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Prison term for indecent assaults increased

A 71-year-old man has been returned to prison for one year following a finding by the Court of Appeal that his two-year prison sentence for indecently assaulting two boys in the 1980s was too lenient. However, in its decision delivered today (Tuesday), the court found that the maximum penalty for indecently assaulting a male in the 1980s was two years in prison and not 10, as had been suggested. James (Tony) Maher of Clonroad Beg, Ennis, had pleaded guilty to 18 sample counts of indecently assaulting two boys in the county between January 1982 and April 1985. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment on each count to run concurrently by Judge Carroll Moran at Ennis Circuit Criminal Court on January 14 2013. The Director of Public Prosecutions successfully applied for a review of Maher’s sentence on grounds that it was unduly lenient. The Court of Appeal agreed and increased Maher’s sentence by one year. President of the Court of …

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Clare man charged with rape in Galway

A 20-year-old County Clare man has been charged with the rape of a woman in a Galway city apartment last year. The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared before Galway District Court on Monday where he  denied two counts of raping the woman on the night of July 23-24, last year, contrary to Section 4 and Section 21 of the Criminal Law Rape Amendment Act, 1990. Garda Conor Barrett gave evidence of going to the man’s home earlier that morning and arresting him. He took him to Galway Garda Station and charged him there. He said the man replied “not guilty” to both charges. Garda Barrett said he had no objection to bail provided conditions were attached. Judge Aeneas McCarthy remanded the man on his own bail of €1,000 with no lodgement required, to appear before the court again on March 11 for service of a Book of Evidence. Bail was granted on condition he surrender his passport …

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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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