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Treatment plant the source of Shannon odours

SHANNON has been plagued by foul odours for months and an audit report carried out by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) into the town’s wastewater treatment plant says much of the blame lies with inadequacies at the plant. The audit was carried out in mid-October by John Feehan and Joseph Hunter of the EPA, with consultant John Kilgallon. Their report had seven main findings, one of which was that the plant was “generating significant hydrogen sulphide odours”. Hydrogen sulphide generates a strong smell similar to that of rotten eggs. Other findings were that the plant was designed and built without preliminary treatment facilities and that the plant is “currently achieving very little in terms of wastewater treatment’. The report’s sixth finding is that “The problems identified at the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) must be addressed and if any residual odour sources remain, they can then be more easily identified and remedied”. The final one stated, “Urgent priority measures need …

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€36m in farm payments

JUST over €36m has been paid to Clare farmers under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) and Disadvantaged Area Scheme (DAS) in recent weeks. The figures, which have been obtained by Clare Senator Tony Mulcahy, show that 5,817 of 6,000 SPS applicants in Clare have received payments totalling €23.765m since October 16, with the remaining 183 applicants due to receive their payments in the coming weeks. The percentage of SPS applicants paid to date is higher in Clare (96.95%) than in any other county. According to Senator Mulcahy, the percentage of payments made to Clare applicants under DAS is also the highest in the country at 85.65%, with 5,349 out of 6,245 farmers having already received combined payments of €12.254m. Senator Mulcahy stated, “The issuing of payments under the Single Payment Scheme has occurred earlier this year as the result of a European Commission’s decision in September to accommodate beleaguered farmers, who are experiencing difficulties due to inclement weather conditions. “The …

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1.9 million target for Shannon in 2014

WHILE there has been some reluctance to publicly state short term targets for a recovering and restructured Shannon Airport, a report by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport states that the aim is to have 1.9 million passengers in 2014. That would mean an increase of just over 500,000 on 2012, meaning around 10,000 extra people per week would have to be using the airport in 2014. It also notes the more long term target of 2.5 million passengers by 2018, a figure that Leo Varadkar said has to be met to give the airport a sustainable future. The report containing the information was compiled by the Oireachtas Joint Committee of the Oireachtas and is on the General Scheme of the Shannon Aviation Services and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2013. The committee that prepared the report is chaired by Mayo TD John O’Mahony. Fourteen other TDs, one of which was Clare’s Timmy Dooley and six senators are also on it. One …

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‘Huge negative impact’ if rates rebate decreased

A REDUCTION in the rates rebate for vacant commercial buildings, proposed in the Local Government Bill 2013, “would have a huge negative impact on Shannon Airport”, it has been claimed by a Fianna Fáil TD. Under the current system, commercial properties are subject to rates payable to the local authority but, in Clare, a 100% rebate is subsequently applied where the property is unoccupied. In the Dublin City, Cork City and Limerick City local authority areas, property owners are entitled to only a 50% refund of their annual commercial rates liability if the property is empty. The new bill, which is being debated in the Dáil on Thursday, will standardise vacancy refunds across the country at 50%. Deputy Timmy Dooley said he plans to raise the issue in the Dáil. “I am deeply concerned about the impact it would have on landlords across the county, recognising that there has been a considerable downturn in commercial activity. Landlords are under enormous …

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Mayor of Clare Joe Arkins

Pride Of Place ceremony in Derry

THREE Clare voluntary groups will be hoping to emulate the success of organisations like The Clare Crusaders, Kilnaboy Youth Club, Tuamgraney and other Clare communities in previous years by being named a category winner at the IPB Pride of Place awards ceremony in Derry on Saturday. Clare County Council has this year selected An Sean Dún Housing Estate in Roslevan, Mountshannon Community Council and Miltown Malbay Tidy Towns to participate in the annual All-Ireland competition, which aims to recognise and celebrate the vital contributions that community groups make to society. In July, representatives of the three groups made presentations to the competition judges, Blaise Tracey and Declan Nelson. Speaking ahead of Saturday’s awards ceremony, Mayor of Clare Councillor Joe Arkins said, “The council’s decision to nominate each of the three participating groups is recognition of the hard work they have undertaken for the good of their communities. The communities of An Sean Dún, Mountshannon and Miltown Malbay can be justifiably …

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3,000 tonnes of rock salt on standby for winter

CLARE County Council has access to more than 3,000 tonnes of rock salt to treat the county’s roads during the coming winter. A third of the available salt stock is currently in storage and has been held over from last winter, which was one of the mildest in recent years. An additional 2,000 tonnes of salt is available to the council to draw down when required from the National Roads Authority (NRA) and the Department of Transport (DTTAS). Council staff have already participated in their first road treatment operation of the winter.  The surface temperature dropped low enough last weekend for a number of trucks to be dispatched from the local authority’s maintenance facility at Beechpark, near Ennis. Senior engineer, Tom Tiernan confirmed that the availability of more than 3,000 tonnes of salt was the same as what was made available to the council during last winter. These stocks will be used to treat strategic national, excluding the motorway network  …

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Quin footbridge most preferred option

A PETITION yielding 596 signatures lobbying for the construction of a footbridge in Quin has led a local councillor to call on the council to abandon plans to provide pedestrian access on the existing bridge in favour of developing a footbridge. Councillor Sonny Scanlan, who last week announced his intention to retire from local politics, said the last item he would like to secure for his community before he hangs up his boots is a footbridge. He explained that over the last two months, a petition calling for a footbridge to be constructed has been issued to locals and has secured 596 signatures. Although a part eight planning application has already been granted for works on the existing bridge, Councillor Scanlan is calling for this to be scrapped. “What I want them to do is to forget about that and to put in a part eight for a footbridge, instead of the footpath on top of the bridge. There would …

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Shannon passenger numbers continue to grow

SHANNON Airport’s recovery continued in October, with the month showing a growth in passenger numbers of almost 5% on the same period last year. After years of decline, the airport has been moving in the right direction since the summer, with consistent monthly improvements. In October there were 116,901 passengers at Shannon, compared to 111,699 in October 2012. The biggest increase in October came in European traffic, although US traffic was also up by 4%. Shannon Group CEO Neil Pakey said the October figures rounded off a great week for the region, in which Limerick’s programme for its year as the National City of Culture was unveiled. “This week is a special one for the region, with the very exciting programme launch for Limerick National City of Culture 2014. The Shannon Group will play a pivotal role in the project by bringing in visitors for the many flagship events in the programme next year. We are equally pleased that Shannon …

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