worth of damage, according to the council. “Refurbishment costs for the two fire-damaged houses are estimated at €25,000 and €60,000,” Niall O’Keeffe, administrative officer in the …

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Loggerhead Leon on the mend

A LOGGERHEAD turtle, which is unsuited to cold water, was obviously uncomfortable in the sea around Quilty, where it was stranded last week. On November 9, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) and the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation were alerted after the stranded turtle was discovered. It was subsequently brought to the Galway Atlantaquarium, where it is being cared for. The turtle was given the name Leon after the famous shipwreck in Quilty. Simon Berrow of the IWDG said things are looking up for the unfortunate turtle.  “It’s in the Galway Atlantaquarium and it’s quite active now. The local county council vet in Galway is providing some veterinary input and she’s very thorough. As of Monday, it’s in a bigger tank and it’s now in fully salt water. It had been in fresh water because it was dehydrated and they can absorb water through their skin. It has a bit of an infection on its shell and they’re …

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