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IFA wants action on commonage plans

IFA Hill Committee chairman Pat Dunne has urged the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to open up the process for planners to submit Commonage Management Plans. IFA will not accept any delays in payments to the 7,000 commonage farmers, who have applied for GLAS and whose Commonage Management Plan must be submitted by the end of October. Currently, planners are assessing commonages but do not have the facility to make the online application for the plan. Mr Dunne said that the minimum stocking level for the individual farmer must be in place by the end of the year but IFA is insisting that once a Commonage Management Plan is lodged, this triggers full payment to the commonage farmers involved. With the third phase of GLAS due to open shortly, it is expected that another 3,000 commonage farmers will join the scheme with a commencement date of January 1, 2017. In relation to commonages, where difficulties may arise, IFA is insisting …

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Kilrush ghosts to feature in movie

A BOOK depicting life in Kilrush in the 1940s is currently being made into a Hollywood film. Ghosts of Kilrush, which was written by Joe Riley who now lives in the Philippines, was published in 2003. He sold the film rights for a mere dollar. “The story in the book is very simple,” Joe explained. “You had Auntie May, whose son was murdered at St Senan’s Well. I was a little kid of four years of age. I had no mum or no dad. What ended up happening was two people mending each other. That’s what the story is about.” The book is being made into a film by Los Angeles-based Grafton Street Productions, whose executive producer is Chris Cusack. He is a former associate producer with the Disney ABC Television Group and an executive producer with Vin Di Bona Productions. “He has roots, I believe, in Clare,” Joe said. Some of the film crew were in Kilrush in early …

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AA advice on driving with children

With schools reopened, the AA is urging parents to take all precautions necessary when travelling with children, after 9% of drivers admitted to having been involved in collisions or near-misses while attending to a child in the car. An AA survey of almost 11,000 motorists found that 7.5% of drivers had been involved in one collision or a near miss as a result of a child’s behaviour while driving, with almost 2% of drivers experiencing multiple incidents. Drivers aged 36-45 are most likely to have been distracted by a child while driving, with just under 13% reporting involvement in at least one collision or near miss as a result a child’s behaviour. While female drivers are more likely to be involved in one incident as a result of being distracted by a child, they are slightly less likely than their male counterparts to be involved in multiple incidents. Misbehaviour, sudden, unexpected illnesses, and issues with car restraints were among the …

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EU boost for natural gas plant

THE proposed Shannon liquefied natural gas plant, between Tarbert and Ballylongford, County Kerry, across the estuary from Killimer, received much-needed EU support this week. MEP Seán Kelly secured the backing of his EU counterparts to prioritise the development of such energy supplies in Europe’s future gas strategy. As co-author of the European Parliament’s report EU Strategy for Liquefied Natural Gas and Gas Storage, Mr Kelly secured the backing of MEPs belonging to the parliament’s International Trade Committee, who voted in favour of supporting the development of LNG supplies, such as that which could be supplied from Kerry. “In 2015, 41% of gas imports from outside the EU came from Russia. Reducing dependence on Russian gas is vital for the EU and therefore, increasing our home-grown LNG supplies is essential,” said Kelly, EPP group spokesman for energy and specifically for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). In the report, Mr Kelly points to a Polish example whereby a new LNG terminal there will diversify …

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Killaloe deli supports earthquake relief

A WELL-known Italian deli and wine bar in Killaloe is supporting a small town in Central Italy, which was left destroyed by the recent devastating earthquake. Ponte Vecchio is appealing to people and businesses in the twin communities of Ballina and Killaloe to make a donation to its collection for Amatrice. It is being organised by the owner Andrew Lofthouse and his friend Antonello Allocco, who have kept in regular contact with each other since they forged a strong friendship in their 20s in Rome, where they grew up. Amatrice bore the brunt of a massive earthquake that demolished at least half of the town. Amatrice “is not here anymore”, the city’s mayor said after the August 24 quake, which registered 6.2 magnitude on the Richter scale. The quake killed at least 278 people throughout Central Italy, including an elderly couple whose home collapsed on them. Fifty-three of the people who died were from Amatrice, a heavy toll for the …

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Freight group warns against USC change

The Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI) has maintained a proposal to replace Ireland’s Universal Social Charge (USC) with a rise in the cost of diesel “is senseless and would hit the price of food, consumer goods and public transport”. FTA Ireland’s pre-budget submission to the Department of Finance called for retention of USC as an employment tax, but with a progressive increase in the income level at which employees are asked to pay the 5.5% rate. Ireland remains a heavily indebted country with a massive hole in its social welfare pensions fund. In the last week, the Department of Finance has floated alternatives to USC such as a rise in diesel prices and increased property tax. FTA Ireland says the replacement of a progressive tax on income with an increase in diesel prices is fiscally illogical. FTA Ireland General Manager Neil McDonnell said: “The cost of goods, services and travel for work and leisure are heavily influenced by the cost …

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Countdown to Culture Night

The very best cultural experience Clare has to offer will be showcased on Friday, September 16. Culture Night Clare 2016 will see 45 free cultural events for all ages being held throughout Clare over a five-hour period from 5pm to 10pm. This year’s programme, which is organised by the Clare Arts Office and funded by Clare County Council and the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, is filled with free events across the county from Ennis to Ennistymon, Kilshanny to Kilkee and Kilkishen to Corofin. Arts and cultural spaces throughout Clare will throw open their doors offering members of the public a chance to enjoy unique performances and catch a glimpse inside some of the most beautiful buildings and cultural institutions in their area. “Over the past ten years this initiative has captured both the public’s imagination and the enthusiasm of artists and cultural organisations in Clare. This year is no different with 45 events planned around …

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Cliffs of Moher’ visitors rise

For the third year in a row, numbers at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience have passed the one million mark within a calendar year. The award-winning attraction reached the figure on August 22, three weeks ahead of the date the milestone was reached in 2015 and seven weeks earlier than the same point in 2014. It is now on track to exceed its record visitor total of 1,251,574 people in 2015. The Clare County Council owned attraction has undergone substantial investment in product and facilities in recent years, while its position as a signature point along the 2,500km Wild Atlantic Way has contributed to its growing popularity. “These significant visitor numbers are fantastic for the local tourism sector and the wider West of Ireland economy,” said centre director, Katherine Webster.

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