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South Clare

Baby Sophie’s legacy lives on

A hearbroken mother has spoken out her frantic efforts to resuscitate her newborn baby daughter before she died from suspected heart failure at their home in Ballina-Killaloe. Sophie O’Brien, who was born on May 6 last with a serious defect in the left side of her heart, died less than four weeks later on June 2 with her family. Despite the best efforts of Darren O’Brien (31), Scariff, and his wife, Pamela (32), Sophie was pronounced dead within a short period of time at the University Hospital, Limerick. In an emotional interview, Pamela recalled how her husband, Darren, sought her assistance after noticing a change in the colour of Sophie’s face around 11am. “I held her in my arms, looked at her and thought she is not fine. I put her on her lovely fleecy blanket on her changing unit. I tapped the end of her feet. I called her name, she didn’t open her eyes. I knew there was …

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Killaloe hero sparks interest in Great Dane pups

THE life-saving exploits of an award-winning Killaloe Great Dane has sparked a run of requests for young puppies from prospective buyers, according to his owner, Arabella Scanlan. Charlie, a gentle giant, made international headlines last year, when The Clare Champion revealed how he could detect when three year-old Brianna Lynch was going to have an epileptic fit, about 20 minutes before each episode. Arabella, Brianna’s mother, is still effusive in her praise concerning the uncanny bond, which has developed between Charlie and Brianna since he came to live in their home on the outskirts of Killaloe when he was just six months old. The Irish Kennel Club celebrated the special relationship between humans and their dogs at an awards ceremony hosted in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dublin recently. Following thousands of entries, Charlie was shortlised in the final 15 and was awarded his Golden Paw Hero certificate, after being highly commended in the Exemplary Companion/Life-Changing Dog category. His amazing …

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Amy’s essay wins Austrian trip

AMY McLoughlin, a senior-cycle student at St Patrick’s Comprehensive School in Shannon, has won a two-week scholarship to Salzburg, Austria. Along with her classmates, Amy entered a German essay-writing competition, organised annually by the Irish Austrian Society. This competition is open to all secondary schools in Ireland. From over 300 applicants, Amy won the senior category of the competition. Her essay was selected by university lecturers and commended for its originality and its high standard of German. Amy received her scholarship at a reception hosted by the Austrian Ambassador, Dr Thomas Nader, at the Austrian Embassy in Dublin. In attendance with Amy at the ceremony were her family andher German teacher, Ms Siobhan Hickey, who stood in for St Patrick’s headmaster, Mr Morgan Heaphy. The scholarship comprises of air travel, tuition in German and board and accommodation for two weeks in July 2014 in the ISK (Internationale Sprachkurse) in Salzburg. The ISK is a well-known centre for students of German, …

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Micro-chip call to halt Clare cattle rustling

A Clare county councillor has called for the micro-chipping of livestock, as a measure to reduce the risk of theft, following yet another cattle rustling incident in the South East Clare area. Independent Cratloe councillor, PJ Ryan said that in light of the number of livestock thefts, the Department of Agriculture should consider micro-chipping all animals in preference to the tagging system currently in operation. “It’s way too easy to remove tags with the result that stolen animals are rarely, if ever, traced. Dogs and cats can be micro-chipped; maybe it is time cattle were also. Certainly, it would be a more foolproof system,” he added. Councillor Ryan was commenting as gardaí are investigating the lifting of livestock from lands at Woodcock Hill in Meelick during the past week. In the latest incident of cattle rustling, two cows and six calves were stolen and gardaí are investigating. Similar incidents of livestock thefts have occurred in Sixmilebridge and Quin.

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McNamara not interested in Labour leadership

WHILE he was one of the most high profile and outspoken critics of Eamon Gilmore, Clare Labour TD Michael McNamara has no interest in seeking the job now that a new leader is required. Earlier this afternoon, around an hour before it emerged that Gilmore would fall in his sword, Mr McNamara said he wouldn’t be looking for a promotion;  “No, I don’t have the experience. Not that I think experience is everything, but I’d simply have no interest.” He didn’t offer a view on who should take over, but he said it’s time for a younger leader. “I think there has to be a generational change in the Labour party, which I indicated yesterday and it remains my position today.” Owen Ryan

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Last seats secured in Killaloe

It was touch and go for sitting Councillor Pat Burke (FG) all day as early tallies indicated he could have been in trouble, but all three of the last seats in the Killaloe Electoral Area were filled together just before 1am. Tony O’Brien (FF), Pat Burke (FG) and newcomer Alan O’Callaghan (FF) all came in with seats following the distribution of eliminated candidate Liam Wiley’s (FF) votes. Councillor Burke said he was much happier coming to the count centre on Saturday night after early tallies proved to have been out by approximately a hundred votes. He said he is delighted to be returning to the council chamber for a new five year term. The Whitegate man added that he was disappointed with the Fine Gael performance after Clare’s outgoing mayor Joe Arkins (FG) lost his seat. However he said he was happy for his party colleague Joe Cooney who has topped the poll once more.

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Lack of Clonlara candidate helped Begley

Outgoing Clare County Councillor, Michael Begley became the third member of the local authority to secure re-election at around 11.10 pm with 1,799 votes. The Independent Councillor admitted the loss of 320 from nearby Parteen concentrated his mind and his supporters to get those votes back. Acknowledging the lack of competition from another Clonlara candidate was a big help in his re-election bid, he identified three pools of votes to secure some additional votes. These included votes left behind by outgoing Councillor Pascal Fitzgerald and Councillor Cathal Crowe, who moved from Killaloe to the Shannon Municipal District and the decision of former Fine Gael Councillor, John McInerney not to re-enter the race. While all these votes were party votes, he managed to get enough of them to eventually secure his re-election. His re-election bid was also helped by the fact he was the only independent candidate out of the starting line-up of ten. He pointed out there was no comparable …

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O’Brien may consider general election run

FÍS Nua candidate Niamh O’Brien has told The Clare Champion that she felt obliged to seek a partial recount after her elimination from the Killaloe Electoral Area on the fourth count. The first-time candidate was just six votes behind Liam Wiley (FF) when she was eliminated. “Because there’s only six votes in it, why not? I would bow out gracefully but if it’s worth fighting for and I’ll stay here for another while and see how it goes,” the O’Callaghan’s Mills native said before her elimination was confirmed after the partial recount. “It’s not too many times that I say this but I’m really proud of myself. I’m so honoured that so many people thought so much of me to put me this far. I have to thank them and I have to apologise because I was so thin on the ground and I didn’t get to everyone,” she added before paying tribute to her family. “My mother Bernie was …

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