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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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A drugs and money lending market in Ennis

DRUG dealers and moneylenders are openly operating in Ennis’ town centre, it has been claimed by local traders. Lower Market Street Resident Traders have also raised concerns about anti-social behaviour in the area, with the matter now on the agenda for the next meeting of the town’s Joint Policing Committee. While confirming the issues will be discussed at the JPC, Superintendent Derek Smart stated there have been no complaints made to gardaí and he urged that if anyone has concerns, to contact them. “The agenda for the JPC is the only record I have of any issues there; nobody has come forward to give any details of any incidences. From the reporting to me, there is nothing out of the ordinary compared to any other area of the town,” he said. The concerns of the traders were outlined at a recent meeting called by the Purple Flag Steering Committee and Ennis Chamber on the continuation of extended opening hours, or …

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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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