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National awards for Hayes and Durack

‘Clare Champion Sports Editor Seamus Hayes and former Clare hurling goalkeeper Seamus Durack were among the GAA giants receiving awards at a special ceremony in Dublin on Friday evening. Dublin’s Barney Rock, Clare’s Seamus Durack and Down’s Greg Blaney were inducted into the Hall of Fame at the 2013 Cadbury Gaelic Writers’ Association Awards at Dublin’s Louis Fitzgerald Hotel. This year’s awards see Rock, Durack and Blaney become the latest GAA legends to be recognised by the Gaelic Writers’ Association. Durack was the star between the posts for the Clare hurlers during the ’70s when he won two National Hurling League medals. He was also recognized for his goalkeeping performances by winning All-Star awards in 1977, 1978 and 1981. Rock was a key figure on the Dublin side that won the 1983 All-Ireland senior football title. He also won four Leinster senior medals for Dublin and three All-Star awards between 1983 and 1985. His son, Dean, was part of this …

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Abbey Street

Photographs focus on Abbey Street doctor

A SERIES of photographs has been rediscovered, providing an invaluable link to life in Abbey Street, Ennis from the late 19th Century. Leonard Costello, who uncovered the photographs in his Dublin home recently, outlined his family background and details of the photographs, some of which feature his father, Robert, as well as Carmody’s Hotel, where a number of people were killed when a floor collapsed during an auction. Leonard is trying jog people’s memories about stories or anecdotes in relation to Abbey Street and would also welcome old photographs. He is yet to confirm the names of some people in the photographs, while the photographer is also a mystery. Leonard has a very special reason for piecing together all the details. “The 100th anniversary of my father’s birth is coming up in two years time and I want to create a family book to commemorate his life. He contributed a great deal as a doctor, especially during his years working …

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Stay a little bit longer

AN innovative marketing strategy has been unveiled by the independent Shannon Airport Authority (SAA) to dramatically increase the stay time of thousands of visitors to Clare. SAA chairman Rose Hynes said the new Shannon Group will market the airport and the former Shannon Heritage visitor attractions, such as Bunratty Castle, King John’s Castle in Limerick and the shop in the Cliffs of Moher, in a far more coherent way. She said the group is also focused on increasing the length of stay for visitors travelling to Clare; trying to move away from the reliance on day trips to the big attractions. Boosted by the Ryanair announcement of the delivery of 300,000 extra passengers by the end of next year, with eight new routes starting next April, Ms Hynes said airport managers would try to sell tickets for their visitor attractions when they are marketing the airport abroad. “We are going to do a variety of things here at the airport. …

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PJ Kelly’s 40 year council service coming to an end?

SPECULATION is mounting that Clare’s longest serving county councillor, PJ Kelly, may not be a candidate in the 2014 local elections next May. The Lissycasey Fianna Fáil councillor has sat on the county council since 1974 and has served with 97 councillors over that period. He was first elected as an Independent councillor in the Miltown Malbay electoral district. He stood for Fianna Fáil in the 1979 local elections. Speaking to The Clare Champion on Wednesday, Councillor Kelly described himself as “undeclared.” A source said that Councillor Kelly will not run if what was described as a “winning substitute” can be located. “I’m in consultation with local supporters,” was all Councillor Kelly was prepared to say on the matter. Fianna Fáil are due to meet next Tuesday to decide upon their local election strategy. By then they will know what Councillor Kelly’s intentions are.  Councillor Bill Chambers has confirmed he will be seeking a nomination to run in the new …

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Fire chief issues bonfire warning

MEMBERS of the general public are being urged not to supply any waste material to persons who do not hold a valid waste collection permit for fear the material will be used to fuel bonfires. Last year the Clare Fire Service sustained substantial costs responding to bonfire-related incidents as well as cleaning up after Hallowe’en bonfires. The fire service attended 10 bonfires at a cost of €11,826 in 2012. “Bonfires are an illegal, dangerous and a costly tradition,” explained Adrian Kelly, Clare Chief Fire Officer. “Bonfires are often built close to houses and other property presenting risks to personal safety and property. Hallowe’en is one the busiest times of the year for the fire services and responding to bonfire call outs creates a strain on existing resources. “I would like people to be aware of the fire safety hazards that arise from illegal bonfires, where the burning of highly combustible materials may lead to serious injuries or death,” he added. …

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Councillor predicts rates rise “Armageddon” for Kilrush

KILRUSH town councillor Tom Prendeville has predicted “Armageddon” for business in the town if rates are increased by up to 16.5% from January 1, 2015. Currently Kilrush has the lowest rates in Clare but with the abolishment of town councils likely to go ahead next year, business rates across Clare will almost definitely be harmonised. “What you will find is that more businesses will go to the wall. The result of that will be that rates will probably increase pro rata. Those that survive will have to pay more money to survive. It’s an Armageddon state of affairs for anybody in business in Kilrush if this harmonisation is going to occur, which it will do from January 2015,” he claimed. “The annual rate of valuation in Kilrush at the moment is €61.93 per square foot. That is sometimes refereed to as the general rate. Clare County Council has a rate of €72.99. So if there is harmonisation of the rates …

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Ennis town dwelling a costly option

LIVING in Ennis has its price it seems. The cost of residential development contribution levies for homes built within the boundaries of Ennis Town Council is over €5,000 more the charges of Clare County Council, writes Jessica Quinn. This has led to one local councillor writing to Minister Phil Hogan urging him to request Ennis Town Council to “immediately” amend its newly adopted development contribution scheme. However, the town council has insisted that the levies are vital for the investment in facilities for the town, adding that the scheme was prepared in accordance with regulations and that the levies have been reduced from what was previously in place. According to the Development Contribution Scheme, levies for residential developments are €9,000 per unit within the town boundary, while Clare County Council’s charge is set at €3,876. Councillor Johnny Flynn this week described the scheme as “flawed” and “unfair” as he called on the minister to intervene. The councillor stated in a …

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Champion making headlines on mental health

THE Clare Champion has been selected as the winner of the Headline Regional Newspaper of the Year Award 2013 for journalism relating to mental health or suicide prevention. Headline, the national media monitoring programme for mental health and suicide, created the award in recognition of the vital role regional newspapers play in promoting positive mental health and stigma reduction in their local communities. “From Headline’s media analysis, The Clare Champion’s coverage was notable for its dedicated focus throughout the year on locally available programmes and support services and endeavouring to discuss the important issue of suicide, while consistently providing further sources of help and information to readers,” media project co-ordinator Jane Arigho said. She continued, “With particular reference to the work of Dan Danaher, the newspaper provided an invaluable channel for real life experiences of mental health problems, which will, no doubt, not only contribute to greater public understanding but also encourage those experiencing difficulties to reach out and seek …

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