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Motorway flooding claims refuted

TRANSPORT Infrastructure Ireland has refuted claims that the risk of flooding in the area was not taken into account when the Gort to Tuam motorway was being designed. Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has stated that motorways are designed and built to maintain the existing flood levels in the area in which they are constructed, with the principle aim being not to compound the existing conditions. “Therefore, the M17/M18 motorway design has to cater for the existing conditions. Under OPW’s design guidance, the M17/M18 motorway has an additional 20% design capacity above and beyond the existing conditions to take into account current climate change events. “It should also be noted that the national motorway network remained open during the most recent extreme weather events. Will motorway/road design always be climate-change proof? The answer is in the question; climate change will drive the design criteria into the future,” said Sean O’Neill, spokesperson. TII was responding to claims by hydrologist Professor Paul Johnson that …

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Springfield roads now passable

Clare County Council has confirmed that a number of roads have reopened in flood-affected parts of North and Southeast Clare as water levels continue to slowly recede. All roads in Springfield, Clonlara are now passable. The N67 at New Quay has reopened but a number of local primary routes remain flooded in the North Clare area. Meanwhile, Clare County Council has received confirmation from the ESB of its decision to reduce the discharge level at Parteen Weir from 300 cumecs to 265 cumecs.

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Action sought as ESSCO winds down

GOVERNMENT and development agencies have been urged to assist East Clare workers who will be laid off when a local company winds down its operation. The worst fears about the future of L3 Communications ESSCO Collins Limited, Enagh, Kilkishen, were realised last week when employees were informed the plant will close by June, with the loss of an estimated 30 full-time and part-time jobs. Speculation about the future of the plant, which manufactures radar systems and equipment, intensified in the run up to Christmas and workers were hit with the devastating news about its closure on Thursday last. It is understood that chief executives from the head office in the United States will visit the plant next Monday to continue negotiations with employees. Describing the closure as a “huge blow”, Councillor Alan O’Callaghan has called on State agencies involved in job creation, especially Enterprise Ireland, to assist the company to try and sell the business as a going concern, or …

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Moy Hill project growing and growing

THE bitingly cool winter air swept across Moy on Monday evening, as the Get Involved 2015 Scheme’s judges visited Moy Hill Community Garden and a 17-acre farm located nearby, which was purchased five months ago. The volunteers who run the community garden have made it to the last six in the Local Ireland-organised Get Involved awards project, which is a competition run by 51 local newspapers throughout the country. The aim is that the national competition will drive voluntary sustainable projects, where local people collectively play a more proactive, inclusive and coherent role in shaping the future of their local environs. Matt Smith, along with his partner Sophie, Fergal Smith and Mitch Corbett, are some of the people who helped establish the community garden before purchasing the 17 acres. The garden grows a huge variety of fruit and vegetables and for much of the year, people visit on Friday evenings to enjoy the social setting. It also features an underground …

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Council workshops on Tidy Towns

Clare County Council environment section has organised a series of workshops in Ennis, Scariff and Miltown Malbay to assist community groups with the Sustainable Waste & Resource Management category of the national SuperValu Tidy Towns competition. While the workshops have been developed to assist Tidy Towns groups, Clare County Council is also encouraging individuals, business, schools and community groups to attend and learn how to become involved in local environmental awareness projects or initiatives within their community. The upcoming workshops, which are supported through the Department of Environment’s Local Agenda 21 Fund, the EPA Local Authority Prevention Network and the Southern Region Waste Management Office, are free of charge. The first themed workshops – entitled ‘Tidy Towns: Promoting a more Sustainable Community’ – will take place at McNamaras Bar in Scariff from 11.00am to 12.30pm on January; Whitestrand Lifesaving Training Centre in Miltown Malbay from 11.00am to 12.30pm on January 27 and Áras Contae an Chláir in Ennis from 7.00pm …

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The late PJ Mara

The death has occurred of PJ Mara, one of the best-known figures in the Irish political arena. A public affairs consultant and former senator, Mr Mara was married to the late Breda Brogan from Kinvara, whose family owned the landmark Brogan’s pub in Ennis. Tributes have been paid to Mr Mara by Toaiseach Enda Kenny, Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin and many other politicans abd friends. Mr Mara is probably best remembered as a political adviser to former Taoiseach Charles Haughey. He served briefly in the Seanad on two separate occasions, in 1981 and 1982, on the nomination of Mr Haughey. A flamboyant  figure, he was press secretary for Fianna Fáil between 1983 and 1987. In 1987 he was appointed Government Press Secretary, and he held this position until February 1992, when he left the public service to move into the private sector. Mr Mara came back to Fianna Fáil as director of elections for the 1997, 2002, and 2007 general elections.  

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Polish ambassador lauds Ennis people’s compassion

THE Ambassador of Poland to Ireland has expressed his “sincere gratitude” to the people of Ennis for the “support, compassion and generosity” shown to Marek Skiba, the 51-year-old man who was found dead on Christmas Day and was buried this week. The funeral of Polish native Mr Skiba, who had experienced homelessness, took place in Ennis Cathedral on Monday, just days after local campaigner for the homeless Josie O’Brien made an appeal for help with the funeral expenses. Ennis undertaker Cyril Cusack stepped in to offer his services for free, with comedian Brendan O’Carroll later promising to cover the costs. As well as Mr Skiba’s friends, many local people who did not know him but were touched by his story attended the funeral. Musicians and singers offered to perform for free and flowers were donated for the service. Clare County Council provided a burial plot for the deceased. Ryszard Sarkowicz, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland to …

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Mary Howard joins Dáil race

  Clare County Councillor, Mary Howard has been officially declared as the third Fine Gael (FG) candidate to contest the forthcoming General Election in the county. Last week, speculation was rife that Councillor Howard would be added by the Fine Gael National Executive Council to the party ticket in Clare at the weekend and has proved to be correct. The former Ennis Town Councillor stated it is a “huge honour” to be asked and also to be considered capable of being part of the local FG team. Despite her late entry into the race, she is looking forward to working with her running mates outgoing FG deputies Pat Breen and Joe Carey to maximise the party’s vote in Clare. “I love my job and my county and I would really love to take it to the next level. I have a proven track record of a strong work ethic and I am a team player thus I would love for …

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