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Mandela at Shannon

NELSON Mandela and his wife, Graca Machel transited Shannon Airport on April 7, 2000. He hadn’t sought re-election as President of South Africa the previous year but undertook a number of foreign engagements. This historic moment was captured by Mary O’Reilly,  Shannon Images

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Christmas tree throwing for charity

THE Mayors of Ennis and Clare this week joined the Clare Cystic Fibrosis Association in ‘lumbering up’ to launch the third annual Irish Christmas Tree Throwing Championship. The event, which is based on age-old lumberjack traditions and is commonplace across Germany and Austria, will see members of the public competing to achieve the longest distance for throwing a standard 1.5 metre tree. Organisers, Ennis Town Council and Clare County Council are hoping to make the January 5 event at Active Ennis Tim Smyth Park a record breaker. Last year’s winner, John O’Dea from Limerick launched a Christmas tree 10.2 metres, just less than 2 metres short of the World Record held by Klaus Pubnaz who hurled a tree a distance of 12m at an event in Germany three years ago.

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East Clare objection to water abstraction plan

STRONG opposition to controversial plans for the abstraction of over 350 million litres of  water daily from Lough Derg to address waster shortages in the Dublin region by 2020 was expressed at a recent public meeting in Scariff. This comes hot on the heels of criticism of the Government’s failure to guarantee  water levels on Lough Derg will remain at a specified level at all times in the event this proposal, which has to be approved by An Bord Pleanála goes ahead. East Clare Tourism organised the public meeting in Scariff to support the campaign led by the River Shannon Protection Alliance (RSPA) against this plan. It was decided East Clare Tourism in conjunction with RSPA and local fishing clubs will continue their campaign against this proposal. RSPA has already dismissed reassurances from Minister of State, Deputy Fergus O’Dowd that the proposed water “abstraction” from Lough Derg “can only be done properly in environmental terms” as “empty promises”.

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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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