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Councillors distribute €50k at ‘secret’ meeting

CLARE County Council is to seek legal advice on the status of a behind-closed-doors in-committee meeting, held by West Clare county councillors, at which €50,000 of public money was allocated to two disability projects in Kilrush and Kildysart. Both projects were granted €25,000 and details of the meeting and the decision made at it only emerged publicly at a West Clare Municipal District meeting this week.Since then, Clare County Council has said they are not in a position to release the minutes of the in-committee meeting until they receive “legal clarification on the status of the minutes”. At Tuesday’s meeting, Councillor Richard Nagle, who was unable to attend the contentious meeting on October 20, described the holding of the meeting as “reprehensible and regrettable”. He queried why the meeting was held in private with the media absent. “Why was that meeting held in-committee? It was an issue deciding on the allocation of public money,” he stated. Municipal area chairman, Councillor …

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And they call it puppy love

AN ENNIS woman with an incurable case of ‘puppy love’ is at the centre of an incredible tale of devotion and care for sick and abandoned dogs. Martina Flaherty, from Westbourne, loves all breeds of puppies and dogs and has saved more than 130 lives since she set up Babydog Rescue with her friend, Mags Mooney from Lisdoonvarna, earlier this year. Dog warden, Frankie Coote can’t praise Martina enough. “Martina’s work is essential because she has about 130 dogs taken from the pound since she started Babydog Rescue earlier this year. It’s a huge amount of dogs. She has a wonderful way of dealing with people and other rescue groups. “Martina and Mags Mooney fundraise and I think they have over 60 pups inoculated with the seven-in-one injections that have gone out to homes in Clare as well,” Frankie said. “There’s a lot of work goes into it and a lot of expenses before the dog goes out. They’ve fundraised …

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Gaining confidence, inch by inch

FOR the last few months, Mark Kearney has been drawing puzzled glances from people he meets on the streets, even from people he has known for years. He is close to unrecognisable from the man he was on St Patrick’s Day, after shedding almost 11 stone in the space of seven months. The weight loss came after a religiously-observed diet and the re-introduction of exercise into his life. When he started the weight loss programme in April, Mark, who lives in Ennis, was 25 stone and nine pounds but when he finished in early October, he was down to 14 stone and 11 pounds, a fairly appropriate weight for his 6’5 frame. It’s hardly surprising that he wasn’t satisfied with life at 25 stone and he says the weight was draining the positives from him in all sorts of ways. “Being that weight was affecting my whole life. Going in for interviews for jobs [he was then unemployed], it was …

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Raheen hospital moves towards HIQA standards

THE Health Service Executive is to lodge a planning application in the coming weeks for the construction of an extension to Raheen Community Hospital to include six single rooms, one double room with en-suites and a new patient sitting area. The HSE publicised its intention to seek planning permission on Thursday and, commenting on the proposed development, Labour TD, Michael McNamara has said it is “a crucial first step in bringing the community hospital up to HIQA standards”. He said the extension, if granted, will ensure greater comfort and care for the patients in this highly-regarded facility. “The planning application has been expected for a long time but I believe that recent modifications to the plans, based on work carried out at Ennistymon and Kilrush community hospitals, will make for a better outcome at Raheen. “It is proposed to construct a new single-storey extension to include six single and one double bedrooms, all with en-suite facilities. The proposal to include …

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Badges of honour for forgotten war volunteers

Commemorations have taken place all over Europe this year, marking the centenary of the beginning of World War I. The Great War raged for more than four years, ending on November 11, 1918. On Tuesday, the anniversary of Armistice Day, Irish soldiers were remembered in South Galway. Commemorative badges, manufactured and designed by students in Gort Community School, were distributed at a ceremony of remembrance, as students and staff recalled the forgotten Irish volunteers. Young people in fourth year conducted a project with the goal of remembering the 150,000 Irish who fought in the war. Their project was cross-curricular taking in a number of subjects and departments. “As part of the project, they looked for a symbol to represent the volunteers but the only symbol they came across was the poppy. Many of the class were unhappy to use the poppy, as they felt they wanted to have something original that would remember just the Irish,” explained history teacher and …

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Ballyea man lands Ógra top job

Ballyea man Eoin Neylon has been elected Uachtarán of Ógra Fianna Fáil, the party’s youth wing. The 28-year-old, Ennis-based structural engineer and member of Fianna Fáil’s national executive defeated Naoise Ó Cearúil for the top job at Ógra’s national conference in Clane, County Kildare. “I was up against Kildare councillor, Naoise Ó Cearúil, a very good friend of mine. The competition was stiff but, at the end of the day, the delegates felt we had different visions for the term ahead. Naoise is a very dedicated, very committed and very capable local councillor in Maynooth, but the fact that I have been involved for 10 years in the organisation, I suppose people went with the man who had more experience,” he said. The newly-elected Uachtarán has been very involved in policy and organisational issues as a member of Fianna Fáil’s national executive and is looking forward to his term at the helm. Eoin was the driving force behind developing Fianna …

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Hank Krabbe Scholarship for Ennis student

Ennis engineering student, Graham Britchfield from Rockmount has been awarded a Hank Krabbe Scholarship at University of Limerick. A fourth year electronic and computer engineering student, Graham will receive a scholarship grant and is also eligible for co-operative education or summer placements at Analog Devices, sponsors of the scholarship. In total, six of UL’s top performing engineering students were awarded Hank Krabbe Scholarships. The top graduating engineering student is also eligible for the Hank Krabbe Medal and an accompanying grant of €5,000. Speaking at the scholarship awards ceremony, Denis Doyle, Vice President and General Manager Limerick Manufacturing, Analog Devices said; “There is a very strong, long-term and successful relationship between Analog Devices and the Electronic and Computer Engineering Department in UL, with many graduates of this course contributing to the success of Analog Devices. “Electronic engineering will continue to be at the heart of our future and with that in mind we have designed the awards to promote the brightest, …

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Shannon Airport traffic on the up

Shannon Airport’s strong momentum across 2014 has continued into the final month of the autumn, with passenger numbers for October showing a 28% increase on the same period twelve months ago. The biggest gains in passengers through the terminal were again on European services, which were up by 63% on the same period 12 months ago thanks to a range of nine attractive new routes that were launched for the summer season (April through to end of October). Eight of those were on the European market, which resulted in a 111% increase (from 20,347 to 42,950) in passengers to and from the continent last month compared to October 2013. Transatlantic passengers were up by 15% (from 23,511 to 27,108) thanks to the increased frequency across New York and Boston services this year, with Shannon’s biggest market, the UK, up by 6% (from 61,681 to 65,243). Welcoming the growth, Airport CEO Neil Pakey said, “It’s been a really great summer season …

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