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Contractor withdraws from Ennis flood relief scheme

AN €8.6 million flood relief scheme that will protect more than 120 homes, along with businesses and St Flannan’s College, in Ennis is being delayed as a result of a “contractural issue”. Clare County Council has confirmed that the preferred contractor for the Ennis South Flood Relief Scheme has formally withdrawn their tender and works are now not expected to begin until next year at the earliest. It had been anticipated that the project would get underway this summer. The scheme now has to be re-tendered “at the earliest juncture” and “works on the ground will most likely not commence until the spring of 2019,” the local authority stated. Councillor Johnny Flynn expressed disappointment at the delay in “this crucial piece of infrastructure”. The scheme represents the final phase of flood defence works in the town and includes the townlands of Clonroadmore, Ballybeg and Clareabbey, which suffered badly during the floods of 2009. Minister of State Pat Breen assured that …

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hannon gets the country’s first Starbucks drive-thru

The Shannon Free Zone has become home of the country’s first drive-thru Starbucks as the US coffee house chain opened the doors of its latest outlet to the public. The 204sq metre unit developed by Shannon Group subsidiary, Shannon Commercial Properties, will employ 15 people as it becomes the latest page to turn in the evolving story of the Shannon Free Zone. The US based giant, which is among the world’s largest coffee companies and coffee house chains, operates over 20,000 outlets globally but this is the very first drive-thru in the Republic of Ireland. Starbucks opened its first Irish store in 2005. Located in Shannon Free Zone ‘West’, the single storey unit will include outdoor – as well as indoor – seating, ideal for the heatwave currently gripping the nation. Given its location in one of the country’s largest industrial parks, the unit also, appropriately, comprise a coffee dock/meeting hub that will service the entire industrial estate and prove …

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At the School Cycle at Ennis Fire Station on Wednesday were, from left, Clare Champion managing director John Galvin; Clare hurler and advertising sales representative of The Clare Champion, David Reidy, CBS pupil Mark Glynn and his dad, Darragh and organiser, Róisín Garvey.

Biggest gathering ever of young cyclists in Ennis

Last Wednesday, to celebrate National Bike Week, almost 700 children from Ennis and surrounds, along with 100 adults, took part in a 3km cycle around Ennis to promote the benefits of cycling to school. Starting from behind the Fire Station on new road, the peleton took a tour around the town, taking over the streets for almost an hour. At the finish at The Fair Green, the children were organised into groups to make up a giant   ‘1.5’ on the playing field to remind motorists to leave at least 1.5m space around cyclists on the road.                    

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Kilkee coast guard unit further down-graded

ACROSS the May Bank Holiday weekend, Kilkee had no coast guard service available in the event of an emergency. A source has told The Clare Champion that the limited service the Kilkee unit of the Irish Coast Guard had been providing was further down-graded, following a recent training incident. It has also been claimed that the current coast guard crew have not recently passed an Operational Readiness Assessment (ORA) in more than two years. The Clare Champion contacted the Department of Transport on Wednesday for a comment on the claims, but it had not responded at the time of going to press. “The coast guard will say that they have a boat. We all know they have a boat but they don’t have a crew. Every time they need to go in the water, they need to bring an instructor down from Maritime SAR to even get on the water to do the training. There are about six people who …

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Ennis travel agent wins prestigious award

County Clare travel specialist Gearóid Mannion has won the prestigious award for ‘Best Corporate’ at the annual conference for leading independent travel company, Travel Counsellors. The awards, which recognise the exceptional work of Travel Counsellors’ network of franchisees, were presented at a black-tie ceremony in Powerscourt Hotel, Wicklow. The gala event featured as part of Travel Counsellors’ renowned two-day annual conference, which saw over 160 travel professionals in attendance. Speaking about his win, Ennis-based Gearóid, who specialises in corporate travel and holidays for discerning clients, said: “It is an honour to be awarded ‘Best Corporate’. I’ve been in travel all my life, and with Travel Counsellors for the past few years, and it is a job I am extremely passionate about. For both my business and leisure clients, I focus on offering what sets Travel Counsellors apart… bespoke experiences, expert advice, and unrivalled customer service.” Commending Gearóid on his award, General Manager of Travel Counsellors Ireland, Cathy Burke stated: “Every …

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Aer Lingus changes to Shannon-US winter services

AER LINGUS has opted to reverse a pattern of recent years at Shannon, opting to continue with its New York service in the opening months of 2019, while suspending its Boston service. A spokesperson for Shannon said that in the final analysis Aer Lingus will now be able to accommodate more passengers travelling between Shannon and the US due to this move. “On balance we are pleased with the extra transatlantic capacity that this service switch creates. This change strengthens Aer Lingus’s commitment to Shannon by adding an extra 2,500 (seats) and restores a year-round service from New York to Shannon, but we are disappointed that the Boston market can only be accessed via New York for this two month winter period.” While the statement said that Shannon would continue to work with Aer Lingus on the Boston service, there are extra benefits to maintaining a link with a major global hub like JFK. “The benefits of the restoration and …

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Shannon Airport to aid farmers with silage cut

Shannon Airport has pledged its support to farmers battling the current fodder crisis by offering to repeat its intervention of 2013 when it harvested silage from its 400 acre site. The Airport’s operations team will meet with farm representatives over the coming days to explore the need to fast-track cutting of grass on the airport grounds in light of the severe difficulties faced by many farmers due to the prolonged inclement winter and spring weather. The airport’s grass husbandry programme is not due to see any grass inside the airport perimeter cut until later in the summer, but in light of the shortages, the airport is offering to bring it forward to support local farmers. Five years ago, in late April, farmers received 1,600 bales of silage from the airport in what was then the most severe fodder crisis in living memory. Airport operations director Niall Maloney said,“Farmers were in difficulty back then and, having seen just how important our …

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Remembering Winnie Mandela’s Shannon stopover

FOLLOWING the death of Winnie Mandela on Easter Monday, former airport police officer John O’Halloran recalled a stopover she made at Shannon Airport in 1990. It was shortly after her husband’s release from 27 years of imprisonment, and the visit was quite unexpected. “At the time this photo was taken she was due to come to Ireland about a month later on an official visit,” says John. He ended up with the first photos of Mrs Mandela taken here with her husband. “He [Nelson Mandela] was on a tour of a handful of nations around the world. He had gone from Johannesburg, arrived in Rome, stayed there for a while and he was going to Ottowa in Canada. “On the way they were running low on fuel and they diverted into Shannon unexpectedly. On the day I was in charge of Airport Police and I didn’t call anyone in, we looked after them while they were there.” John added, “She …

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