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Dunnes workers walk the line

A LARGE number of Dunnes Stores workers in Ennis were on the picket line this Thursday morning, as part of the national bid to force senior management to the negotiating table. Dunnes Stores staff nationwide are seeking secure hours and earnings; job security; fair pay; and the right to trade union representation. At the heart of the dispute is 15 hour contracts which can be spread over five days and prevent them from getting family income supplement or the dole. The striking workers in Ennis mounting two pickets, front and back of the store, say the response from shoppers and passers-by this morning has been brilliant. “It’s going very good and has started very well,” said a representative of the picketers who didn’t want to be named. “There’s a brilliant response. We’re getting a lot of support from people passing by and people have come up to the entrance in their cars and driven off again,” she told The Clare …

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Lighting up Loop Head

The historic Loop Head Lighthouse is to reopen to the public on Good Friday. The 19th century West Clare landmark will be looking to capitalise on its designation as a Signature Discovery Point on the Wild Atlantic Way by exceeding the 20,368 visitors it recorded during its six-month opening period during 2014. Clare County Council, which manages Loop Head Lighthouse, in conjunction with the Commissioners of Irish Lights, says the facility will remain open daily (10am-6pm) until October 4. “2014, which was the lighthouse’s fourth year of operation as a visitor attraction, saw visitor figures buoyed by the development of new services at Shannon Airport, favourable weather conditions and the launch of the Wild Atlantic Way,” said Gerard Dollard, director of services, Tourism & Community, Clare County Council. “We are confident that its status as one of Clare’s most popular visitor attractions as well as a Signature Discovery Point on the Wild Atlantic Way will garner further interest from domestic …

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Social housing boost for County Galway

Galway City and County Councils is to receive €58.4 million towards the construction of 1,126 new social houses in Galway. The new houses are due to be built by 2017 and will take 21% and 29% of households off the city and council housing lists respectively. “This is good news for the thousands of families on housing waiting lists across Galway. We will finally see local authorities building houses again – something that Fianna Fail stopped and Labour has been committed to starting again. This funding will provide homes for Galway families and is the first phase in a historic investment in social housing across the country,” noted Deputy Derek Nolan. “Social housing is a social good. It provides quality homes for those who cannot afford their own, relieves pressure on the private rented market and is a control on private house prices. I want to see more social houses built so that those on waiting lists can settle, raise …

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Crematorium back on the agenda

THE provision of a crematorium in Shannon has become a possibility once again. A proposal to dispose of a piece of land to a man who wants to develop it, is set to come before Clare County Council. If it happens, it will be the first crematorium in the county and, indeed, the first in the West of Ireland. Originally proposed a number of years ago by the late Sean Hillery and Tony McMahon, both former county councillors, the use of a site at Illaunmanagh, close to the cemetery in Shannon has been controversial since the idea first arose. The matter resurfaced at Wednesday’s meeting of Shannon Municipal District Councillors. While most of the members were supportive of the development, Shannon-based Councillor Gerry Flynn likened the council executive to a previous government who, he claimed, had kept putting referendums before the people until they got the answer they wanted. On the other side, Sinn Féin’s Mike McKee said he wants …

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Ballyvaughan hotel bought by Quinn family

A NORTH Clare hotel has reopened, securing 20 jobs, after it was bought by a prominent local business family. The Hylands Burren Hotel in Ballyvaughan reopened on Friday having been purchased by the Quinn family, who own holiday cottages, a craft shop and Italian restaurant L’Arco in the village. Madeleine Taylor Quinn is a former TD, senator and mayor of the county. According to Ms Taylor Quinn, retaining jobs in the area is vital. “The hotel has 20 staff and these have been kept on. Keeping people employed is critical and especially being able to offer secure employment is very important. There will also be a spin-off for other businesses in the village. The hotel had a very good reputation when it was owned by the Hyland family and later owned by a family from Donegal, before being owned by Canadians. They have had it for the past two years and we bought it from them,” she explained. While the new …

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Superintendent on guard for a new challenge

THE newly appointed Kilrush Division Garda Superintendent, Martin McGonnell is still coming to terms with the geographical size of his new beat. Yet the Monaghan man, who served for 13 years in Donnybrook before moving on to promotion to West Clare, feels that similar policing principles apply in rural and urban settings. “I think I was in Clare once previously, which a lot of people find surprising considering that it’s such a scenic area. Compared to Dublin, where you might have a lot more incidents but in a much more confined space, it’s a big change. “To go from Kilrush to Ennistymon is a round trip of around 120km and 140km up to Lisdoonvarna. The distances are huge. It’s a stretch from Loop Head right up to Ballyvaughan. It’s going to take a bit of time and patience to get used to it,” Superintendent McGonnell told The Clare Champion. “In the Donnybrook area you have 34 embassies, including the British, …

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Truagh “devastated” by tragic death

  Clare camogie and a South-East Clare community have been left “devastated” by the tragic death of a popular man. Residents in Truagh and Clonlara, the local camogie club and camogie enthusiasts throughout the county are mourning the loss of Declan Fahey whose body was recovered from the Head Race canal near Ardnacrusha Power Generating Station by Killaloe Coastguard on Thursday night. The 48 year-old father-of-three was the chairman of his beloved Truagh and Clonlara Camogie Club where he devoted countless hours coaching underage camogie teams. Mr Fahey was one of the driving forces in their emergence as a very young senior camogie side with the potential of success over the coming years after he played a major role in guiding his club to a string of underage success. In addition to managing the Truagh and Clonlara senior side, he was also training their U-14 side. A member of the Clare County Board grading committee, he was planning to attend …

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Body recovered from River Shannon

The body of a man has been recovered from the River Shannon near Ardnacrusha following a 12-hour long search and rescue operation. Emergency Services say the body is that of a man in his 50’s who was reported missing yesterday (Thursday) evening and was reportedly seen entering the water near Clonlara. The Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter, backed up by gardaí, fire service personnel and ambulance crews, last night conducted a search of a section of the River Shannon and the riverbank between Blackwater and Clonlara.

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