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Two rescued from grounded yacht

Two sailors were rescued  after their yacht rang aground in darkness near the entrance to Kilrush Marina. Shortly after midnight, the Kilrush RNLI lifeboat was launched following reports that a 36ft yacht with two people on board had run aground on a falling tide near the entrance to the marina. The lifeboat reached the scene within minutes and the two sailors were taken on board the lifeboat and brought back to the RNLI base at Cappagh.

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Extra psychiatric nurses hired after alleged assaults on staff

THE Health Service Executive (HSE) has agreed to recruit an extra 14 psychiatric nurses, following 36 alleged assaults on staff working in the Galway Mental Health Service for the first four months of the year. Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) secretary, Des Kavanagh has confirmed that the number of psychiatric nurses working in the Galway Mental Health Service is to increase from 50 to 64. In an interview with The Clare Champion, Mr Kavanagh said he recently met senior HSE managers to discuss ways to address the huge number of alleged assaults that were taking place in the service. He said the union was very concerned about the chronic staff shortage and the reluctance of management to call in additional staff on overtime or to hire agency personnel. Stating that staffing levels were at “critical levels”, he said the High Observation Unit in the Department of Psychiatry at University Hospital Galway had to remain closed due to a lack of staff. …

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Exploring Burren mysteries by bike

A NORTH Clare man is introducing tourists to the mysteries of the Burren. Enda McGuane, founder of West Coast Cycle Tours, explained how visits from friends inspired his flagship tour, the Wild Atlantic Day. “I got a bike about seven or eight years ago on the Bike to Work Scheme and am living in Kilnamona so I’m close to the Burren and the coast, so I came up with this from cycling around on my own and with my friends and seeing what was out there that was good to do. When my friends from outside the county or from college would come up to visit, I’d take them to these places,” he said. “The one thing about cycling here is that it is not as safe in Ireland as it is on the continent but we have tried to pick the most scenic and safe routes. The Western Greenway and the West Clare Railway are great starts in providing …

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Sewerage extension following political pressure

FOUR extra housing estates will be included in the new €4.5 million Kinvara Sewerage Scheme after Irish Water approved a major extension following political pressure. The estates, not originally included in the initial plan, include Cuan na Oir, Bothar na Mias, Dunguaire Haven and Ard an Mhuillinn. The cost of these extensions is €485,895 in total, over and above the estimated €4.5 million, which will be needed to complete the public sewerage scheme. Work on the new sewerage scheme is scheduled to start in October. At an average €6,650 per existing property, it compares well with figures previously used by Department of the Environment as a basis for similar extensions. On this basis, it is expected that Irish Water will be able to proceed with inclusion of these estates, in tandem with the commissioning of the new treatment works in 2016. Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins has claimed the water utility decided to include the four estates in the new scheme …

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Recruitment underway at Hotel Woodstock

THE countdown to the re-opening of the landmark Woodstock in Ennis has begun, with the doors set to open at the end of this month. While the hotel is being opened on a phased basis, according to Choice Hotel Group, they are already taking bookings for all areas of the hotel, which is being re-branded Hotel Woodstock. The re-opening of the hotel is also set to create 50 jobs, with that figure expected to grow. Recruitment for positions across all departments has begun. The purchase of the Woodstock brings Choice Hotel Group’s portfolio to a total of seven hotels in Ireland and one in the UK. “We are very excited about this addition to our group of hotels, and believe that the local community are also looking forward to seeing the hotel back open,” says Darragh Brady, regional group general manager for Choice Hotel Group. “With a location just outside Ennis town and a short drive to Galway and Limerick …

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Flooding risks still exist in West Clare

Clare County Council has admitted that current sea defences in Quilty, Spanish Point and the White Strand Beach in Miltown Malbay are not sufficient to deal with a repeat of the adverse flooding in early 2014. At this week’s West Clare District meeting, Councillor Michael Hillery asked that the council “would present a progress report on the coastal protection works” at the the three locations. “The existing sea defences at all three areas are inadequate to withstand a similar storm to that of January 2014 again. To that end, funding is approved for by the Office of Public Works (OPW) for a single coastal erosion and flood risk management study for the section of coast from Quilty to Milltown Malbay, with particular focus on each of the three locations – Quilty, Spanish Point and Whitestrand,” council engineer Stephen Lahiffe explained in a written reply. “The scope of the consultant’s study must accord with the OPW’s guidance for such studies. Standard …

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Support for Lough Derg abstraction could drown out local opposition

Clare County Council’s opposition to the proposed Lough Derg water abstraction project may be drowned by the huge waves of support from vested interests in the east of the country, local councillors have claimed. Councillors have warned that the lack of professional, technical and engineering support for their objections makes it harder to fight the huge volume of submissions supporting the planned abstraction of over 330 million litres of water daily from Lough Derg, to supply the greater Dublin region. Local councillors expressed trenchant opposition to Irish Water’s plans to take water from the lake at a special briefing session for the Killaloe Municipal District. Councillor Pat Hayes lamented the fact there is “no one to fight for our side” and noted the former North Tipperary Council still had not made a submission after entering into an agreement with the previous promoters of this project, Dublin City Council, to get financial assistance for an independent assessment of the plans. Claiming …

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Lynch disappointed at motion stalemate

COUNCILLOR Ian Lynch has expressed “bitter disappointment” at Clare County Council’s decision not to debate his motion, relating to the purchase of houses by Clare County Council on the Beál an Inbhir estate in Kilrush. It was the first time in many decades that a sitting councillor was stopped from having their motion debated. “It’s extremely disappointing that a decision has been made without being privy to the full facts. Legal advice was sought on the motion and opinion was formed based on one side of the available information,” he claimed. “At Monday’s meeting, I asked for the members to hear my claim that the legal advice was incorrect but members chose not to give me the opportunity to stand behind my motion. The removal of my motion denied me the right of raising genuine concerns in relation to how these houses are being purchased. By removing the notice from the agenda, I was further denied the opportunity to amend …

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