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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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Still trying to identify man’s body

RTÉ’s Crimecall programme this week featured a renewed appeal by gardaí in Clare in a bid to discover the identity of a man, whose body was found at the base of the Cliffs of Moher four years ago. Inspector John Ryan from Kilrush said they had received some response to the appeal over the man’s identity, which gardaí in Ennistymon are now following up. Inspector Ryan has asked that anybody who might have any information about the deceased man’s identity or what had occurred towards the end of July 2010 to cause his death, however insignificant they might think it is, to contact Ennistymon Garda Station. The man’s remains were found by Doolin Search and Rescue on July 30, 2010. He was only wearing shoes and socks and was thought to have been in the water for about 10 days. A post-mortem examination showed injuries that were consistent with a fall. Searches and investigation of CCTV footage locally did not …

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Eugene O’Kelly appointed circuit court judge

Kilrush man, Judge Eugene O’Kelly has been nominated by the Government for appointment by the President to the circuit court. He is one of seven new appointees announced today (Thursday) to fill vacancies arising from a judge’s retirement, the appointment of a judge to the Court of Appeal and the appointment of five serving circuit court judges to the High Court, among them Mr Justice Caroll Moran. Judge O’Kelly, who currently presides over the Limerick District Court area, began his legal career as a solicitor in Kilrush. His practice covered all of Clare and far beyond. . Prior to his elevation to the bench, he was senior partner in the firm of O’Kelly Moylan Solicitors, with offices in Kilrush and Ennis. With wide experience in criminal law and civil litigation, he has been involved in a number of high-profile cases. In 2009 he was a solicitor to The Commission of Enquiry into the death of Gary Douch. Judge Eugene O’Kelly …

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Getting US tourists to ‘jump into Ireland’

Tourism Ireland, together with a delegation of 20 tourism enterprises, including Killaloe-based Secret Ireland Escapes, is undertaking a three-city trade and media blitz in the United States this week. The last of the 2014 Jump into Ireland (JITI) events is taking in the key cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. The Jump into Ireland schedule includes a B2B event in each city, showcasing the island of Ireland via a special travel TV show format to the influential American travel professionals in attendance. The events also include an opportunity for networking with influential travel and lifestyle media. Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America, said, “The United States is one of the most important markets for tourism to the island of Ireland and Tourism Ireland has undertaken a busy programme of promotions throughout 2014, to grow American visitor numbers. Our Jump into Ireland sales blitz to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle this week provides an excellent platform …

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