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Gardaí investigate ‘suspicious’ house fire

A GARDA investigation is continuing into the cause of what has been described as a “suspicious” fire in an Ennis housing estate. One house completely destroyed and another very badly damaged at Dún Na hInse, off the Lahinch Road, in the early hours of Saturday morning. The alarm was raised by residents of the estate and when three units of the fire service and a garda patrol rushed to the scene they found the end house of the vacant three house terrace was ablaze and its roof had fallen in. The roof of the adjoining house had also caught fire and caved in but the fire crews managed to bring the blaze under control and prevent it from spreading to the third house. Once the fires had been extinguished, gardaí sealed off the scene pending completion of a technical examination. The remains of the house that had sustained the worst damage was also cordoned off and engineers are expected to …

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A night of nostalgia for St Michael’s residents

Clare Roots Society is to extend its work in publishing and recording the history of the county, after completing its programme in Ennis. Its latest publication, St Michael’s Villas (Ennis) A History and Miscellany, was launched by Mayor of Ennis Johnny Flynn at the Temple Gate Hotel last week. It was a night of nostalgia and storytelling and a great reunion of past and present residents of the estate, which was opened in 1953. It was also a night to recall the names of deceased residents, who were remembered at a special ‘Celebrating Our Story and Remembering Our Dead’ mass in Ennis Cathedral earlier in the evening, celebrated by Fr Tom Ryan, Shannon, a son of St Michael’s. All the speakers at the launch congratauled St Michael’s Villas native Cora McNulty (the former Cora Hahessy), who documented the publication, which captures the history of a strong and vibrant community as well listing the wonderful achievements by many of its residents. Among …

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From ‘Champion to bestsellers list

CLARE-born journalist, Ann O’Loughlin has seen her debut novel, The Ballroom Café, go to number four on the Amazon Kindle bestseller list, even before its official launch in the UK and Ireland last Thursday. The Ballroom Café is set at the height of the recession in Ireland in a crumbling mansion, where two elderly sisters, Ella and Roberta O’Callaghan, live alone with their secrets, memories and mutual hatred. Long estranged by a dark family tragedy, they communicate only by terse notes. But when the sisters are threatened with bankruptcy, Ella defies Roberta’s wishes and takes matters into her own hands, converting the mansion’s old ballroom into a café. Much to Roberta’s displeasure, the café is a hit and the sisters are reluctantly drawn back into village life. But Ella finds herself reliving painful memories, when Debbie, an American woman searching for her birth mother, begins working at the café. The sisters find themselves caught up in an adoption scandal that …

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Pat Daly is new Mayor of Ennis

THE newly elected Mayor of the Ennis Municipal District, Councillor Pat Daly, has expressed his gratitude for the vote of confidence placed in him by the councillors of the district. The Ennis native said he was proud, grateful and humbled at his election, which was unanimously agreed by his colleagues at the annual general meeting of the district council. Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy nominated her Fianna Fáil colleague to be mayor, seconded by independent councillor Ann Norton and supported by councillors Mary Howard, James Breen, Paul Murphy and the outgoing mayor, Johnny Flynn. Councillor Tom McNamara sent his apologies for not being able to attend the AGM, as he is recovering from an operation at present but he also supported his Fianna Fáil colleague. Councillor Mary Howard was elected as deputy mayor. In his opening address, Councillor Daly noted, “I once had the honour to be named Mayor of Clare but to be named mayor of my own town is …

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Family home ‘wrongfully demolished’

THE High Court has found that consultant engineers and Limerick County Council were responsible for the wrongful demolition of a family home during the construction of a new dual carriageway between Limerick and Nenagh. Brian and Mary O’Shaughnessy described the destruction of their single storey two bedroom old Irish farmhouse, The Hollows at Annaholty, Birdhill, County Tipperary on September 6, 2006 was a nightmare. The site was never used for the new road. Giving judgment, Mr Justice Donald Binchy, who said it was “abundantly clear” what happened “was not down to any single act”, found the consultant engineers, which was a joint venture called RPS Scetauroute, was 70% responsible while the local authority was 30% responsible. A third party which carried out the actual demolition was found not to be negligent in the matter. The O’Shaughnessys sought damages for alleged negligence from several parties, including Limerick CC/The National Roads Authority, who it was claimed were both responsible for the operation, …

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Tipperary man missing

GARDAÍ in Ennistymon are seeking the public’s assistance in tracing the whereabouts of 30-year-old John Ryan, missing from Faranaderry, Templemore. John is studying computers at Limerick IT and residing in Bunratty. He is is described as 5″10, slim build, short brown hair and has green eyes. He was last seen at Cliffs of Moher, Liscannor, driving a green Volkswagen Golf on the evening of June 7. He was wearing a light grey cardigan, black t-shirt, blue jeans and white runners. Anyone who has seen John or who can assist in locating him is asked to contact Ennistymon Garda Station on (065) 7072180, the Garda Confidential Telephone Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

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Higgins has sights on Labour Dáil seat

EAST Galway Labour Senator, Lorraine Higgins has been selected as the party’s candidate in the constituency for the 2016 General Election. Senator Higgins is the Seanad Labour Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade and was nominated to the Seanad by the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, in 2011. She had run in the general election earlier that year but was narrowly beaten. Last year, she ran as the Labour candidate in the Midlands-North-West constituency in the European Parliament election. Speaking at the Labour Party convention in her home town of Athenry on Friday, Senator Higgins said she planned to win a seat in Dáil Éireann. “In regard to the question of whether or not I can win, the simple answer is yes. The perception that Galway East is not Labour heartland no longer applies. At the last election, we turned that thinking on its head, when the party received almost 8,000 first-preference votes, enough for me to take a seat next time …

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The Castle brings village back to life

MORE than 40 craftspeople, artists and antique dealers have already taken retail space in the newly-opened arts, antiques and craft centre and restaurant at the former Coach House pub in Clarecastle. The Castle, a three-storey building, has been given a €1m restoration through the partnership of antiques expert, Paul Walsh – who operated in the nearby Antique Loft premises across the road for many years; coach operator, PJ Keogh, of PK Travel; and tourism and accommodation specialist, Emelyn Heaps, of Renaissance Resorts. Walsh also had a successful antiques business in Kilcolgan, County Galway, which he sold two years ago, thinking to retire and spend more time indulging in his hobby of horse-training. However, his friend, Emelyn, had other ideas. “Emelyn said to me, ‘Your building would make a great craft building’ but I told him it’s not big enough on its own. It might be okay for crafts but it’s not big enough to make it a draw for people. …

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