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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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Focusing on The Great Forest of Aughty

ANDREW St Ledger, a well-known native woodland specialist will be hosting two Heritage Week events in East Clare this week on behalf of The Woodland League and CELT ( Centre for Environmental Living and Training ). On Saturday, Andrew will be in Peppers Bar and Restaurant in Feakle from 2pm to give an overview, and a presentation on The Great Forest of Aughty, an active Native Oakwood Restoration project in East Clare and South Galway. “I have been conducting walks and talks in the Raheen ancient oakwood for many years and have subsequently become acquainted with the owner of the estate of 400 acres, William McLysaght. This is the place where the famous 1,000 year old Brian Boru oak tree is situated. William donated a four acre site of the estate to the local community and I was involved in persuading them to convert this into a community native woodland restoration project, with two NGO’s I work with, The Woodland …

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Schools’ science video challenge

PRIMARY and secondary schools across Ireland are being challenged by NUI Galway to produce an entertaining and educational short science video for this year’s ReelLIFE SCIENCE competition. Supported by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme and the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway, ReelLIFE SCIENCE will award €3,000 directly to the winning schools for science promotion. Since launching in 2013, more than 5,000 students in almost 200 schools around Ireland have taken part in ReelLIFE SCIENCE, while the videos produced have been viewed 70,000 times in over 100 countries worldwide. Director general of Science Foundation Ireland, Professor Mark Ferguson said, “We are delighted to support this initiative, which cleverly combines science literacy and creativity, provides a great opportunity for students and teachers to engage with science in a novel way. ReelLIFE SCIENCE encourages young people to connect with the science and technology in their everyday lives, and to bring that knowledge to a wider audience, while …

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NUI Galway appeal for spare rooms

WITH students returning to college this week, NUI Galway Students’ Union has issued an urgent appeal to anyone with a spare room to consider renting it to students this year. Under the Rent a Room Scheme you can earn up to €12,000 per annum tax free by renting a room. The option is also available to just rent a room for one semester to a visiting student if homeowners are uncertain about getting into a long term arrangement. Students’ Union president Jimmy McGovern said, “The lack of accommodation in Galway City has now become a serious issue, putting access to education at risk for many students. We are inundated with queries from students looking for accommodation. In particular there is a huge amount of visiting students that will just be attending NUI Galway for one semester, September to December or January to May, who are desperately in need of accommodation. We would encourage anyone with a spare room to strongly …

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