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Regional

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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UNESCO designation for Cliffs and Burren

The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark has been designated as a UNESCO site following a vote at the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) General Conference in Paris today (Tuesday). The Burren and Cliffs of Moher is now one of 120 UNESCO Global Geoparks across the world. The designation means that the Clare County Council managed Geopark, along with Ireland’s two other Geoparks, the Copper Coast Geopark and Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, is now a UNESCO Global Geopark and is now at the same level as other UNESCO designated sites such as Newgrange and the Giant’s Causeway. Reflecting on the announcement, cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, James Breen said, “As a Geopark, the Burren is very much part of a global community that shares knowledge and expertise on heritage management and sustainable development, leading to well-managed protected landscapes with preserved local heritage. This approach, combined with a good working relationship with communities throughout the Burren has …

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Plea for end to drink culture

A grieving father has issued an appeal for an end to the “frightening” culture of excess drinking involving some young people. Danny Mungovan, who runs Quilty Holiday Cottages, made the plea at the funeral mass for his son, Stephen (20), who was found by Irish Navy divers in the waters off Spanish Point last week. Addressing the packed congregation in the Star of the Sea Church and hundreds of mourners who stood outside on Sunday last, Danny said his family would never forget the work of all the emergency services, volunteers and neighbours who never stopped walking the shore night and day. This is the second time that tragedy has struck the family. Another son, Michael (22), was killed when he was struck by a train while he was working at Vauxhall Station, South London in October 2000. Stating that both he and his wife, Geraldine, do not drink, Danny said he offered several times to go out and purchase …

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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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Global award for Loop Head

THE tourism and economic sectors in West Clare received a seismic boost on Wednesday when the Loop Head Heritage Trail won the Best Cultural Heritage Attraction at the World Responsible Tourism Awards in London. The awards are staged each year as part of World Travel Market. Launched in November 2014, the Loop Head Heritage Trail was created by a network of 47 local businesses, now the Loop Head Tourism Network, which is based in the area. Loop Head Tourism Network chairman Cillian Murphy attended the World Travel Market and, speaking to The Clare Champion on Wednesday, expressed his delight at the global award. “I’m very proud of what a group of people have achieved back in Loop Head. Some of the people are involved in the tourism industry but some aren’t and are just involved because they are interested in our heritage. It’s a great validation of where we live and the people we live with and how they view …

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Festival to showcase Burren chocolate factory

The world’s smallest and most remote bean-to-bar chocolate factory, based in North Clare, will be showcased at the first annual Bite Food Festival in the RDS from November 19-22. Hazel Mountain Chocolate will be one of the country’s top artisan producers showcased at the major new food festival, which is expected to attract over 20,000 Irish food and drink lovers. Based on a small farm near the Burren, the internationally award-winning factory is about to expand its products into Scandinavia, where their seaweed chocolate has already become a huge hit. Their success story started just four years ago when John Connolly and his Polish-born chocolatier wife Kashia decided to learn how to become chocolate makers. “We use uniquely-flavoured cocoa beans from Madagascar, Cuba, Costa Rica and Venezuela and ensure we get them direct trade from small farms in each country,” said John. “Our dark chocolate is made from just two ingredients, cocoa beans and unrefined cane sugar. “It takes about …

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Loop Head-based photographer shortlisted for Irish Book Awards

Loop Head-based photographer Carsten Krieger has been shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards 2015. His book, Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, has been nominated for Best Irish Published Book of the Year. Published under O’Brien Press, the public can vote for their favourite at www.irishbookawards.ie/vote2015/ until November 19.

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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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