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Regional

Watt an idea for Ennis mill wheel

AN HISTORIC Ennis project, which certainly isn’t run of the mill, is set to get its wheel in motion in the coming weeks. Restoration work on the 19th century mill wheel at the Maid of Éireann roundabout, with the potential for producing renewable energy, is expected to be completed shortly. However, don’t expect any reduction in electricity bills with an estimated cost of more than €60,000 to make the commercial production of electricity worth €2,203 a year viable. That has not stopped calls for the private sector to get involved in making the potential for renewable energy generation by harnessing the power of the River Fergus at the site a reality. The Ennis mill wheel has been restored in a project undertaken by the Ennis Civic Trust with Ger Dollard, director of services at Clare County Council, confirming that the restoration is expected to be finished next month. Ennis Councillor Johnny Flynn believes the project has the potential for creating …

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Retired Paddy ups the sweepskakes

IT’S hard to break the habit of a lifetime. Patrick Daffy has had 35 years of getting up at the crack of dawn, ensuring that Ennis’ streets looks pristine. And even though he has recently retired from the outdoor staff of Clare County Council, he confesses that the early starts are continuing. “Our week would start on a Friday and we would work seven days a week, starting at 7.30am and 5.30am on the weekends. I was always a good time-keeper, I was hardly ever late. I’d say you could count on one hand the amount of times I was late in all the years,” he said. However, when asked if he is enjoying the chance of a long lie-in now he has retired, he laughed. “I was still up this morning early! You get into the habit but it’s grand – I went for a walk.” Patrick started working with Clare County Council on March 31, 1980. Over the …

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Cute Kerry hoors do a number on Kilrush

THE Kilrush Tidy Towns Committee may be regretting being so helpful to their counterparts in Listowel, when a delegation from the North Kerry town visited West Clare last spring. The Kerry group arrived in Kilrush, cap in hand, wondering aloud as to the secret behind their hosts’ 2014 win in Ireland’s Tidiest Small Town category. Led by their chairman, Paul Edson, the Kilrush committee were ever so helpful and sang like canaries. Imagine their shock on Monday, when they learned they had been knocked off their perch by none other than Listowel, who improved their 2014 total by 11 points. “We must have given them too much information because they went and dethroned us, the cute hoors,” Paul Edson laughed ruefully. Kilrush did finish second in their category and picked by their eighth successive Tidy Towns gold medal, so it wasn’t exactly a nightmare week for them. “Murt Collins, our vice-chairman, is a Kerry man and he knows the Listowel …

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Ennis celebrates its purple reign

ENNIS will take on a distinctive purple hue this weekend, as the town showcases its standards of excellence in the local evening and night-time economy. To mark the annual celebration of the Purple Flag programme, both in Ireland and the UK, this weekend, Ennis has planned a wide range of events not only to showcase the quality, diversity and vibrancy of their evening entertainment but to challenge the common negative, stereotypical perceptions about the safety and quality of the town. The iconic O’Connell Monument in O’Connell Street will be lit in purple, while purple flags will be flying around the town. The Ennis Purple Flag Working Group, consisting of members of the local gardaí, the Municipal District of Ennis, Ennis Chamber, evening and night-time business owners and managers and Ennis taxis, have organised informational highlights during the Purple Flag weekend. In particular, a stall will be open at Dunnes Stores this Friday, giving information about the Purple Flag and Ennis …

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Gold for Ennis and Kilrush in Tidy Towns

Both Ennis and Kilrush came agonisingly close to winning the national title in the National Tidy Towns competitions, the results of which were announced today (Monday). Ennis (321) and Kilrush (320) have both been awarded Gold Medals, finishing just 2 and 3 marks respectively off the overall competition winner, Letterkenny (323). Mountshannon won Silver and there were Bronze Medals for Ballynacally, Kilkee, Tuamgraney and Quin. Clarecastle won an Endeavour Award, while Ennis, Kilrush and Mountshannon claimed the County Awards. Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, James Breen said, “Regardless of whether or not they have received an award in the national competition, each of Clare’s other Tidy Towns participants are already winners for the huge positive contribution they have made to their localities.” Chairperson of Ennis Tidy Towns Committee, Josephine Cotter Coughlan, stated, “We are delighted with our result this year and to have achieved an increase of seven marks on our 2014 score. The fact that Ennis finished just two …

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The road is reopened at Clonbony Bridge. Photograph by John Kelly

Contractor for Clonbony Bridge

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (formerly the NRA) has announced that a contractor will be appointed this week to undertake remedial works to Clonbony Bridge on the N67 near Miltown Malbay. The Bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic since September 11, following significant flooding in the area. Subsequent inspections of the bridge have indentified structural damage to one of the bridge abutments which has necessitated the closure of the bridge and the rerouting of traffic. Senior engineer, Clare County Council, Tom Tiernan, commented, “Clare County Council is conscious of the disruption that the closure has caused for local businesses in Miltown Malbay, as well as local residents. However, the continued closure has proven to be necessary on foot of inspections that have deemed the bridge structure to have been compromised.”

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A third of Cliffs visitors stay the night

ONE-third of all visitors to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience in the past year stayed at least one night in the county, according to new figures. More than 1,660 people completed online surveys for the attraction in the 12 months from August 2014 to August 2015 and these figures show that 33.2% of visitors indicated they had spent either the night before their Cliffs visit, the night after or both nights, in County Clare. “This indicates a minimum of 536,174 overnights in the county, not taking into account those staying longer than two nights. In 2014, incentive pricing for group tours arriving before 11am or after 4pm was introduced, which further encourages an overnight stay locally,” Ger Dollard, director of services, Clare County Council, stated. The local authority, which owns the centre, reledased the new figures. Mr Dollard stated that while the average spend in the county per visitor to the Cliffs is not known, “by any measure the …

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Doonbeg expansion dependent on coastal works

UNLESS rock armour protection is put in front of the sand dunes in Doughmore Beach, the Doonbeg golf course will eventually be rendered unusable. That’s the stark message from the golf resort general manager, Joe Russell. He was speaking following a two-day consultation, held in Doonbeg community hall this week, on a proposed coastal protection scheme. The golf course was extensively flooded in 2014 and some holes were closed for long periods. “The golf course needs to be protected. Over the last number of years, the dune face has retreated approximately a yard per year. People have seen a huge retreat in these dunes. If we don’t do it, eventually the golf course will go and there is an over-riding question; what generation is going to do it? If it breaches the dunes, a lot of agricultural land behind the club is going to get flooded,” Joe Russell predicted. Up to 10 metres of sand dune front along the entire …

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