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200 fans at Discworld Convention

  SIR Terry Pratchett OBE attended the First Irish Discworld Convention at the Falls Hotel, Ennistymon at the weekend. Sir Terry had attended an honorary function at Trinity College Dublin on Friday evening and then made his way to Clare for the first Discworld convention to be held in Ireland.Over 200 Pratchett fans attended the North Clare venue for the weekend. The event was organised by fans Nicola and Mary Ellen Murphy and Sheila O’Sullivan. Ireland now joins countries such as England, America, Australia and Germany to have such events.Sir Terry stayed at the Irish event for three nights and sent his personal assistant in his place to an awards ceremony in Edinburgh at the weekend, where a documentary on Pratchett’s life and his struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease scooped an accolade.A charity auction was also held at the function where collector’s items from the Discworld series were auctioned, with proceeds going to the Irish Alzheimer’s Association on the wishes of …

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Night out could help to unlock the key to your heart

SINGLE men and women from all over Clare will be coming together to unlock the secret to relationship bliss at a singles event in Ennis on Saturday, November 21.Organised by the daughter of renowned matchmaker Willie Daly, Gráinne Daly and Dutch native Sophie Heusy, the lock ’n’ key singles night was arranged to meet local demand. The event takes place in Tom Steele’s Bar from 9pm. Sophie explained that following on from the matchmaking festival in Lisdoonvarna earlier this year, she and Gráinne were quizzed by singles who wanted to know how to meet other singles and where to meet them. On the back of this, they decided to organise a singles night with a difference. “We didn’t want to do the regular singles night and put a load of singles together in a room and just see what happens. “So we went online and came up with this lock ’n’ key event. What happens is we will give out …

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Irish integration award for Clare Library

CLARE Library has been honoured for its innovation in the integration of the Irish language in its services as it received the 2009 Gradam Gaeilge an Chláir award. At an awards ceremony in the De Valera library on Monday evening, Seán Ó Ceallaigh, ­Cathaoirleach of An Clár as Gaeilge Teo, the ­language promotion group who organise the award scheme, presented County Librarian Helen Walsh with a specially commissioned plaque. The scheme, now in its fifth year, is specifically directed at companies and organisations in the commercial and public sector that promote the use of Irish both internally and externally.Speaking at the awards ceremony, Ó Ceallaigh said that he was delighted to present the award to Clare Library Services in recognition of the innovative way the service had approached the integration of Irish in its operation. He made specific reference to the wide range of Irish language books that were easily available in every branch library and the highly acclaimed website …

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Company rewarded for thinking big

SHANNON-based company ABC Nutrition was a winner at the Bord Bia Food & Drink Industry Awards recently.The company came out on top in the Thinking Big category, which is for small businesses that have demonstrated exceptional entrepreneurial spirit, matched by strong sales and marketing.Seán McNamara is a director of the company and he said he is thrilled with the success.“We couldn’t believe it. The other winners included the likes of Glanbia and Kerry Group, huge companies, whereas we’re very small and virtually unknown.”The company employs eight people and has been running for the last three years. It produces sports nutrition products, such as nutritional powders, vitamin capsules and spray vitamins, and is now exporting to 13 countries.ABC Nutrition is still doing relatively well, despite the global recession, according to Seán.“Myself and Willie Wixted, who was a friend of mine from school, had experience of similar American companies and we saw an opening here. It’s going well, although it’s a tough …

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Green light for shopping centre project

AN BORD Pleanála has given the green light to SkyCourt for a new development at the shopping centre.The proposed development involves the relocation of the Dunnes Stores outlet, the provision of a comparison anchor tenant, dividing the current Dunnes convenience unit into five other outlets, putting in nine retail units where the Tesco supermarket was located and providing a multi-storey car park.Manager Pat Kelly said that while the decision was positive, the current economic circumstances have to be considered.“We are pleased with the decision but it will have to be evaluated in the context of the current economic climate.”Inspector Conor McGrath said the proposed layout would have certain advantages.“The overall layout of development will improve pedestrian circulation and retail provision and address adjoining roads/streets, thereby complying with the objectives of the development plan. I consider the level of visual integration with the existing town centre to be unsatisfactory, however, primarily due to the elevational treatment and materials used. This is …

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Councillors critical of delay in estate takeovers

THE delay in Clare County Council taking over private housing schemes in South-East Clare has been criticised by local county councillors.The lack of a definite timescale for taking the Westbury estate in charge was highlighted by Councillor Cathal Crowe at a local authority meeting on Monday.Requesting a debate on the process, Councillor Crowe said that there were up to 1,000 houses in the Westbury Housing Scheme, which are still not under the charge of the council. He added that there were other estates in a similar position, claiming an estate in Ardnacrusha is still not taken over 20 years on, with residents waiting for private housing schemes to be taken in charge in Parteen, Cratloe and Clonlara village.“It is up to the council’s planning enforcement section to ensure that every developer is complying to the planning conditions attached to a grant of permission before the statue of limitations runs out after 12 years.“There are numerous cases of residents being left …

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Drop in recycling at Scariff plant

  FIGURES revealed at a recent Clare County Council meeting show that the amount of recyclable material being brought to the Scariff Recycling Plant has dropped off by over 65% on last year, at a time when plans have been lodged to expand the facility.Following a motion tabled by East Clare county councillor Pat Hayes, David Timlin, director of services with the environment and water services department of Clare County Council, outlined the tonnage intake of Clare’s five recycling plants.Figures released show that for the first six months of 2008, a total of 911.44 tonnes was taken in at the Scariff plant and this figure dropped by 64.7% for the second half of 2008, where 321.57 tonnes was taken in.Based on the first half of 2008 and the same period this year, a drop of 65.88% is recorded and a similar drop is predicted for the second half of 2009, according to the council’s estimates.Despite the drop in usage, the …

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Ennistymon Enterprise Centre opens its doors

THE €1.1 million Ennistymon Enterprise Centre, which is located in Deerpark just outside the town, was opened by Minister Tony Killeen on Monday evening.The evening concentrated on opportunities for enterprise development in the Ennistymon and North Clare area, with speakers from Enterprise Ireland and Clare Local Development Committee addressing the audience on openings available to existing and new start-up businesses in the area.Local business people, including Roger Fahy from Linalla Ice Cream and Adam Coleman from HR Interventions, relayed their experiences of setting up businesses in the area.Ennis woman Sharon Malone has been appointed by Project Ennistymon as business development manager for the centre, which incorporates 12 units, four of which are light industrial units, while the remainder are offices, located on two floors.The idea behind the enterprise centre, which is supported by Enterprise Ireland and the Clare County Enterprise Board, is to provide an environment where businesses will be given every opportunity to help them to succeed and flourish.“It’s …

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