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Regional

No Shannon guarantee no deal, Minister hints

WHILE he didn’t go as far as saying that there is no prospect of a deal with IAG on Aer Lingus in the absence of guarantees for Shannon, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe stressed that connectivity for the Mid-West will be a very important consideration, when he spoke to The Clare Champion. “We’re looking at all of the consequences that the proposed bid could have for connectivity. I’m very much aware of how important connectivity is for the Shannon region and how important Shannon Airport is. I have said throughout all of this that national connectivity and the particular impact on our regions will be vital if a bid comes in,” he said. There have been claims that even if guarantees for Shannon and Cork are built into an eventual agreement between the State and IAG, they will have no real legal standing. Asked if there are any precedents where guarantees have been given on future connectivity, the minister declined to …

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Killaloe hay barn fire ‘suspicious’

KILLALOE gardaí are investigating the circumstances surrounding a suspicious fire, which has caused in the region of €20,000 to €40,000 worth of damage to property at a hay barn in Garraunboy, Killaloe. Gardaí received a call at 6.30am on Sunday, alerting them to a fire at a hay barn, where farm machinery is stored, in the townland of Garraunboy. At the scene, gardaí found that extensive damage was caused to not alone the hay barn but also to two silage trailers and a sprayer. An investigation was launched and the fire is being treated as a deliberate act of vandalism. Gardaí have determined that there was nothing in the hay barn or any external factor that may have caused an accidental fire at this location and so are treating the incident as suspicious. The owner of the property, who works as a farm contractor and lives nearby, was alerted to the fire by neighbours, who heard an explosion and contacted …

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Des O’Malley for book festival

Former Progressive Democrats leader and government minister, Des O’Malley will participate in a special political debate as part of the Ennis Book Club Festival in March. The Limerick politician will join a panel of experts for this year’s Sunday Symposium, entitled The Naked Politician on Sunday March 8. The panel discussion about life as a politician in Ireland today also features Professor Gary Murphy, political scientist at DCU; Mick Clifford, correspondent for The Irish Examiner; and Katie Hannon; political correspondent for RTE. Supported by Clare County Council, Clare County Library and The Arts Council, the three-day programme of festival events is expected to attract an estimated 3,000 book club members and literary enthusiasts from all over Ireland, Europe and North America.

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Hen harrier concerns for hill farmers

Following a series of public rallies in the West of Ireland, a new national farming organisation, the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has been officially established. Since the draft Rural Development Programme was sent to the European Commission on July 3, 2014 by the Departments of Agriculture and broadly endorsed by the farming organisations, a passionate group of hill farmers and those farming designated lands, including farmers with hen harrier sites, have sustained a campaign to make changes to the RDP. The reasons for this was that commonage farmers could access the GLAS scheme as individuals and where Natura lands have been devalued  by designation, that measures would be added to help keep those farms viable. Massive rallies were held in Westport (1,700 farmers), Letterkenny ( 900 farmers), Maam Cross (1,000 farmers) to highlight the unfairness of the proposals in the draft and culminating in a march for fairness by 2,500 farmers in Castlebar.  

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Council calls for rejection of IAG offer

CLARE County Council has passed a motion calling on the Government not to dispose of its 25.1% share in Aer Lingus. At a special meeting of the local authority on Monday afternoon, the members passed the motion unanimously, while efforts are to be made to get other local authorities in the region to take a similar stand. There have been fears that if the proposed IAG takeover of Aer Lingus proceeds that Shannon will lose its Heathrow connectivity and several of the members called on Clare’s Oireachtas members to make sure this does not happen. Councillor Pat McMahon said that a future loss of connectivity would “choke future investment in Clare and the surrounding counties”, while Councillor Cathal Crowe warned that Shannon’s industrial base could be reduced to “large empty warehouses if these slots go”. Calls for the retention of the State’s holding weren’t confined to the Fianna Fáil members, with Fine Gael’s Mary Howard saying she would “be very, …

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Shannon’s needs “well understood”-Transport Minister

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has said he is very aware of the importance of connectivity to Shannon Airport and to business in Clare. There have been fears that Shannon’s Heathrow links could be lost if the mooted IAG takeover of Aer Lingus goes through, and while the Minister didn’t explicitly rule out a deal which could see the Clare airport losing connectivity, he stressed that he is very aware of how important the link is, and said connectivity would be an important consideration in making a decision on any bid for the State’s 25.1% stake. In an interview with The Clare Champion, he said, “We’re looking at all of the consequences that the proposed bid could have for connectivity. I’m very much aware of how important connectivity is for the Shannon region and how important Shannon Airport is. I have said throughout all of this that national connectivity and the particular impact on our regions will be vital if a bid …

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Success for Kate Purcell on The Voice of Ireland

East Clare’s Kate Purcell has made it through to the battle stages on the popular television series The Voice of Ireland. The talented folk singer appeared on Sunday’s episode of the programme where she sang her own version of Rihanna’s hit song We Found Love for the blind audition. She won over two of the four judges on the contest as Kian Egan and Rachael Stevens both turned around to offer the Tulla resident a place on their team. Complemented for stripping the song back by judge Kian Egan, Kate chose to go with the former Westlife singer and will now progress on his team to the battle stages. Kate is the second East Clare contestant to make it through to these stages of the competition, as Scariff resident Sarah McTernan will compete on Rachael Stevens team. By Carol Byrne  

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alphonsus cullinan, bishop of waterford

Lahinch man new Bishop of Waterford and Lismore

His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Lahinch native, Fr Alphonsus Cullinan as the new Bishop of Waterford & Lismore. Fifty-five-year-old, Fr Cullinan is a son of Christy and Rita and has four sisters and five brothers. He is parish priest in Rathkeale, County Limerick His family moved to Limerick city where he attended the Salesians for early education, John F Kennedy National School and the Crescent College Comprehensive (SJ) for his secondary education. From 1978-1981 he attended Mary Immaculate College of Education Limerick and qualified as a primary teacher and taught for six years in Castleconnell, County Limerick. He worked part-time during that time for four years with the Bunratty Castle Entertainers before going to Spain where he taught English for two years in a school in Valladolid. Fr Cullinan studied at Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth from 1989-95 where he completed an STL (Licentiate in Theology). He was ordained by Bishop Jeremiah Newman in 1994 in Saint John’s Cathedral, Limerick, …

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