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Regional

Gardaí treat fire as ‘suspicious’

Gardaí are treating as suspicious a fire at a Traveller accommodation site at Knockanean, on the outskirts of Ennis, in the early hours of Sunday morning. Emergency services were alerted to the fire just off Junction 13 of the M18 motorway at around 4am. Fire tenders, an ambulance and the gardaí attended the scene. The house, which was unoccupied at the time, was engulfed in flames. Gardaí say they’re treating the fire as suspicious and are awaiting results of a forensic examination before determining the course of their investigation. Anyone with information on the incident or who may have been in the Tulla Road area around 4am on Sunday morning tare asked to contact the bgardai at Ennis on 065 684 8100.

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Clare Tourism lauds EDEN win for Burren

Clare Tourism has congratulated members of the Burren Food Trail after the sustainable tourism initiative was named winner of the 2015 European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) award. The Burren Food Trail was one of four destinations shortlisted by Fáilte Ireland earlier this month in the prestigious EU-wide EDEN competition. The theme of the competition, which was previously won by Loop Head, was ‘Tourism and Local Gastronomy’ and the winning destination was chosen following on-site assessments by a panel of expert adjudicators. Martin Waldron, North Clare representative on the Clare Tourism Steering Group said the award win will help to promote and give official recognition to the “wide range of fantastic work” that is ongoing throughout the Burren through sustainable business practices. Mr. Waldron, whose operates Self Catering Accommodation through Corofin-based Burren Escape, added: “As PRO of the Burren Ecotourism Network, I have witnessed at first hand the benefits for food operators and businesses in coming together to develop and promote …

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Access and connectivity key

In a week dominated by aviation-related headlines, Shannon Chamber hosted a luncheon seminar where two key players in the tourism and travel sectors – Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland and Suzanne Boda, senior vice president Asia, Canada, Europe and Cargo, American Airlines – were guest speakers. The lunch, sponsored by American Airlines, was held in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Limerick and attended by representatives from the business, tourism and hospitality sectors. Chamber president Kevin Thompstone said in his introductory remarks that access and connectivity is the key to increasing visitor numbers to the West of Ireland. “With just over 5% of international traffic to Ireland, Shannon delivers 15% of the West’s, 37% of Shannon’s and 12% of the South-West’s overseas holidaymaker bed nights. This demonstrates the link between access to Shannon and tourism activity in Shannon and the surrounding regions. The West has the product and the amenities and is proactively creating awareness, through Tourism Ireland, in international …

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Doolin Coastguard Station nominated for RIAI award

The new coastguard station in Doolin has been shortlisted for the RIAI (Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland) Public Choice Architecture Award. The station was designed by two award winning architecture practices Dominic Stevens Architects and Dorman Architects and has been operational since Easter. It has been a long held ambition of the Coast Guard to provide Doolin with a station that befits its operational status, as one of the busiest units in the country. The unit now has a base and a home, with which they feel justifiably proud. The architect has seamlessly integrated an aesthetically pleasing building into the Burren landscape of Doolin. It is a facility that is functional and wholly provides for the operational needs of the unit in terms of emergency response, training spaces, operational equipment storage and changing facilities. The public can vote for the building to be this year’s award winner at http://www.irisharchitectureawards.ie/public-choice/

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Bridie’s 60 years in the Pioneers

HAVING been a member of the Pioneers since she was a teenager, it’s no surprise that Bridie Hendrick describes herself as “very loyal” to the organisation. Bridie will receive her 60-year pin at a ceremony on June 12 at SS John & Paul Church, while others who have also reached certain landmarks will be recognised. Speaking about her decision to throw her lot in with the organisation, she says, “I joined it when I was 14 in Armagh. At that time, you’d go into the probationers and the Pioneers when you were 16. There were eight in my family and we all joined. One of them broke his pledge but all the rest of them stayed Pioneers. Non-smokers and non-drinkers the whole lot. In those days, there were no women going into pubs or things and you didn’t see drink much. It was easier for people than it is now.” While times have changed since her Armagh childhood in the …

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Waterworks in town

WORK on replacing 17km of leaky old water pipes and more than 200 lead service connections in Ennis, which has started in the Market area and Old Barrack Street, is expected to save 1.34m litres of treated water every day, according to the Mayor of Ennis Municipal District, Councillor Johnny Flynn. Councillor Flynn, a civil engineer, said the Ennis water system provides potable water to approximately 30,000 people in Ennis and the neighbouring areas of Barefield, Crusheen, Clarecastle and Doora, and to businesses that employ over 10,000 people. “I am aware that the Ennis water reservoirs currently store slightly less than a day’s supply of water – which is below best practice – and when you combine that with nearly 50% leakage rates of treated water – treatment of the water costs about €1m each year – in the pipe network, there is a serious security of supply issue,” Mayor Flynn said. Poor water pressure in some housing areas and …

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Human chain highlights scale of distributor road

MOTORISTS passing through Parteen on Saturday morning were presented with the unusual sight of a human chain link protest against the proposed €100 million Limerick Northern Distributor Road. Parteen residents joined hands in the middle of the road to remind people of the scale of the route corridor that is being planned, so they chose to fill the proposed corridor with people, where it bisects the village of Parteen. There is an important vote coming before Clare County Council in June, which will, if passed, amend the county development plan to include the preferred route corridor for the controversial distributor road. Ed English from the Concerned Northern Distributor Road Residents’ Association has pledged the group will continue working with and lobbying their local councillors in advance of their vote. Mr English warned that residents will continue to voice their concerns about the impact this road is going to have on the locality, as it bisects a village, crosses a major …

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Lisdoonvarna says I do

Lisdoonvarna is set to benefit from a massive tourism campaign, launched by Tourism Ireland just hours after the yes vote in the marriage referendum was announced. The campaign, ‘Ireland says I do’ which features a short video of The Outing LGBT festival in Lisdoonvarna, is being rolled out to nine markets, including Britain, the United States, Canada, the Nordic Region, Australia, France, Spain, Italy and Germany. Lisdoonvarna voted a resounding yes to the marriage equality referendum, polling just over 59% in favour. According to the tally taken at Ennis Courthouse on Saturday, 419 yes votes were counted in the Lisdoonvarna National School polling station, compared with 286 no votes; thirteen were spoiled. Of the valid votes, 59.4% were in favour of changing the constitution to allow marriage between two people regardless of sex. Marcus White, from the White Hotel Group said, “Bookings have already been flooding in – it is going to be one of the busiest on record. Publicity …

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