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Regional

Double inquest hears of domestic tragedy

“DOMESTIC dispute – she stabbed me, I stabbed her”, were among the last words spoken by a man who died on the same evening as his wife in Kildysart, shortly before last Christmas. This was outlined at an inquest in Ennis into the deaths of South African couple, Cornelius and Angelique Billing. The inquest also heard that the couple’s two small children were hysterical in the aftermath of the stabbings and one of them was on Kildysart’s Main Street calling for help, as her mother was mortally wounded nearby. The jury heard evidence from gardaí, ambulance and fire service personnel, as well as Deputy State Pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis. Garda John Cahill said that on December 17 of last year he began work at noon and at around 6.25pm, he got a call to go to a fire at a hardware store in Kildysart. While on the Main Street, he saw a woman staggering in the direction of AIB. She …

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Hawk untrasound to deter birds at hospital

A HOSPITAL that serves patients in East Clare and Galway plans to install a hawk ultrasound, among other measures, to deter birds from excreting on window panes and sills on one of its wards, it emerged this week. Details of the pest-control efforts were revealed in a Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) report, following unannounced inspections at Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe. HIQA carried out an unannounced inspection in the hospital in March and a re-inspection in April this year, examining the progress made in resolving issues outlined in the hospital’s Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) prepared after a previous unannounced inspection carried out by the authority in May 2014. It also examined improvements in environmental hygiene and the facilities in the oncology day unit. According to the HIQA report, on visiting St Joseph’s Ward during the March inspection, “an open window on the main corridor alerted inspectors to a large amount of bird excreta present on the exterior of several …

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ISPCA street protest over dog pound

SUPPORTERS of the ISPCA retaining control of the Clare County Pound will hold a peaceful protest on Saturday in O’Connell Square, Ennis, at 11am. This follows last Saturday’s event, in which organisers say between 100 and 200 people came out to back their campaign. Protesters marched carrying placards and chanting slogans supporting the ISPCA and dog warden, Frankie Coote. An online petition calling for the pound to remain in the hands of the ISPCA has received 1,500 signatures so far, with further signatures being gathered on paper at the protests. The protests have been organised by the group Protecting Pound Dogs in Ennis County Clare. The county pound has been run by the ISPCA, with Frankie Coote as dog warden, for decades. The running of the pound has now been put out to tender, with protesters fearing that it will be removed from the ISPCA. Clare County Council insist that no decision has been made on the contract. A spokesperson …

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Killuran Cemetery extension dead and buried

EAST Clare councillor Joe Cooney is pressing the National Monuments Service to change its guidelines on buffer zones around archaeological finds. Kiluran Cemetery Committee has just been refused permission to extend Kiluran Cemetery in O’Callaghan’s Mills due to a discovery of “significant archaeological features” at the site. The National Monuments Service is willing to allow the extension but only if there is a 75m buffer zone and that would bring the extension out of the committee’s land and into another landowner’s property. Councillor Cooney said it looks to be the end of plans to extend the cemetery but will press for a change in guidelines nationally. This week, Clare County Council refused the application for the extension to the more than 100-year-old cemetery on the grounds that, “it is considered that to permit the proposed development would injure or interfere with the historic remains and setting of the adjoining archaeological monuments”. “It’s very, very disappointing,” said Councillor Cooney. “We’re not …

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Meelick graduate scoops inaugural O’Higgins Medal

A MEELICK doctor has scooped a major honour awarded by the University of Limerick (UL) Graduate Entry Medical School. Dr Dermot Murphy, a native of Old Cratloe Road, Meelick and a recent graduate of the UL Graduate Entry Medical School, has been presented with the inaugural O’Higgins Medal at University Hospital Limerick (UHL). Dr Murphy has just commenced his intern year at UHL and is looking forward to working with the medical and surgical teams there. He will commence his work in the areas of general and vascular surgery. The award is supported by Professor Niall O’Higgins, chairman of the Board of UL Hospitals. It was approved and supported by the UL Hospitals’ chief academic officer and foundation head of the Graduate Entry Medical School, Professor Paul Finucane and the UL authorities at the Graduate Entry Medical School. Dr Murphy said it is an honour to receive the award. “I was genuinely surprised and delighted to be recognised by the …

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Council employees have no time for lunch

SUCH is the workload of the significantly reduced number of people working out of the Clare County Council office in Ennistymon, it has been claimed that the three people employed there don’t have time to take a lunch break. Councillor Richard Nagle told the meeting of the West Clare Municipal District in Kilrush that it is virtually impossible for the staff there to provide a complete service to the people of North Clare, despite their best efforts. He predicted a “calamity” if this issue is not addressed. Councillor Nagle forwarded a motion at the meeting requesting that Clare County Council review staffing levels at the Ennistymon Municipal District offices. “I am not suggesting that officers in Ennistymon are not working efficiently. They certainly are. They are being put under intolerable pressure. If I wish to speak to somebody, I won’t ring. I’ll drive in because they are so busy in there that they simply haven’t time to be dealing with …

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Councillor ‘aghast’ at Doolin facilities

CLARE County Council are to upgrade or provide toilet and changing facilities at Kilkee, Lahinch and Spanish Point beaches, following criticism of the current “disgraceful” facilities. However, Councillor Ann Norton, who called for a survey of the toilet and changing facilities at council-owned or council-run amenity sites, said she was in Doolin to see the new pier recently and was “aghast” at the state of the facilities on offer to the public there. The Ennis councillor was also concerned over accessibility for impaired mobility users and asked where access to such facilities is deemed inadequate, that a programme be put in place for their upgrade. “Tourism in Clare is a huge part of generating revenue and to be able to bring tourism into Clare, we have to have good facilities. We have a beautiful scenic coastline and have so much to offer people but, I have to say, unfortunately the amenities and the changing facilities really need a lot of …

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Weedy roundabout a Shannon eyesore

THE appearance of the roundabout at Shannon Town Centre, which is currently beset by weeds, was the target of criticism at this week’s municipal district meeting. Councillor Gerry Flynn put forward a motion asking that the council “remove all the shrubbery off the main roundabout at Shannon Town Centre. This roundabout is an eyesore due to the amount of weeds and unsuitable planting being done at this location over the years, and that a more suitable plan be put in place to enhance this central location in Shannon.” A written reply from senior executive engineer Eugene O’Shea acknowledged the issues raised by the independent councillor. “The appearance of this roundabout is unsatisfactory at present, mainly due to the heavy weed growth that has been exacerbated by recent wet weather conditions. Arrangements will be made with the council’s gardening section to tackle this weed issue at the earliest opportunity. Consultation will also be made with the council’s architects with a view …

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