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Christmas tree throwing championship

The Irish Christmas Tree Throwing Championship takes place on Sunday at Active Ennis Tim Smyth Park, Ennis, starting at 1pm. Members of the public are invited to attempt to break a unique Guinness World Record. The championship will see competitors throwing a standard 1.5-metre tree in a bid to reach more than 12 metres, the world record set by Klaus Pubnaz in Germany five years ago. 2014 winner, Gary O’Growney from Dublin and 2013/2015 winner John O’Dea from Limerick share the Irish Record. Both competitors threw their trees a distance of 10.2 metres, This year’s winner will once again receive the Irish Christmas Tree Throwing Championship trophy while proceeds raised by the 5th annual event will go towards the West Clare Mini-Marathon Cancer Centre. Organised by Clare County Council, in conjunction with Active Ennis Sports and Leisure Facilities, the event will also see the public’s used Christmas trees being sent forward for recycling.

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Councillor James Breen

Ennis Chamber seeks rates meeting

Ennis Chamber is seeking an independently facilitated meeting with Clare County Council to discuss the issue of the increase in commercial rates passed in the recent annual budget meeting of the local authority, and the further proposed increase for next year. This follows last week’s Day of Action by the Chamber when a large group of businesses gathered in the public gallery of Áras Contae an Chláir for the monthly meeting of Clare County Council to highlight their concerns about the rate changes. Ennis Chamber submitted a letter to the meeting and following interjections from Councillors PJ Kelly and Ann Norton as well as a number of attempts by Councillor Johnny Flynn and an adjournment, the letter was accepted by the meeting with Cathaoirleach James Breen agreeing to put it to County CEO Tom Coughlan for consideration. However according to a spokesperson for the business member organisation they are “concerned” that the local authority will “attempt to side step and …

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Mark pens Oscar entry

AN Ennis man could be set for Oscar gold after a film he penned has made the shortlist for nominations for the coveted award. Viva, a Spanish language film set in Havana written by Clare’s very own Mark O’Halloran has been named among nine movies shortlisted in the Foreign Language Film category. And in just a few short weeks, Mark the rest of the crew behind the acclaimed film will learn if they have made the final five nominees for next year’s 88th annual Academy Awards. Speaking to the Clare Champion this week Mark told us, “I’m very happy, I’m very surprised. It’s a very low budget film, made with a lot of dedication and heart. I’m pretty sure it’s the lowest budget film in the category so for it to have this impact is great. It’s been a good surprise to get on the shortlist, so fingers crossed, we’ll see how it goes.” The film, selected by the Irish …

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Finding comfort at nativity at the Height

THE spirit of Christmas is set to be brought out onto the streets of Ennis in a very special way this week. On Christmas Eve, a nativity scene crib will be set up at O’Connell Square, highlighting the spiritual meaning of the holiday season to passersby on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. This is the second year that the crib has been installed at the prominent Ennis location. The crib will be in place from 2pm to 4.30pm on Thursday. As well as the nativity scene, there will be festive music from the Wylde Roses choir and the Clarecastle Youth Choir, and some mince pies on the day. Ennis priest Fr Ger Fitzgerald who is behind the endeavour explained, “The whole idea behind the crib is to show people another side of the church, in that the church is not just four walls. It is a part of life, the church wants to identify with people’s …

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Garda Alert: Ennis man missing

Gardaí are seeking the public’s assistance in tracing the whereabouts of 20-year-old Ennis man, Michael Bugler, missing from Galway city since Friday last. Michael was last seen in the Quay Street area, Galway City on Friday night at approximately 1am. Michael is described as being 5’9″ in height, of thin build with short brown hair and blue eyes. When last seen Michael was wearing a grey coloured jumper and jeans. Gardaí are concerned for his welfare and are asking anyone with information to contact them at Galway Garda Station on 091 538000, The Garda Confidential Line 1800 666111 or any Garda Station.

