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North Clare

Formal signing of Doolin Pier contract

MINISTER for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin was in Doolin on Tuesday to visit the location of the proposed €6m pier project. His visit coincided with the signing by Clare County Council of a contract with L&M Keating, the successful tenderer for the construction of the new pier. Construction work will begin in the coming days and is expected to be completed by the middle of next year. Mayor of Clare, Joe Arkins, said, “The project has been long sought after by ferry operators, fishermen and tourists,who use the pier. The completed pier will be used mainly to facilitate ferry activity between North Clare and the Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher during the tourist season, while the existing pier will be available to accommodate other activities – both leisure based and otherwise. The new pier will ensure that Doolin is accessible in all tidal conditions, which will be of particular benefit to Doolin Search and Rescue as well …

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Clare roadworks funding has halved

By Owen Ryan FUNDING for roadworks in Clare has been almost halved over the last six years and maintaining the county’s infrastructure is now “a real case of loaves and fishes”, this week’s meeting of the County Council heard. Senior engineer Tom Tiernan presented the council’s roadworks programme to Monday’s meeting, which was held in Killaloe, in honour of the Brian Ború Millennium Celebrations. He told the meeting the total allocation for 2014 is a massive 46.8% less than the figure for six years previously. “2008 was the last year of the so-called Celtic Tiger and, since then, things have been on the slide, basically.” The 2014 allocation is down by just over 6%, to €16.8million, from €17.9m in 2013. In the introduction to the programme, it was stated weather conditions have only added to the problems created by the declining funds. “It is now six years since the last roadworks programme, which reflected the characteristics of the boom period, …

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A whiskey toast to the Burren

THE Irish Whiskey Association (IW), launched last week by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney,  has revealed that the sector is set to invest over €1 billion in Ireland in the next 10 years. Clare-based Burren Irish Whiskey, who are building a distillery, are members of the newly formed association and were  represented at the launch. With over 15 new distilleries currently being developed across the country, the new association brings together new entrants and existing companies to promote Irish whiskey and to ensure the product is given vital protection going forward. Irish whiskey exports have grown by 220% since 2003 and are now valued at €350m.  In 2003, Irish whiskey made up just over 9% of beverages exports, which has grown to over 28% of total beverages exports from Ireland. According to the association  export numbers are to double to 12 million cases by 2020 and double again to 24 million cases by 2030. Irish whiskey employs …

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Wild West in North Clare

Oklahoma! comes to Lahinch this week, when Ennistymon Choral Society stages the popular musical from Wednesday until Sunday. “Oklahoma! is a wonderfully fun show full of diverse characters, beautiful, familiar music and roaring dance numbers. Cast and crew have been working very hard since last October to put on a great show for our local community. “Set against a colourful backdrop of cowboys and farmers fighting for their rights in the changing state of Oklahoma at the turn of the 20th century, this show is packed with romance and danger, hilarious moments and roaring dance numbers,” outlined Emma-Jane Brown, secretary of Ennistymon Choral Society. The performances will take place at Seaworld Hall in Lahinch from 8.15pm each day. “Familiar and new faces will tread the boards this year and the society is deeply grateful for the wonderful local talent that our part of Clare has to offer,” she added. “This year marks a new era for the society. We have …

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All-Star transplants kidneys for Ennistymon brothers

By Dan Danaher RETIRED Dublin All-Star footballer, David Hickey has the distinction of transplanting new kidneys for two Ennistymon brothers, 10 years apart. Dr Hickey, who is the current director of transplantation in Ireland, performed the surgery to provide Stefan Davis (23) from Ennistymon with a new kidney on November 13 last. He carried out the same operation for his brother, Gary (27), who works in Liscannor as a kitchen porter, 10 years ago in 2004. Meanwhile, their mother, Mary is on haemodialysis for ten years. Stefan was on dialysis for two and a half years and was on the kidney pool a year before he went on dialysis. Mary explains for the first time in 23 years he is not in and out of hospitals. “He is only back to work three weeks but the difference in him is amazing. Stefan was a premature baby and from the day he was born until now he was a regular visitor …

