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Posthumous Clare Association award for coast guard volunteer

THE tragic sea accident off Kilkee last September, which claimed the life of Doolin Irish Coast Guard volunteer Caitríona Lucas during a search and recovery operation, will be recalled at The Clare Association dinner in The Falls Hotel, Ennistymon on Friday, February 25. In recognition of her bravery and making the ultimate sacrifice, the association will be giving her a posthumous award by naming her its Clare Person of the Year for 2017. The 41-year-old Ballyvaughan woman, who lived in Liscannor, lost her life when she was one of three volunteers on board a rigid inflatable boat, which capsized in choppy conditions while taking part in the search for a missing man. The two other volunteers, one of whom was trapped in a cave for several hours, were rescued. The Clare Association usually holds its annual function at a Dublin venue but due to the special circumstances surrounding this year’s award, the decision was made to facilitate the North Clare …

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Tánaiste hosts Missing Persons’ Day

The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, hosts Ireland’s fourth annual Missing Persons’ Day ceremony at Farmleigh in Dublin today (Wednesday). Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton will also be in attendance. Missing Persons Day complements the existing International Missing Children’s Day and has a number of objectives. It commemorates those who have gone missing and recognises the lasting trauma for their families and friends. It draws attention to open or unsolved missing persons cases and creates an opportunity to provide information on the support services which are available. Along with the Tánaiste and Deputy Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin, speakers at this year’s ceremony will include family members of missing persons. The ceremony will be attended by families and friends of missing persons, as well as by organisations working in the community on their behalf. The ceremony will conclude outdoors with the symbolic release of homing pigeons and the laying …

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Greater support for energy projects

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has announced a €30 million programme in grant supports for community energy projects next year. This represents a 50% increase in funding from the 2016 grant levels. SEAI’s Better Energy Communities programme supports new approaches to achieving high quality improvements in energy efficiency. The programme focusses on improving the energy efficiency of Ireland’s building stock and supporting the use of renewable energy. It helps communities complete energy improvements in a more efficient and cost effective way by clustering buildings under one umbrella project. Over the past five years SEAI has provided €85 million support to 300 community energy efficiency projects. As a result, €170 million has been invested in energy efficiency upgrades of over 15,000 homes and hundreds of community, private and public buildings, supporting several hundred jobs each year.

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Embracing the Christmas spirit

The annual Embrace Christmas Concert, a talent showcase for performers, singers and musicians from St Anne’s School, The Dulick Centre, Kilrush Day Hospital, Brothers of Charity, Enable Ireland and The Ennis Arch Club, takes place on this Wednesday. The free event,from 12.30pm to 2pm, at Cois na hAbhna in Ennis, will feature participants in the Embrace Arts & Disability programme. The initiative was established by Clare County Arts Office in 2001 to enable people with disabilities to experience the arts in a variety of art forms through working with professional artists.

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Christmas fire risk warning

Clare County Fire and Rescue Service has issued an appeal to the public to remain fire safety aware over the Christmas period. The fire service says the main causes of fire during the festive season are candles left unprotected, fairy lights left on all night or improperly wired, Christmas trees falling over, open fires without fireguards, and decorations catching fire. Clare chief fire officer Adrian Kelly says people should familiarise themselves with the fire safety advice available on www.clarecoco.ie and www.fireireland.ie. He added, “Christmas is a time for celebrating with families but it also is a time when extra fire hazards appear such as fairy lights, candles, open fires and decorations. I encourage householders across Clare to think about fire safety ahead of and during the Christmas period to avoid the risk of their Christmas being ruined.” “Open fires are used for longer periods during the winter and Christmas period as people spend a lot more time at home. Electrical …

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Funding boost for Lough Derg

THE Lough Derg region is to benefit from a €200,000 fund to market, develop and promote the Lough Derg Blueway, which includes the soon-to-be completed Lough Derg Canoe Trail. The funding boost was announced by Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys and is to be spread across the Scariff and Nenagh rural economic development zones (REDZ). Under the 2016 REDZ scheme, just over €5.3 million was approved for 41 projects, of which eight were local authority-led projects impacting on the wider waterway network. They included Scariff/Nenagh on Lough Derg, from Bagnelstown on the Barrow to Banagher on the Shannon and Ballinamore on the Shannon-Erne Waterway. Minister Humphreys said, “The REDZ scheme aims to improve links between rural towns and their hinterlands to stimulate activity at a local level. It is one of a number of schemes that my department has been rolling out to boost economic activity and improve living standards across rural Ireland.” Managed …

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13 superintendents in Kilrush in 25 years

WHEN a new superintendent transfers to Kilrush later this month, he will be the 13th officer over a 25-year period to hold the post. Superintendent John Galvin will move on promotion from Ennis to the Kilrush Garda District, when Superintendent Martin McGonnell relocates from West Clare to Blackrock in Dublin on December 13. Superintendent McGonnell was stationed in Kilrush for 20 months. Addressing the point that having such a high turnover of superintendents in Kilrush is not ideal, Clare Garda Chief Superintendent John Kerin acknowledged it is an issue. “There has been a very high turnover, which certainly has not been desirable from my perspective. But, having said that, a lot of the people who have come have brought a lot of experience from different policing perspectives with them. We’ve learned from some of the people that have come there over the years,” he said. “I’m absolutely delighted to have a person of John Galvin’s capability and standing in the …

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Clare forest owners to join pilot scheme

FOREST owners in the county may be included in a Knowledge Transfer Group to be funded by the Department of Agriculture. The Clare Timber Producer Group will be holding meetings in Kilkishen Cultural Centre on Wednesday night next and the Fiddle Head in Kilmihil on December 12 to outline the draft pilot project, identify forest owners willing to participate and gather feedback to develop the project with the department. The department is proposing that participants will receive expenses for taking part in the pilot project. Welcoming the inclusion of Clare in the pilot project, Brian Meaney, secretary of the Clare Timber Producer Group, stated, “This is an opportunity to increase the level of forest management activity among participants of the project, realising and improving the value of their forests and will ultimately benefit all forest owners in County Clare. “It is also important to develop a forest owners group in Clare to operate as a collective to improve financial return from farm forestry, to develop …

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