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Getting Shannon back on track

In a three-part series, Owen Ryan speaks to some of Clare’s leading business figures, beginning with Shannon Airport chief executive Neil Pakey. Next week, Irish Hotels Federation president Michael Vaughan of Lahinch will be featured   SHANNON’S performance is important for everyone in Clare. Many of us wouldn’t even live in the county but for it. If it weren’t for the tourists it brings to the county, huge numbers of jobs and businesses wouldn’t exist. Its Heathrow and US links have helped make the Mid-West of Ireland a hub for multi-national companies. The decline of the airport, which had its worst year since the ’80s in 2012, is a serious problem and a Scot has been brought in to get it back on track, 52-year-old Neil Pakey, the new chief executive, who was appointed in May. At the moment, he is commuting to Clare and heading back to Britain at the weekends, where his family are based. “My two boys …

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Clare Flag

NRA removes signs of support

THE National Roads Authority (NRA) has been accused of discriminating against the Banner, taking down signs supporting Clare along the M18, with a zeal that isn’t shown in other counties. While the towns and villages of Clare are covered in saffron and blue, signs supporting the Banner have been taken away from the M18 and Councillor Patricia McCarthy objected to it at this week’s meeting of Shannon Electoral Area. “It was disheartening over the last couple of weeks to see signs disappearing,” she said. The independent councillor said the signs in question hadn’t even been causing issues. “There are certain events and times when a bit of leniency is expected,” she added. Fine Gael Councillor John Crowe said signs advertising local events are being “whipped away overnight”. Councillor PJ Ryan said he is of the same mind as Councillor McCarthy and that “a bit of leniency would do no harm”. Workers are now spending up to three hours a day …

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Young social innovators’ programme

CLARE schools and youth organisations are being encouraged to participate in the Young Social Innovator’s Social Innovators Action Programme 2013/14. The project-based programme, which is supported by the Vodafone Ireland Foundation, gives 15 to 18 year olds opportunity to examine social problems in their communities and bring about the changes they wish to see. The closing date for entries is September 30. Over 5,500 young people participated in last year’s Young Social Innovators’ programme. Projects from Scoil Mhuire, Ennistymon and Colaiste Muire, Ennis were among the 60 shortlisted for the annual YSI Showcase and Awards last May. Colaiste Muire, Ennis won the national award for Relationships & Sexual Health for their project entitled ‘Sexication’. Rachel Collier, Co-founder and Chief Executive of Young Social Innovators said “Young Social Innovators has given over 50,000 teenagers a chance to make a change to society. We have another 200,000 potential young social innovators aged from 15 to 18 in Ireland. To reach all young …

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Clare cleans up in Tidy Towns

Ennis came agonizingly close to repeating their feat of 2005, that of being crowned national tidy towns champions. They came up two marks shy of Moynalty in Meath, this year’s winner’s on 316 marks, but there was some consolation for the Ennis contingent at The Helix in Dublin on Monday when the county town retained its title as Ireland’s Tidiest Large Urban Centre. It’s the fifth time that Ennis has taken the honour and for their troubles they were presented with a trophy and a cheque for €5,000. Ennis also picked up a further award, a gold medal, its 13th in as many years, when adjudged winner in the category for centres with a population in excess of  25,000 people. Ennis, which finished joint third place overall, was marked against strict adjudication criteria and beat off stiff competition from other large urban centres such as Kilkenny City. The Clare county capital has previously won the award in 2006, 2008, 2009 …

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Clare Haven’s charity shop opens its doors

Haven’s fundraising co-ordinator Maireád Mannion said that on account of repeated funding cuts they have been forced to pursue other revenue generating avenues in order to sustain their level of services in Clare. “We guarantee that 100% of our profits will go directly back into maintaining our critical services to the women and children of Clare in need of our support. “In light of consistent statutory funding cuts over the past five years, we have been forced to lok at new ways of generating income so that the quality of the services we provide remains uncompromised”, she told The Clare Champion. Ms Mannion stressed that there has been a big swing towards public support of locally based charities particularly in recent times. “There has always been fantastic goodwill towards Clare Haven by local people who volunteer their time and donate their money to support the women and children experiencing violence and abuse within their community. We are hugely indebted to …

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Fallen WWI soldier’s medals donated to Clare Museum

The service medals of a Clare-born casualty of World War One, including a Purple Heart, have been donated to Clare Museum. Private Dennis Liddane from Rehy in Kilkee, who emigrated to the United States when he was 18 years of age, died in the Meuse-Argonne sector of the Western Front on October 10, 1918.  He served in the same Division and fought alongside Sgt. Alvin York, the most decorated American soldier of World War One. Born in 1893, he was the youngest of ten children and emigrated to the United States, arriving in New York on August 30, 1913, joining his siblings who had emigrated before him. He lived in New Jersey, became an American citizen and obtained a position as a guard at NY Edison – an electricity company.  He worked there until he was drafted into the US Army in 1917 following America’s entry into World War One. He was sent to France with the 327th Infantry Regiment …

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Kilkee ‘rebellion’ backs Ché mural

THE Ché Guevara mural saga has taken yet another turn in Kilkee with retired pharmacist and former Kilkee Chamber secretary, John Williams, claiming the resort town is in the throes of rebellion. One complete and a second partially complete mural of Ché Guevara have been painted on the side of privately owned property in the town in recent days. This follows Clare County Council’s decision to remove a 20ft-high mural of the famous Argentine revolutionary from a ball alley wall at the West End of Kilkee beach last week. The image of Ché Guevara was part of the publicity for the annual Ché do Bheatha Festival in the town. The removal of that mural has led to an upsurge in mural creations in recent days. “It’s a rebellion after the high-handed way the council treated the town. It’s a rebellion as befits Ché Guevara,” a furious Mr Williams told The Clare Champion on Wednesday. He predicts several images of the …

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Tourism policy review

THE tourism industry, tourists and members of the public have been invited to contribute their ideas on future plans for Ireland’s tourism industry, in a new Government initiative. Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar and Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring launched a wide-ranging review of Ireland’s tourism policy at a conference in Dublin. This is the first time this has been done since New Horizons back in 2003. The consultation and question paper published by the two ministers asks the tourism industry, stakeholders in the public and private sectors, tourists and the general public to answer challenging questions about the future of Irish tourism. “Tourism has moved from crisis mode two years ago, firmly into recovery mode now. With the success of The Gathering, a significant increase in overseas visits for three years in a row and a good summer for domestic tourism behind us, we now must ask ourselves, what next? I want …

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