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East Clare

Last seats secured in Killaloe

It was touch and go for sitting Councillor Pat Burke (FG) all day as early tallies indicated he could have been in trouble, but all three of the last seats in the Killaloe Electoral Area were filled together just before 1am. Tony O’Brien (FF), Pat Burke (FG) and newcomer Alan O’Callaghan (FF) all came in with seats following the distribution of eliminated candidate Liam Wiley’s (FF) votes. Councillor Burke said he was much happier coming to the count centre on Saturday night after early tallies proved to have been out by approximately a hundred votes. He said he is delighted to be returning to the council chamber for a new five year term. The Whitegate man added that he was disappointed with the Fine Gael performance after Clare’s outgoing mayor Joe Arkins (FG) lost his seat. However he said he was happy for his party colleague Joe Cooney who has topped the poll once more.

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Lack of Clonlara candidate helped Begley

Outgoing Clare County Councillor, Michael Begley became the third member of the local authority to secure re-election at around 11.10 pm with 1,799 votes. The Independent Councillor admitted the loss of 320 from nearby Parteen concentrated his mind and his supporters to get those votes back. Acknowledging the lack of competition from another Clonlara candidate was a big help in his re-election bid, he identified three pools of votes to secure some additional votes. These included votes left behind by outgoing Councillor Pascal Fitzgerald and Councillor Cathal Crowe, who moved from Killaloe to the Shannon Municipal District and the decision of former Fine Gael Councillor, John McInerney not to re-enter the race. While all these votes were party votes, he managed to get enough of them to eventually secure his re-election. His re-election bid was also helped by the fact he was the only independent candidate out of the starting line-up of ten. He pointed out there was no comparable …

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O’Brien may consider general election run

FÍS Nua candidate Niamh O’Brien has told The Clare Champion that she felt obliged to seek a partial recount after her elimination from the Killaloe Electoral Area on the fourth count. The first-time candidate was just six votes behind Liam Wiley (FF) when she was eliminated. “Because there’s only six votes in it, why not? I would bow out gracefully but if it’s worth fighting for and I’ll stay here for another while and see how it goes,” the O’Callaghan’s Mills native said before her elimination was confirmed after the partial recount. “It’s not too many times that I say this but I’m really proud of myself. I’m so honoured that so many people thought so much of me to put me this far. I have to thank them and I have to apologise because I was so thin on the ground and I didn’t get to everyone,” she added before paying tribute to her family. “My mother Bernie was …

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Labour’s Donal Higgins eliminated in Killaloe

Results from count three of the Killaloe Electoral Area, which distributed Pat Hayes’ surplus votes, has led to the elimination of Donal Higgins (Lab). Following the distribution of Pat Hayes’s surplus votes, Donal Higgins yielded 360 votes, and was deemed to be eliminated after no other candidate reached the quota. The elimination means that the Killaloe Electoral Area loses its Labour local representative. Climbing closer to the 1,585 votes required to be elected are: Michael Begley (NP) on 1,475 votes, Tony O’Brien (FF) on 1,408, Pat Burke (FG) on 1,148 votes and Alan O’Callaghan (FF) on 936. Those hoping to stay in the game are Liam Wiley (FF) on 886, Joe Arkins (FG) on 870 votes,  and Niamh O’Brien (FN) on 840.

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Poll topper in Killaloe area Joe Cooney is lifted on high by supporters as he is deemed elected during the election count at The West county Hotel, Ennis. Photograph by John Kelly.

Cooney elected with over quarter of vote

Joe Cooney (FG) is the first county councillor to be elected in the County Clare Local Election. With 2,843 votes, which is expected to be the largest vote in the county, Councillor Cooney’s vote was 1,258 over the 1,585 quota. Speaking following the announcement he said, “I’d a brilliant performance. I didn’t expect a performance like that”. He put the performance down to the hard work he has done for his electorate over the past five years. “I worked hard for the people in those five years. I think the vote today is a true reflection of that,” he said. As counters begin assigning his 1,258 surplus votes, Joe believes his two party colleagues Pat Burke and Joe Arkins will net the benefit of these, “both have done well, I think they stand a great chance and I think both of them will get elected”. Announcing details of the celebrations to follow in O’Callaghan’s Mills, Cooney said, “We’ll have a …

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Funding bonanza for East Clare villages

Nine East Clare community and Tidy Towns groups have benefitted from a once-off funding allocation, totaling €34,000, under the Public Area Enhancement Scheme, to improve their own locality. The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government is providing 75% of the finance, with the remainder being matched by Clare County Council. Scariff Community Council’s project to carry out improvement works to Riverside Park, and Sixmilebridge Development Association/Tidy Towns’ proposal to develop a Slí na Sláinte Walk Route have benefitted from most of the funding available, each receiving €6,000. Further to this, two East Clare groups will receive €5,000 under the fund. They include Kilkishen Development Ltd, which aims to develop a Kilkishen Castle Bog Walk, while Tuamgraney Development Association will also benefit from this funding, which will be used to carry out improvement works to the approach road to Tuamgraney from Bodyke. Aistear Iniscealtra Mountshannon have been awarded €3,000 in funding to upgrade the public park, while, in a …

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Kilkishen Church opens in new light

By Carol Byrne THE former Protestant church in Kilkishen hosted its last wedding more than half a century ago but now, under the ownership of the Kilkishen Cultural Centre Committee, it is likely the venue will host weddings once more. The church building, whose only occupants over the past 50 years have been a family of lesser horseshoe bats, has undergone a facelift and is due to open to the public this week. Now known as the Kilkishen Cultural Centre, the venue has been transformed from a derelict building and will be re-invigorated under plans to make it a busy community hub. The centre is to be made available for community, educational and drama groups and for concerts. Further to this, plans are underway to obtain a licence to hold civil marriages there. Committee chairman Mike Hogan says he is looking forward to holding a viewing day for the community, to finally get a glimpse of the great work that …

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East Clare Community Kitchen Opens to Visitors

EAST Clare Community Co-op has now opened the first half of their new LEADER funded training and enterprise kitchen, known as Sustenance. The initiative has been four years in the making with the idea being formed in 2010 and leading to the completion of a feasibility study, drawing up plans, consulting the Environmental Health Office on best practice, researching energy efficient measures and getting all relevant permissions to build it. The building and equipping is the final phase and the micro enterprise unit will open after Easter for bookings. The community kitchen is already attracting visitors from all over Ireland interested in the facility and who are looking to build something similar in their own communities. Recently visitors from North Kilkenny, who are involved in gardening and social enterprise projects through the Castlecomer demesne, were impressed with this community led project. Other visitors included Duncan Stewart who paid an impromptu visit to the facility and was very impressed.  “He gave …

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