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Journey of Hope begins

Over 4,500 Team Hope Christmas shoeboxes, filled with gifts for needy children in Ukraine, will be leaving Ennis this evening (Tuesday). Over the past three weeks schools, businesses, factories and individuals throughout the county have put together the shoeboxes which were packaged at Elevation Business Park, Clonroad, Ennis. “We have packed all these boxes into cartons to be loaded onto a lorry this evening. There will be 489 cartons to put onto the lorry, which are filled with 4,561 shoeboxes to get to needy children in Ukraine before Christmas,” said Margaret Angland, Clare coordinator for Team Hope.

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Dogs not so Coole off-lead

UNRULY dogs are “an ongoing problem” in Coole Park, a representative of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has said. Signs erected in the reserve by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht state that there has been “an increasing number of complaints from members of the public about dogs”. “The problems experienced have included fractured bones, children knocked off bicycles, toddlers, older children and adults being terrified and joggers discommoded and injured as a result of the attentions of ‘friendly’ dogs,” the sign states. Enda Mooney, regional manager with NPWS, explained that dogs allowed off the leash by owners are causing a wide range of problems and on one occasion, he said, gardaí had to be called. “There has been a series of incidents, some more serious than others. There was an elderly woman who was knocked down when quite a big dog jumped on her and she fractured her wrist. Children are being knocked off bikes. …

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Online maps to pinpoint broadband locations

Online national and county maps that identify the homes, businesses and schools where commercial providers will deliver high-speed broadband access by the end of 2016, have been published today (Monday). At the launch in Doolin, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White said that the State would invest in all the remaining areas to ensure that every home, school and business in Ireland has access to high-speed broadband, regardless of where it is located. The maps, which allow the public to identify their own premises to see whether their high-speed broadband will be provided by a commercial operator or through State intervention, can be accessed at www.broadband.gov.ie. The website also carries county-by-county statistics on planned broadband coverage. Minister White said, “The delivery of high quality broadband is about ensuring that our citizens in rural Ireland have the same life chances, and the same access to information, culture, ideas, social interaction and opportunity that people in urban areas can enjoy.” …

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McNamara seeks Inis Cealtra sale support

CLARE TD Michael McNamara has written to the Minister for Tourism, Transport and Sport, Paschal Donoghue calling on him to support and provide financial assistance to Clare County Council to secure the purchase of Inis Cealtra (Holy Island). Inis Cealtra on Lough Derg is included among the early monastic sites on Ireland’s UNESCO Tentative List and is one of the most famous of such sites in Ireland. He highlighted to the minister that among its many attractions are a well preserved round tower, the ruins of six churches and a cell-like structure, which is one of the most extraordinary buildings in Ireland. “A Lough Derg Tourism Audit carried out in 2012 found that Lough Derg is not reaching its full potential in terms of attracting visitors and that Lough Derg has no defined ‘iconic’ visitor attraction that can act as a motivator for visits. “Inis Cealtra, with its iconic round tower, has the potential to be that driver of tourism …

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Kinvara sewage plant ‘almost there’

THE long-awaited sewage treatment plant planned for Kinvara is a step closer to becoming a reality after Irish Water confirmed in the past week that it has begun the tendering process for it and also a new sewage pipe network to serve the town. For decades, locals and public representatives have campaigned for a sewage treatment plant for the village. On hearing the news, Fine Gael Deputy Ciarán Cannon said, “We’re almost there and I’m delighted to have received this news from Irish Water. The tendering process for both the new plant and new network has finally begun and Irish Water will be seeking tenders from a preferred panel of contractors, who have already been through a serious process of scrutiny to determine that they are capable of delivering on such a contract. “The people of Kinvara have been very patient while witnessing raw sewage pouring into their beautiful bay on a regular basis. I know that at times they …

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Breen sees red at traffic calming island

TRAFFIC calming measures at Loughville have been anything but calming for Councillor James Breen, since they were introduced three years ago. The blue traffic island and black roadside bollards are designed to slow traffic down on the busy Ennis to Ennistymon road, but Councillor Breen has been concerned about how difficult it is for motorists to see the signs or bollards. He has brought it to the attention of the council on a number of occasions. “They are small circular blue signs with white arrows and they are deadly at night because if cars are coming against you at the dip of the hill, you can’t see them,” he said. “The bollards are black and are equally hard to see at night. Every time I raised it at the council, I was told it was the NRA who was responsible,” he said. “I can’t understand why the NRA hasn’t done something about it over the past three years.” Last week, …

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Taoiseach to face protests on Clare visit

ENDA Kenny is to face protests when he comes to Clare on Monday, with the revised water charges still the subject of much public anger. Gardaí met earlier this week to make plans for Monday, when the Taoiseach is set to visit TTM Healthcare at Ballymaley, speak at the Shannon Chamber president’s lunch in Dromoland and open Genworth’s new business centre in Shannon. There is speculation that jobs will be announced at TTM Healthcare and while there were reports that new jobs would also be announced at Genworth, a company spokesman told The Clare Champion this is not the case. It is understood that another Shannon company, which is due to take on new staff in 2015, are also hopeful that the Taoiseach will visit them. At a so-called street meeting in Shannon on Tuesday night, representatives of the We Won’t Pay anti-water charges campaign said they have plans to protest when the Taoiseach is in Clare. They also said …

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Rocco a ‘godsend’ for Stephen

A North Clare special needs child is the first in the county to receive an assistance dog from a new national charity. Karen Murtagh, who lives in Ennistymon, has described the arrival of Rocco, a nine-month-old black Labradoodle as a “godsend” for her son, Stephen (10), who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Stephen is one of the lucky children who are benefiting from 48 service dogs provided by My Canine Companion, which trains dogs to assist children and young adults living with ASD. It is the only charity that will give an assistance dog to a child over 10 years of age, as other organisations like to pair an animal with a younger child. Each dog costs the charity over €10,000 to train and Karen will have to raise half of this figure over the coming years. Businesses in Lahinch, where she was born on Main Street, are already rallying around this worthy cause. The 19th Bar in Lahinch has …

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