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Australian Ambassador visits Spanish Point

THE Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Andrews, visited St Joseph’s Secondary School in Spanish Point last week, at part of his day-long visit to the county. Originally from Canberra, which is the administrative capital of Australia, Mr Andrews has visited the county a few times prior to this trip, in a private capacity. “I’ve been here a couple of times on holidays and I came down for the Fleadh Cheoil last year. I have an interest in music generally and, as a whim, I decided it would be a good idea to learn how to play the uileann pipes when I came to Ireland. I’m not sure that I’ll inflict my skills on you at this stage,” he laughed. The ambassador has worked for 30 years in the Australian public service and has served for just under two years in his current role. He visited Spanish Point due to the area’s connection with a local man, who made the Clare …

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Kilkee coast guard unit further down-graded

ACROSS the May Bank Holiday weekend, Kilkee had no coast guard service available in the event of an emergency. A source has told The Clare Champion that the limited service the Kilkee unit of the Irish Coast Guard had been providing was further down-graded, following a recent training incident. It has also been claimed that the current coast guard crew have not recently passed an Operational Readiness Assessment (ORA) in more than two years. The Clare Champion contacted the Department of Transport on Wednesday for a comment on the claims, but it had not responded at the time of going to press. “The coast guard will say that they have a boat. We all know they have a boat but they don’t have a crew. Every time they need to go in the water, they need to bring an instructor down from Maritime SAR to even get on the water to do the training. There are about six people who …

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Shannon novelist on the scene of the crime

CERTAIN unsolved crimes echo in Ireland’s consciousness over decades, with names like Philip Cairns, Raonaid Murray and Trevor Deely still recognisable long after their deaths or disappearances. What happens when a crime goes unsolved for far too long is the theme of Rachael English’s new novel, The Night of the Party, set in Clare during the heavy snow of 1982. In her fictional village of Kilmitten, parish priest Fr Galvin is killed, and the crime remains still unsolved a generation later. “Even though it starts with a crime, I wouldn’t really call it a crime novel. You could probably call it a mystery in the old-fashioned way. It’s not a modern thriller, with fingerprints and DNA and serial killers,” says the author and RTÉ presenter, who hails from Shannon. The story shows how being close to a terrible event, but not talking about it, can reverberate through a life, with one of the main characters carrying a dark secret from …

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Ennis travel agent wins prestigious award

County Clare travel specialist Gearóid Mannion has won the prestigious award for ‘Best Corporate’ at the annual conference for leading independent travel company, Travel Counsellors. The awards, which recognise the exceptional work of Travel Counsellors’ network of franchisees, were presented at a black-tie ceremony in Powerscourt Hotel, Wicklow. The gala event featured as part of Travel Counsellors’ renowned two-day annual conference, which saw over 160 travel professionals in attendance. Speaking about his win, Ennis-based Gearóid, who specialises in corporate travel and holidays for discerning clients, said: “It is an honour to be awarded ‘Best Corporate’. I’ve been in travel all my life, and with Travel Counsellors for the past few years, and it is a job I am extremely passionate about. For both my business and leisure clients, I focus on offering what sets Travel Counsellors apart… bespoke experiences, expert advice, and unrivalled customer service.” Commending Gearóid on his award, General Manager of Travel Counsellors Ireland, Cathy Burke stated: “Every …

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Aer Lingus changes to Shannon-US winter services

AER LINGUS has opted to reverse a pattern of recent years at Shannon, opting to continue with its New York service in the opening months of 2019, while suspending its Boston service. A spokesperson for Shannon said that in the final analysis Aer Lingus will now be able to accommodate more passengers travelling between Shannon and the US due to this move. “On balance we are pleased with the extra transatlantic capacity that this service switch creates. This change strengthens Aer Lingus’s commitment to Shannon by adding an extra 2,500 (seats) and restores a year-round service from New York to Shannon, but we are disappointed that the Boston market can only be accessed via New York for this two month winter period.” While the statement said that Shannon would continue to work with Aer Lingus on the Boston service, there are extra benefits to maintaining a link with a major global hub like JFK. “The benefits of the restoration and …

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Shannon Airport to aid farmers with silage cut

Shannon Airport has pledged its support to farmers battling the current fodder crisis by offering to repeat its intervention of 2013 when it harvested silage from its 400 acre site. The Airport’s operations team will meet with farm representatives over the coming days to explore the need to fast-track cutting of grass on the airport grounds in light of the severe difficulties faced by many farmers due to the prolonged inclement winter and spring weather. The airport’s grass husbandry programme is not due to see any grass inside the airport perimeter cut until later in the summer, but in light of the shortages, the airport is offering to bring it forward to support local farmers. Five years ago, in late April, farmers received 1,600 bales of silage from the airport in what was then the most severe fodder crisis in living memory. Airport operations director Niall Maloney said,“Farmers were in difficulty back then and, having seen just how important our …

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Remembering Winnie Mandela’s Shannon stopover

FOLLOWING the death of Winnie Mandela on Easter Monday, former airport police officer John O’Halloran recalled a stopover she made at Shannon Airport in 1990. It was shortly after her husband’s release from 27 years of imprisonment, and the visit was quite unexpected. “At the time this photo was taken she was due to come to Ireland about a month later on an official visit,” says John. He ended up with the first photos of Mrs Mandela taken here with her husband. “He [Nelson Mandela] was on a tour of a handful of nations around the world. He had gone from Johannesburg, arrived in Rome, stayed there for a while and he was going to Ottowa in Canada. “On the way they were running low on fuel and they diverted into Shannon unexpectedly. On the day I was in charge of Airport Police and I didn’t call anyone in, we looked after them while they were there.” John added, “She …

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Killanena Tractor Run to Support Clare Crusaders

TRACTORS are expected to line the roads of East Clare this Sunday as the annual Killanena tractor run takes place. Departing from Canny’s Bar, Killanena at 12.30pm with registration from 11.30am modern and vintage tractors are welcome. The tractor run was initially the brainchild of a very small group of people in the parish, as a way of raising funds for a worthwhile cause. Organiser Martin Canny said, “This is our third run with the last two raising very substantial amounts for the relevant causes. What began as an idea to try and give a little back has developed into a huge event”. This year the run is in aid of the Clare Crusaders Children’s Clinic. The Clare Crusaders Children’s Clinic provides free therapy and specialist treatment to over 500 children with special needs in County Clare. They are a self financing service located in Barefield, Ennis. The Clinic receives no state funding what so ever and depend on the generosity of the people in the communities to raise over €250,000 per annum to provide the current level of therapy for children. The Clinic was opened in 2007 thanks to the dedication and hard work of a group of parents to overcome the lack of publicly available treatment for children with  with mixed disabilities including Down Syndrome Autism, and Cerebral Palsy. It was a community response to the lack of access to services that children with disabilities need in order to meet their potential. “Please come and support this charity. Everyone is welcome to what promises to be a fantastic day with refreshments and entertainment afterwards. Your support is greatly appreciated,” Martin concluded. More information is available by contacting Canny’s Bar.

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