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Regional

Walk or bike it to the Coláiste

Coláiste Muire in Ennis will launch its ‘Fresh Air Friday’ initiative this Friday, as part of efforts to secure a Green-Schools Travel Flag. The Travel Flag encourages students, parents and teachers to walk, cycle, car-pool, Park N’ Stride or use public transport on the school run. Staff , as well as parents of students being driven to school, will be leaving the car at home or a distance away to participate in the initiative, which is being facilitated by An Taisce Green-Schools and supported by Clare County Council. Having saved 2,650,000 litres of water from 2011 to 2014 while working on the Green-Schools Water Flag, one of three Flags held by Coláiste Muire, the school is now working on securing the Travel Flag. “At present over 65% of their 860 pupils at Coláiste Muire are arriving to school in a car, so the school has taken on the Green-Schools Travel flag with great enthusiasm,” commented Róisín Garvey, travel education officer …

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Contact signed for Ennis water mains upgrade

Irish Water, in conjunction with Clare County Council, has signed a contract for the replacement of around 17km of water mains that are in poor condition in Ennis and surrounding areas. The work to be undertaken by Ward and Burke Construction is part of the Clare Water Conservation Water Main Rehabilitation Strategy. The project will involve the installation of 11.8km of new polyethylene and ductile iron water mains at various locations around Ennis town. Additionally, works will include the replacement of 95 backyard and 978 front of house service connections (which includes replacement of 230 lead service connections) and the transfer of 44 service connections to a recently laid water main in Clarecastle, delivering improved levels of water pressure for customers there. A ring water main between Claureen Roundabout, Lahinch Road and Kilrush Road will also be re-commissioned to improve water pressure in those areas. The project will deliver financial savings over the medium and long term, with reduced maintenance …

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Howard backs new alcohol bill proposals

An Ennis councilllor, whose family was involved in the drinks industry for many years, has welcomed the proposals contained in the heads of The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015. These proposals are long overdue and the bill contains far reaching measures to tackle the widespread problem of alcohol misuse in this country, according to Coucillor Mary Howard. Ms Howard is very familiar with the licensed trade, as a daughter of the late Senator Michael Howard, who owned and operated the One Mile Inn in Ennis for many years. Senator Howard was also a past president of the Vintners Federation of Ireland. “I particularly welcome the proposal to make it illegal to sell alcohol at a price below a set minimum price. The minimum unit price will be set at a level which evidence shows will reduce the burden of harm from alcohol. “This is the most far-reaching legislation on the matter of alcohol. This legislation addresses alcohol as a public health measure. …

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Anne’s crew remember her to Rapunzel

STAFF members in St Joseph’s Hospital are planning a ‘crew cut’ for a fundraising event in memory of their former colleague, Anne Fox, who lost her battle with cancer in September 2013. Three of Anne’s former colleagues are stepping forward for the short back and sides by hairdressers from K&G Hair Salon on Parnell Street, at the function in O’Keeffe’s Bar, Lifford, on February 27. But that’s not all. The group, and the 10-year-old niece of one of the volunteers and the daughter of another, will then hand over their tresses to the Rapunzel Foundation to make into wigs for children and adults who suffer from alopecia. Tommy Guilfoyle, Deirdre Allan and her daughter, Mary, who works in Ryan’s Centra, and St Joseph’s colleague, Nuala Casey haven’t had a haircut since last April or May. Tommy’s niece, Ava Burke, aged 10, a pupil in Gaelscoil Micheál Chiosóg, has never had more than a trim. Now she’s prepared to have 14 …

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Residents to meet council over Blake’s plan

A committee set up in opposition to the route of a proposed new inner relief road in Ennistymon will meet with senior Clare County Council officials again later this month. The group, made up of residents and local representatives, met with officials from the local authority on Monday and had “a full and frank exchange of views”, according to committee chairman, Senator Martin Conway. The committee was set up at a large public meeting on January 23, after it emerged that the council’s “preferred solution” to congestion at Blake’s Corner would likely result in the demolition of three homes, including one belonging to a young family and another to an elderly couple. “Following our mandate from the public meeting, I have been in regular contact with senior officials in Clare County Council, regarding the threat to family homes and businesses as a result of the proposed inner relief road. These discussions culminated in a meeting between the committee and council …

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11% boost in Shannon Heritage visitor numbers

Shannon Heritage has announced that an 11% increase in visitor numbers was recorded in 2014, offering further evidence of a resurgence in local tourism and indeed in the domestic economy. Shannon Heritage employs more than 300 people during peak season and it operates seven daytime visitor attractions, including Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Craggaunowen, Knappogue Castle and Walled Garden, Dunguaire Castle, the Brian Boru Heritage and Malahide Castle and Gardens. It also has another four evening attractions, with medieval banquets at Bunratty, Knappogue and Dunguaire Castle, as well as a traditional Irish night at Bunratty Folk Park. Overall, they drew 637,000 visitors last year, with the day attractions up by more than 13%, while there are said to have been particular gains from Britain, America and Europe. Indeed, last year was the company’s most successful in terms of visitor numbers since 2007. The single biggest success among the Shannon Heritage operations last year was at King John’s Castle in Limerick, …

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Garda numbers down 16% in Clare

ENNIS councillors have called for garda numbers in Clare to be restored, following a drop in strength of one sixth of the force since 2010. Despite the drop in garda numbers, the Mayor of Ennis Municipal District (EMD) has congratulated Superintendent Derek Smart from the Ennis Garda District on what he described as “probably the best work done in the country”, following a crackdown by gardaí on moneylenders targeting vulnerable people. The figures on the fall in garda numbers were outlined to Ennis Municipal District (EMD) councillors by Superintendent Smart during a quarterly meeting at County Hall. He said, since 2010, 53 gardaí have retired, two have died and a further two resigned. In the past two months, two more gardaí have retired and three have commenced three-year incentivised career breaks, with four more to take this up before April 1, and another due for transfer. As a result, Garda numbers in the Clare division are down by 53, or …

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Private King remembered 100 years on

ONE hundred years ago this week, 26-year-old, Private Patrick King, who was born in Kildysart and lived in Turnpike, Ennis, died of “exit wounds” near Bailleul in France. According to information from the Clare Museum, Private King arrived in France with the 2nd battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment on August 14, 1914, just 10 days after war was declared. The South Lancashires were part of the 3rd Division that engaged in winter operations between November 23, 1914 and February 6, 1915. His division was involved in an attack on Wytschaete on December 14, 1914, which had resulted in high casualties. Private King was wounded just a few days before the ending of winter operations and died of his wounds on February 2, 1915, in a hospital close to where he is buried. In 2008, a successful effort was made to reunite Private King’s World War I Victory Medal with its rightful owners, following a Clarecastle man’s discovery that it …

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