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South Clare

Out of the loop at O’Briensbridge

The “permanent” closure of a small section of a National Looped Walk near O’Briensbridge in the interest of safety has been described as “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut”. Councillor Michael Begley made the assertion after it emerged that it could take years before the public walkway near the bridge in the village is re-opened after it was closed off last week. Last week, Clare County Council explained this walkway was shut for the “forseeable future” after Christy Crotty and a young toddler passed under the bridge minutes before mortar fell when the bridge was hit by a truck. This was the second incident involving falling mortar after another walker, Sean O’Dowd, has a similar experience. However, it could take years before this walkway can be used again, after the council linked its re-opening with the opening of the Killaloe bypass. Killaloe Municipal District senior executive engineer, Hugh McGrath explained the council couldn’t give a date for re-opening as …

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Over 1,000 sign petition to save Cratloe P0

Over 1,000 residents and businesses have signed a petition, requesting An Post to safeguard the future of Cratloe Post Office, it emerged this week. However, it looks as if the newly-established Cratloe Post Office Action Group will have a big battle on its hands to save the post office, despite huge support from the local community for its retention. Group members were told by senior officials from An Post, at a meeting in the Radisson Hotel, Cratloe, on Friday, that the post office needs more financial transactions. A large delegation from the group, as well as Oireachtas members and councillors, met two senior executives from An Post to discuss the future of this vital rural service. The meeting was told that An Post had about 1,140 post offices throughout the country and that it is trying to compete with banks, who had much smaller overheads and maintenance costs. Members of the new action group, including chairperson, Tara McWaine; secretary, Deirdre …

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Broadband boost for Clare

Homes and businesses in Clare are set to benefit as a result of a joint ESB and Vodafone venture to upgrade broadband facilities across the country. The  €450 million investment will benefit 50 towns, among them Ennis and Shannon. ESB and Vodafone are to invest €450 million in building a 100%  fibre-to-the-building broadband network offering speeds from 200 Mbps to 1000 Mbps, propelling Ireland into the ranks of the world’s fastest broadband countries. Ireland will also become the first country in Europe to utilise existing electricity infrastructure on a nationwide basis to deploy fibre directly into homes and businesses, initially reaching 500,000 premises in 50 towns.

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Killaloe farmer feels ‘under siege’

A Killaloe farmer believes he is “under siege”, having sustained losses from vandalism totalling an estimated €25,000 over a four-year period. Michael Scanlan, Garraunboy, has decided to speak publicly about his ordeal, in the hope that the on-off cycle of malicious damage to his farm will finally cease. In addition to at least 15 serious incidents of what Mr Scanlan has described as criminal damage, at least 100 punctures had to be repaired and four tyres replaced on cars and his jeep. The first act of vandalism occurred in January 2010 and the most recent on June 19; tractor tyres being slashed in both cases. When Padraig Nally was cleared of manslaughter in 2006, after shooting dead Traveller John ‘Frog’ Ward, there were changes in the law, which allow people to take more direct action when defending themselves or their property. Mr Scanlan stressed he has no plans to take the law into his own hands and just wants to be …

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Uncertain future for Cratloe shop and post office

Fears have been expressed over the future viability of the only shop in Cratloe, if the adjoining post office is closed. Cratloe Community Council has urged everyone in the village and surrounding areas to voice their support for the retention of the post office by attending a public meeting next Monday in the community hall at 8.30pm. Acting community council chairperson, Josefa McElligott said a community response is required as quickly as possible to safeguard the future of the shop and post office. In a recent letter to the community council, Dermot O’Brien, who operates the post office in Ashling’s Foodstore, warned that like all small retail businesses, the shop has been hit hard by the recession. “Sales have decreased year-on-year. Turnover is down by almost 50% from six years ago. I regret to say that without the second source of income from the post office, the shop would simply not be viable,” he stated. Councillor PJ Ryan said he …

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Radisson hotel sold for €3.5m

A well-known South East  Clare hotel has been purchased by an Irish hotel investment company, iNua Hospitality, for €3.5 million. The sale of the Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa, which was made on behalf of joint receivers, Kieran Wallace and Niall Macklin, highlights the appeal investors currently see in the hospitality sector. Headed up by financier Noel Creedon, iNua Hospitality’s acquisition of the hotel is an addition to the company’s expanding portfolio of Radisson Blu Hotels, given their recent purchase of Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa in Little Island, Cork. “We are very pleased with this second acquisition, which has significant synergies with our Little Island property. We are excited about the development potential for this asset and we look forward to working with the staff and team in Limerick,” said Noel Creedon. iNua Hospitality CFO, John O’Brien, said, “We have now established iNua Hospitality as a key player in the industry. The purchase of both Radisson Blu Hotels in …

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Lough Derg swim challenge

Former Irish Ladies rugby star, Rosie Foley and an Ogonnelloe TG4 presentation director will bid to make history by becoming the first two to swim the full 38 kilometre length of Lough Derg from Portumna to Killaloe this Saturday. James Lynch and Rosie Foley estimate it will take them 15 hours of continuous swimming to make the lake crossing depending on weather conditions and other factors. While Mr Lynch will be wearing a wetsuit for the event, Ms Foley, plans to swim without the wetsuit as she hopes to qualify for an attempt at the English Channel in the future. Up to now the pair have been training in pools since January and from late April they have been swimming long distances in the open water, to help them prepare for the event. The two swimmers and their support crews will be leaving Portumna on Saturday morning around 7am will subsequently make their way south along the lake to Killaloe. …

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Cratloe Researcher wins top award

A Cratloe man has won a national award for his work on walking and cycling routes. Richard Manton from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway is the inaugural winner of the Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland (ESAI) Postgraduate Researcher of the Year Competition 2014. Richard is in the write-up stages of his PhD, working on a multi-disciplinary project, entitled Route Selection and Design of Greenways: Guidance for the Irish National Cycle Network, which combines civil engineering and social science. Many people recognise Ireland’s over reliance on the private car and a shift to walking and cycling has the potential to dramatically improve the environmental, economic and health implications of Irish transport. “In the context of the unsustainability of Irish transport and restrictions on public space, a major shift to walking, cycling and public transport is needed. Although we need to curb car use and make our roads safer, the growing number of greenways represents a step in the right direction. …

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