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Oireachtas Committee discusses hen harrier

The Oireachtas Joint Committee Agriculture, Food and the Marine agreed of Tuesday evening to progress farmers’ concerns around the designation of Special Conservation Area to protect the hen harrier. In addition to Clare and Galway, there are hen harrier protection areas in Tipperary, Limerick, Cork, Kerry, Laois, Offaly and Monaghan. As part of the process to deal with farmers’ concerns, the committee intends to call officials from the Departments of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. The committee was meeting with representatives from Irish Farmers with Designated Land (IFDL), who outlined how changes of designation under EU Directives have served to dramatically devalue the land of about 4,000 farmers. Committee chairman, Deputy Andrew Doyle said, “The meeting with IFDL representatives illuminated the difficulties that many farmers have endured in light of the designation of 169,000 hectares of land to protect the hen harrier. The committee heard that farming and the hen harrier have coexisted for …

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Weaving a stronger web on Wild Atlantic Way

Minister of State for Tourism, Michael Ring has announced the provision of an additional €850,000 for Fáilte Ireland, much of which will be invested in developing the web presence of the Wild Atlantic Way and Dublin. The funding is part of the Supplementary Estimate for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, which was recently announced by Minister Paschal Donohoe. “The provision of €850,000 to Fáilte Ireland as part of the Supplementary Estimate will be used to support IT investments, including promoting the Wild Atlantic Way and Dublin. This will ensure that marketing and social media aspects of promotion can be prioritised so that the message about Ireland’s attractiveness is delivered loud and clear. This will allow us to continue to build on the strong growth we have seen in tourism in 2014.” The Government has already provided €8 million in funding for the Wild Atlantic Way this year to establish discovery points and enhance signage as well as other …

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Grave need for cemetery sites

THE parish of Dysart and Ruan is appealing for sites for use as graveyards, as the existing cemeteries in both villages fill up. Parish priest, Fr Pat O’Neill, said new burial grounds are needed and is calling on people to make land available for them. He said that people can still be buried in family graves but that there are very few new plots available. “I think there is only another grave or two in the graveyard in Ruan, so if there are a few new graves required shortly, we could be in trouble,” he said. Fr O’Neill stated that suitable sites are needed quickly. “Going to Kyle or Drumcliffe, or Corofin is not acceptable. People should be able to be buried in their own place. One of the things I would say is that any old graveyard is not an archaeological site. They are living places. They are for the living and for the dead and I don’t think …

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Kim finds a voice with debut novel

KILSHANNY-based Canadian, Kim Hood  has been shortlisted for The Bookseller’s inaugural Young Adult Book Prize for her debut novel, Finding A Voice. The competition was open to writers in Britain and Ireland and the winner of the £2,000 prize will be announced in March. “Basically, it’s a story about friendship. A girl, who is 13, is basically a caregiver for her mother, who suffers from mental illness. Life isn’t going so great for her, between home and school where she kind of has the reputation of being ‘the weird kid with the weird mother’. She volunteers in the special education wing and she meets a character called Chris, who has cerebal palsey and cannot talk. It’s basically about how they both develop a voice through their friendship,” Kim said of the book. Writing for young people comes quite easily to her, she says, while her own teens, difficult as they were, have given her a useful insight. “When I started …

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Santa flying high at Shannon

A very merry Christmas, with an anticipated 15% increase in passenger numbers from 12 months ago, kicked off at Shannon Airport at the weekend, as 2,000 children and parents got to meet Santa in the skies. In an initiative to thank the public for its support over what has been a year of strong growth, as well as raise some much needed funds for two local charities, Shannon Airport, in partnership with Ryanair, made Christmas come early for the excited children as 12 flights took the skies over Saturday and Sunday. Among those getting to savour this special moment were special needs children from the Clare Crusaders Clinic, St Gabriel’s School in Limerick and Mirmear Autism Unit in Tipperary. Demand for the ‘free flights’, the booking fee for which goes to charity, was so high that they booked out in all of 12 minutes, when they went up for grabs two weeks ago. The airport is readying itself for its …

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Tourism award for Wild Atlantic Way

The Wild Atlantic Way has won the Best Tourist Attraction at the third InBusiness Editor’s Choice Awards. A number of leading Irish companies and individuals were recognised at an awards ceremony in Dublin, to honour outstanding achievement in the Irish business community. All the winners were selected based on the broad criteria of growth, profile of business, range of services and customer care. The Government, via Fáilte Ireland, had provided for a significant investment of €10 million this year for the route (stretching from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale) to bring it alive and boost its attraction for overseas visitors. Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring said, ‘This award is the latest accolade for an initiative, which has proved to be a huge success to date. As someone from the west, I have seen first- hand the enthusiasm out there for this project and it’s not only amongst tourism businesses but also in the wider …

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Pauline heads Kilrush RNLI callout

Newly appointed lifeboat operations manager at Kilrush RNLI, Pauline Dunleavy, had her first callout in charge, when an alert was received on Sunday morning. The lifeboat was launched to reports that a plane flying overhead had observed an indication that a fire may have broken out in the cargo hold. In these circumstances it is standard procedure to launch the lifeboat and it gave Pauline a chance to see how fast the lifeboat can be launched and the response of the volunteers in times of emergency. The lifeboat was launched at 9.20am and kept a presence on the river before they learned that the flight, which was en route to France, had landed safely at Shannon Airport and they were stood down. Commenting on the callout, Pauline Dunleavy said, “During my first callout in this new role, it was great to see the lifeboat crew respond to an emergency from the other side. I had the opportunity to see the …

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Following the heritage trail at Loop Head

AT last week’s launch of the Loop Head Heritage Trail, Trea Heapes and Frances Bermingham unveiled details of their heritage audit of the three parishes that primarily make up the Loop Head Peninsula. Working in conjunction with the Heritage Council, they have come up with an 872-item inventory for the parishes of Kilkee, Carrigaholt and Kilballyowen. This audit was separate but complements the Loop Head Heritage Trail, which includes 18 attractions on the peninsula. Both will be used to help tourists experience Loop Head in some detail. “It’s an inventory of all items of heritage on the Loop Head Peninsula. You’re talking about nearly 90 townlands. In some townlands there isn’t even a house in it. That’s from Baltard, west of Doonbeg, down through Tullaher Bog, to Poulnasherry Bay and then west to Loop Head. There was mainly three parishes in the audit – Carrigaholt, Kilballyowen and Kilkee. About 400 odd of the 872 are recorded monuments,” Trea Heapes explained. …

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