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Dog seen on CCTV during break-in

A 41-year-old Scotsman who brought his dog to a burglary appeared in court this week, after he broke into The Burren Smokehouse in Lisdoonvarna and stole a credit card machine. Sean O’Neill, who is originally from Glasgow but has an address at Rooska, Lisdoonvarna, pleaded guilty to burglary at The Burren Smokehouse in Lisdoonvarna on August 2, 2017, and also to possession of cannabis at his address on August 5, 2017. At Wednesday’s sitting of Ennis District Court, Inspector Tom Kennedy outlined that O’Neill broke into the business premises by breaking a glass panel in the door. “He took a wireless machine for credit cards. That is how he was detected, because he tried to use his card in the machine later that day,” he said. Inspector Kennedy told the court that, in total, between the damage and the loss of the machine, the smokehouse was out of pocket to the tune of €700. Inspector Kennedy said when gardaí went …

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Ten years of shining light in Clare

THE Clare launch of Darkness Into Light 2018 took place in Shannon this week, with walks set to take place in Doolin, Sixmilebridge, Killaloe-Ballina, Ennis and Shannon on May 12. This is Pieta House’s flagship annual fundraising and awareness event and, last year, 180,000 people took part. Nora Conway is clinical manager of the Pieta House Centre in Mungret and she says the event has grown dramatically, showing how people feel about removing any remaining stigma around mental health. “It’s the 10th anniversary of Darkness into Light and, I suppose, from the days when 100 or 150 people would come out, compared to 120,000 nationally, it’s phenomenal. I think it’s a statement, really, that the people of Ireland are making. A statement by coming together, walking shoulder to shoulder and doing what they can to lift the stigma around suicide and self-harm. The more we promote the service, the more we encourage people to ask for help, and the more …

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There’s zinc in the hills

THERE’S zinc in them thar hills of Clare, with plans for a major drilling programme by a base metals exploration company unveiled this week., Hannan Metals have announced plans for 20,000 metres of drilling to test geological, seismic and soil targets on its Kilbricken zinc-lead-silver prospect and on other prospects in the county. In its first year of drilling, the Kilbricken site has already been ranked as one of the top 10 base metal deposits in Ireland, with an estimated 4.4 million tonnes of zinc equivalent established. Hannan Metals Limited has 100% ownership of the County Clare Zn-Pb-Ag-Cu (zinc, lead, silver and copper) Project in Ireland, which consists of nine prospecting licences for 35,444 hectares. According to Hannan Metals chairman and CEO, Michael Hudson, “We are delighted with the progress we have made over the last year”. Hannan Metals acquired the project from Lundin Mining Ltd, making all cash payments totalling US$1 million. “After completing our purchase from Lundin Mining, …

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Garda warning on thefts from unlocked cars

Gardaí are appealing to motorists to park smart, as new figures show that one-third of all vehicles broken into in residential areas had been left unlocked by the owner. Figures from the Garda Analysis Service released today (Tuesday) show that 8,571 vehicles parked at residential locations were broken into between 2015 and 2017. Of those, 2,824 were reported to be unlocked. On average, over €340,000 worth of property was stolen from vehicles each year. Property stolen included cash, laptops, tools, sunglasses, jewellery and sports equipment. The analysis also shows that the most common location for these thefts was in driveways, and that half of the thefts occurred between 12 midnight and 7am. Such thefts are happening throughout the country. Gardaí are appealing for all vehicle owners to ensure they lock their vehicle no matter where it is parked. Do not store valuables in the car, but if you do have to, keep them out of sight. “Wherever you park your …

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Issue with traffic calming at Bunratty

THE lack of traffic calming measures at one of the county’s top tourist attractions has been highlighted. Councillor John Crowe, at a meeting of the Shannon Municipal District, has urged “that traffic calming measures to be installed in Bunratty Village due to the large volume of traffic passing through and for the safety of pedestrians in this area”. He pointed out, “This is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the county with a large volume of buses and cars every day. There is no facility for traffic management. This needs to be done sooner rather than later”. Eugene O’Shea, senior executive engineer for the district, responded, “In order to determine whether traffic calming measures are warranted in Bunratty Village, a detailed traffic survey will have to be undertaken and arrangements to have this survey carried out will be made as soon as possible”. Councillor PJ Ryan supported Councillor Crowe’s call saying, “You don’t need any survey, just stand on …

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Mayor fears hospital waiting lists will rise

THE Mayor of Clare has expressed fears that Mid-West outpatient and in-patient waiting lists will increase even further, as a result of the recent overcrowding in local acute hospitals. The UL Hospitals Group has been forced to cancel surgery at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) as a short-term measure to free up beds to deal with overcrowding in the emergency department (ED). Councillor Tom McNamara believes out-patient and in-patient waiting lists will “get worse before they get better”, following the recent widescale cancellations of surgical procedures. “We are talking about the need to tackle waiting lists but nothing is happening. We have become desensitised to seeing thousands of patients on waiting lists. It is unacceptable to have more than 32,000 patients on a waiting list in the Mid-West,” he said. Councillor McNamara has called on the HSE to make people aware of the criteria of the Cross Border Initiative, as a means of tackling large in-patient and out-patient lists in the …

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Footpath funding to reduce public liability claims

MORE than half a million euro is to be spent on improving footpaths in Ennis, from funding aimed at reducing the number of public liability claims being made against the local authority. Clare County Council has received a “significant” dividend of €2.371 million from Irish Public Bodies Mutual Insurances Ltd (IPB). The IPB requires that the council spend the money in a way that “will facilitate mitigation of risk, and by implication, reduce the incidences of public liability claims”. A total of €1.6 million of the funding has been earmarked for a footpath improvement programme throughout the county, with €508,000 of this to be spent in Ennis. This includes €112,140 to macadam 623 metres in length along the Tulla Road; €49,680 on concrete and concrete paving surfaces for Church Drive, Clarecastle and €48,000 on a concrete surface in Cloughleigh. Historical stone paving, costing €8,800, will be installed at Bank Place, along with concrete footpaths totalling €24,960. According to the council’s …

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Our Lady’s hospital site sold for €750,000

THE former Our Lady’s Hospital site in Ennis has been sold at auction for €750,000. The identity of the purchaser, who successfully bid on the 16.65-acre property on the Gort Road, has yet to be revealed. However, in January, JJ Enterprises Ltd applied to Clare County Council to extend previously granted planning permission for the development of a healthcare facility at the historic site on the Gort Road. The application was signed by multi-millionaire farmer JJ McCabe, described as a “potential purchaser of site” on the documents. The site, which auctioneers BidX1 describe as “a prime town centre development site”, had been guided at €475,000, with 23 bids bringing the price up to €750,000. The property failed to sell at auction last year, with a guide price of €800,000. The property comprises the former hospital and land holding, with planning permission for a healthcare facility. It is zoned commercial, with BidX1 stating it has “significant development potential”. Permission had been …

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