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The end of an area

THE abolition of the Ennistymon Electoral Area later this year was described as “a retrograde step” by a local representative. Councillor Michael Hillery was speaking at the final Ennistymon Electoral Area meeting held on Monday. In May, the electoral area boundaries change and a large part of the existing Ennistymon Electoral Area will merge with the existing Kilrush Electoral Area, while the remaining part will join with the East Clare Electoral Area. Local area meetings for the larger North Clare area will now take place in the new municipal centre in Kilrush. “I feel it is a retrograde step that the area is being disbanded and the main office is going to be in Kilrush. This will be a great loss to North Clare,” Councillor Hillery said. “This will continue as a service centre,” said Niall Barrett, Clare County Council director of service and area co-prdinator. Councillor Bill Slattery stressed that it remained unclear in “what form” the Ennistymon office …

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Eddie’s app in a league of its own

AN app designed by a North Clare man is getting international attention after being endorsed by Premiership soccer scouts and shortlisted in a UK technology competition. Sports Tagger, which enables sports coaches, scouts and analysts to assess the performance of individual players and teams, is shortlisted alongside Sky Sports, Wilson and Adidas in the inaugural Sports Technology Awards. Longford-born Eddie Crowe has lived in Lahinch since 1998 and has been involved in local sports clubs since. As a coach, he found analysing and critiquing players’ performances was not easy without evidence, so he developed an app, which he is hoping will revolutionise performance evaluation in a variety of sports. Mr Crowe said the app was endorsed by Dave Hobson, chief scout with Manchester United and that he is now in talks with an international company about integrating his Sport Tagger app with technology packages aimed at sports teams across Canada. “As a coach, my objective was to provide an app …

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Planned toilet block stalled

A TOILET block on the prom in Lahinch, which was sold for €400,000, could be bought back by Clare County Council if a local representative has his way. Plans have been in place for some time for a new toilet block on the lower prom, but these stalled as the local authority waited for funding from Fáilte Ireland. Now, in light of recent flooding, Councillor Bill Slattery has asked that the council consider buying back the old toilet block, which was located on higher ground, rather than flushing money down the toilet on a new block in an area badly flooded in January and February storms. Seaworld in Lahinch has opened up its toilets for public use but Councillor Slattery described them “totally inadequate” for the numbers of people requiring them. He requested that new public toilets and shower facilities be provided “as a matter of urgency”. He suggested that funds raised from car parking and traffic fines in the resort town, …

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‘Unacceptable’ confusion over pier money ‘spin’

MONEY for piers and harbours in Clare ‘announced’ last week by the Minister Simon Coveney and welcomed by Clare Oireachtas members is not additional funding, it has emerged. Minister Coveney released a statement on Friday outlining a ‘€23 million package for piers and harbours countrywide’, which included more than €230,000 for projects in Clare. Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway, Labour TD Michael McNamara and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Pat Breen, all welcomed the €232,650 allocated to Clare County Council under the Storm Damage Programme. However, it now appears this money forms part of the €16.8 million already allocated by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government to Clare County Council at the end of last month. North Clare representatives are now calling for clarity from central government in relation to the breakdown of funding allocated for the county. Councillor Michael Kelly described the announcement as “spin” while Councillor Bill Slattery said it was …

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Path cleared for Doolin Pier contracts

MINISTER of State Jan O’Sullivan said she has this week signed the foreshore license, which clears the way for the signing of the contract for a new pier at Doolin. Labour TD Michael McNamara described this as very good news and said he hopes the contract for the €5.2 million pier will be signed shortly. “It is expected that the project will take about a year to complete and I hope the new commercial pier will be operational during the 2015 summer season. This is a major development for Doolin and will greatly improve connectivity with the Aran Islands. The contract provides for a new pier, new access road and sea dredging which will allow access to the pier at all times and eliminate the need to use smaller boats to transfer passengers when ferries cannot reach the existing pier. “I had extensive discussions last summer with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, to ensure funding for this important infrastructural investment in North …

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