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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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July 31 deadline for distributor road vote

Clare County Councillors decided to defer making a decision on adopting a controversial road into the County Development Plan, following trenchant opposition from a lobby group. Councillors were given a deadline of July 31 at Monday’s council meeting to make a decision on the proposed Northern Distributor Road. No councillor spoke in favour of proceeding with the preferred route option. Senior planner Gordon Daly warned if councillors decided not to adopt the variation, it had the “potential to end the project for now” and noted that it may not go ahead in the future. Councillors voted by 17 votes to nine to defer a decision on this contentious route until Friday, July 24. The deferral was proposed by Councillor Pat Burke and seconded by Councillor Tom McNamara. Councillor Tony O’Brien proposed a sub-committee be set up including councillors, planners and engineers to try to devise an acceptable alternative proposal. Before the vote, chief executive officer, Tom Coughlan, reminded councillors this …

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Airport security ‘an inordinate draw’ on garda resources

AS anti-war groups prepare to stage a protest at Saturday’s Shannon Air Display, the head of Clare’s garda division this week admitted that dealing with ongoing security matters at the airport is “an inordinate draw” on resources. Speaking at this week’s Joint Policing Committee, Chief Superintendent John Kerin said he would like more resources to be put in place for gardaí in Shannon, particularly in light of the ongoing work involved in dealing with protests and ensuring the security of Shannon Airport. “There is an inordinate draw on our resources that could be used more favourably on crime detection and prevention,” he said. However, the Chief Superintendent added utilising garda resources at the airport is “necessary” and that “they have an impact”. He told the meeting that gardaí are “constantly monitoring” the situation at Shannon Airport to assess any threats, adding that they work very closely with stakeholders to ensure security. Up to 40,000 spectators are expected in Shannon for …

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Farmers in a flap over ‘worthless’ land

Hundreds of farmers in North East Clare and South Galway are in a flap over the designation of land for the protection of the hen harrier, which has rendered an estimated 9,844 acres “worthless”. Feelings are running high among landowners in the Sliabh Aughty area, which has the dubious distinction of having the largest designation to safeguard this protected species under an EU directive. As a new farming group, Irish Farmers With Designated Land (IFDL) briefed deputies and members of the Oireachtas Agricultural Committee on the difficulties that landowners are experiencing due to this designation at a meeting in Dublin this week, local farmers said they are mounting an intensive campaign for change. Frustration and anger over the Government’s decision to suspend the previous compensation scheme in 2010 due to budgetary constraints, will be voiced at a public meeting in Ballinakill, County Galway on Tuesday next at 8.30pm. Farmers’ efforts to receive adequate compensation for the devaluation of their land …

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