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Work begins on Ennis market rejuvenation

WORK on revamping Ennis’ market to include a new “iconic” covered building for traders has now begun in the town centre. It is expected that the new market will be ready in time to be showcased to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who will flock to Ennis for next year’s Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. Construction work has started on the Ennis Market Rejuvenation Project with a finish date of July 2016 for phase one of the redevelopment of the market at Garraunakilla. The new market will have room for 25 stalls, made up of internal covered areas and also space for stalls in the courtyard outside. The actual number of stalls for each market will vary, depending on the size of the stalls to be accommodated. According to the council, the allocation of stalls will be done through an open process and following discussion with market traders and other interested parties. Speaking to The Clare Champion at the site …

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Ennis Chamber on the trail of SME finance

A NEWLY announced €50 million loan facility for the SME sector will allow businesses to grow, an Ennis business representative group has said. The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland has announced that under the terms of the deal, SMEs will be able to access more and lower-cost funding for equipment, machinery and vehicles through Finance Ireland, a Dublin-based specialist lender. It is understood the preferential interest rates will be typically 2% lower than current market rates. Ennis Chamber CEO, Rita McInerney said, “As a business representative organisation, the chamber welcomes any initiative that will ensure access to finance for SMEs, who are the backbone of the Irish economy, especially in rural Ireland. “SMEs employ approximately 70% of the people working in this country and make up over 99% of all businesses. It has been particularly challenging in recent years for SMEs to access finance, therefore this fund will make it more affordable for businesses to grow as well as increasing …

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Getting down to business about the Fleadh

Preparations for the hosting of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2016 in Ennis stepped up this week with statutory bodies hosting an information briefing for business people in the town. The briefing was held in advance of Comhaltas Abbey Branch submitting a formal event licence application under the statutory planning process. The application process will afford an opportunity to the wider public to comment on proposals for what will be the largest event ever staged in the town. Local gardaí have provided a contact email address (ennis_ds@garda.ie) up to November 30, where businesses can bring to the attention of the agencies any proposals or issues that might be of relevance for Fleadh 2016. “This is a major event for Ennis and it requires significant advanced planning by all involved. We have opened up a channel of communication with the business community and we would ask that they would engage with the agencies at this point,” commented Superintendent Brendan McDonagh. Adrian Kelly, chief …

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Keane to oversee UHL emergency department

A former Ennis Hospital manager has been appointed to a new role that will see him oversee the management of some medical facilities. Frank Keane has become the new general manager of unscheduled care, which includes managing the emergency department in University Hospital Limerick (UHL), which experiences almost daily overcrowding. It also involves overseeing improvements in the delivery of services in the Local Injuries Units in Ennis and Nenagh and the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) in Ennis, Nenagh and UHL. It is a case of the wheel coming full circle for the Ennis resident, who started his career as a emergency medical technician in 1992 and will now be in charge of the ED in UHL, where paramedics bring patients from the Mid-West for life-saving treatment. Working as an EMT in the region until 1998, he then became an ambulance officer and worked in this role until 2003, when he became a business development manager at UHL. In 2006, he …

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Fleadh briefing for business sector

MEMBERS of the business community, particularly those in the hospitality sector, are being invited to attend a briefing on Monday night to hear about the latest event management plans for the hosting of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. The non-statutory information session, which is being coordinated by Clare County Council in its role as co-ordinator of the statutory agencies for major events, takes place in the Temple Gate Hotel at 6pm. The event will be addressed by Mícheál Ó Riabhaigh, chairman of the Fleadh executive Committee, as well as by representatives of Clare County Council, An Garda Síochána, Clare Fire and Rescue Service, and the HSE. Having narrowly missed out on winning the right to host Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in the past four years, Ennis was named ahead of Sligo and Drogheda as the host venue for the prestigious annual event earlier this year. Speaking ahead of the briefing, Ger Dollard, director of services, Clare County Council, said, “The hosting …

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