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Regional

Ennis to host biggest book club festival yet

SOME of the most recognisable names in Irish and international literature will participate in next year’s Ennis Book Club Festival, the largest event of its kind anywhere in Ireland and the UK.Supported by Clare County Library, the three-day programme of events from March 5 to March 7 is expected to attract hundreds of book club members and book lovers from all over Europe and North America. The festival will also feature Ireland’s first ‘Book Club of the Year Award’ and a professional development workshop for library staff.Among the contributors to the festival will be Lionel Shriver, prolific journalist and Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin and The Post-Birthday World; Joseph O’Connor, journalist, screenwriter and author of 10 Irish number one bestsellers including Cowboys and Indians, Desperadoes, The Salesman and Inishowen; Tim Pat Coogan, biographer, historian, journalist and writer of Michael Collins and Ireland in the Twentieth Century; and Fiona Looney, columnist, playwright, scriptwriter and media personality.Other …

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Business gold rush predicted for the town

ENNIS retailers are hoping to benefit from an anticipated gold strike in the county town in the coming weeks.The launch this week, by Ennis Chamber, of the Ennis Gold gift voucher project is being welcomed by the nearly 60 local businesses that are participating in the scheme. It’s seen as a perfect way to create additional local spending at time when it is expected that the traditional Christmas spree will be somewhat curtailed due to the economic downturn.Chamber president Guy Flouch has urged local people to back the scheme. “Consider that every time you buy one of these vouchers, you are ensuring that money is spent with local retailers and not returned to the coffers of a company with its base in Dublin or further afield. Shop local and save local jobs,” he said.He added, “Another important dimension of the scheme is that members of the Clare diaspora, currently living in London or Boston or Sydney, can buy the vouchers …

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Smithstown planning decision appealed

A DECISION made by Clare County Council in relation to a planning application at Smithstown has been appealed to An Bord Pleanála.Greenband Investments had sought permission for a mixed-use development that would include a number of retail units and a neighbourhood centre, a discount foodstore, motor showroom, business centre and medical centre.The neighbourhood centre would have a number of retail outlets but planners refused permission for this aspect of the development earlier this year. In the appeal to An Bord Pleanála, Greenband gave a number of reasons why the neighbourhood centre should be allowed to go ahead.“While the council notes that the uses proposed within the neighbourhood centre are considered appropriate, they assert that the centre would have an adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre. The planning official’s report notes that ‘while the uses as proposed within the neighbourhood centre area considered appropriate uses for a neighbourhood centre, the location of this neighbourhood centre in …

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Work starts on regional Alzheimer respite centre

CONSTRUCTION workers have moved onto the site of a former country hotel near Killaloe bridge, to start work on a new regional respite centre for Alzheimer patients in the Mid-West.Contracts have been signed to convert the former Waterman’s Lodge Hotel, Ballina, Killaloe into a state-of-the-art short term 10-bed centre. It is expected that renovation work will take about nine months and the branch hopes to open the new facility by the middle of 2010.The Limerick branch of the Alzheimer Society announced their plans over three years ago to convert the hotel into a specialist Alzheimer respite centre but lack of government funding delayed the start of building work.The society will provide a three-night and four-day short term respite service to 10 clients weekly, without any daycare facilities, following a commitment from the HSE of €517,000 in annual service funding.Although the HSE also agreed to provide €517,000 in capital funding, this only represents one third of the €1.5 million required to …

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Kilkee Community hosts Comenius Teachers’ Exchange

KILKEE Community College hosted a conference of teachers from three European schools, Vlaardingen, Holland; Saarbrucken, Germany and Nantes, France as part of the Comenius Teachers’ Exchange Programme. Nine visiting teachers spent four days in Kilkee and they included two French teachers, three Dutch teachers and four German teachers. The exchange programme focused on the teaching of languages and a review of a selected aspect of life in the host school, Critical Friends Review. The European teachers spent time in some language classes and also had a formal meeting with parents, students and teachers in the school. Mrs Theresa O’Donnellan, principal Kilkee Community College, greatly appreciates the co-operation of students, parents and staff that contributed to the success of the conference. Niall Williams, author and teacher of English at Kilkee Community College, conducted a workshop with the language group in the school. The French teachers availed of the fine weather on the Tuesday to spend time on the Cliff Road and …

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Tourism experts to visit East Clare as part of national conference

As part of the 21st National Tourism Conference, held annually in Ennistymon, delegates attending the conference will visit East Clare as part of an organised trip showcasing the county’s tourist destinations. This conference will see tourism industry officials and members of local authorities, County Enterprise Boards, partnerships, and all public and private bodies involved in the promotion of tourism in Ireland, descend on the county this week. This is the first time East Clare has been chosen as a visiting destination for the tourism conference delegates and Lorna Moloney, vice-chairperson of East Clare Heritage, explained that it was extremely positive for the region to have the delegation visit the scenic area. It is understood that the delegation will visit the East Clare Heritage offices at St Cronan’s Church in Tuamgraney this Friday at 10am in advance of the national conference. The delegation will be given a rundown of the operations there, a history of the Westropp Collection and they will …

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Tuning up for tourism

LOCAL businesses in Ennistymon are hoping to take advantage of the influx of tourism professionals generated by the National Tourism Conference, which takes place next weekend.There will be music in a number of licensed premises as publicans attempt to generate business by attracting delegates into the town. “Traditional music will be played in pubs in the town during that weekend to encourage people who attend the conference to make the most of the town and not to confine themselves just to the hotel. There are so many people coming and we want them to see the town and what it has to offer,” explained Ennistymon and District Community Organisation committee member Caroline Hueston. This is the 21st year of the conference but according to Caroline, this is the first year a series of events have been organised to coincide with it. “It is an opportunity that we perhaps missed in other years. There are extra people around, you do notice …

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Playground closed due to safety concerns

CAPPA playground in Kilrush had to be closed for a few days from last Friday due to safety concerns.At last Thursday night’s meeting of the town council, Councillor Paul Moroney produced pictures showing the playground in a state of some disrepair and he was critical of how expenditure on the playground had been used. Councillor Moroney put forward a motion requesting a breakdown on how much was spent on upgrade works at the playground. In the report from clerk, John Corry, it showed that a total of €45,124.96 had been spent, with the largest payment of €19,550 going to Cavanagh Playground Equipment.Councillor Moroney said he was “staggered” that so much had been spent on playground equipment, as the pictures he presented showed a number of serious faults.He said that the state of the playground was “absolutely disgraceful” and he asked if there had been any proper monitoring of the work. “Did anyone go out and view it after it was …

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