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West Clare

Superintendent on guard for a new challenge

THE newly appointed Kilrush Division Garda Superintendent, Martin McGonnell is still coming to terms with the geographical size of his new beat. Yet the Monaghan man, who served for 13 years in Donnybrook before moving on to promotion to West Clare, feels that similar policing principles apply in rural and urban settings. “I think I was in Clare once previously, which a lot of people find surprising considering that it’s such a scenic area. Compared to Dublin, where you might have a lot more incidents but in a much more confined space, it’s a big change. “To go from Kilrush to Ennistymon is a round trip of around 120km and 140km up to Lisdoonvarna. The distances are huge. It’s a stretch from Loop Head right up to Ballyvaughan. It’s going to take a bit of time and patience to get used to it,” Superintendent McGonnell told The Clare Champion. “In the Donnybrook area you have 34 embassies, including the British, …

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Colum Callinan laid to rest

A SLOW-moving and ever-lengthening queue filled Kilmihil village on Sunday evening, as people travelled from all over Clare to pay their respects to the late Colum Callinan. The 23-year-old passed away at Cork University Hospital last Thursday, following a single vehicle accident on Sunday, March 15. The silence of those queuing outside O’Halloran’s Funeral Home was indicative of how shocked mourners were and this was reflected in the days before and since throughout Kilmihil. A very talented footballer and free taker, Colum represented Kilmihil with pride and gusto. He was also part of the Clare U-21 panel in 2013 and played football for LIT during his days there as a student. Kilmihil GAA field is no more than a free kick removed from the funeral home where Colum was laid out and as the March breeze cut through the village, the sight of the field in such proximity added to the poignancy of the evening. “Colum made an immense contribution …

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Learning more about Tidy Towns

Clare County Council has organised a Tidy Towns information and networking evening on Monday next at Áras Contae an Chláir in Ennis. This third annual event will feature expert advice and a questions and answers session for Tidy Towns groups from across County Clare seeking to improve their score in the 2015 competition. Speakers at the event, starting at 6pm, will include Tom Coughlan, chief executive of Clare County Council; Lorraine Power, environmental consultant and Tidy Towns adjudicator; and Paul Edson, Tidy Towns chairperson in Kilrush, which was named Ireland’s Tidiest Small Town in 2014. “This event provides me, in my role as cathaoirleach of Clare, with a real opportunity to acknowledge the positive work that is taking place by these groups in all our towns and villages across the county,” commented Councillor John Crowe. Chief executive, Tom Coughlan explained that the purpose of the information evening is to provide Tidy Towns groups with “a valuable networking opportunity and to …

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Tom never misses Birmingham parade

TOM Cunningham, a Kildysart-born great-grandfather who has lived in the UK Midlands since 1952, has told his local newspaper, the Birmingham Mail, how he has never missed Birmingham’s St Patrick’s Day parade since attending the first event more than 60 years ago. Tom, 91, has become such a regular visitor to the festival that he cannot walk a few yards without being recognised among the crowds. The pensioner arrived in Britain in 1952, worked on the roads and settled in Handsworth. Mr Cunningham said, “I’ve been to every single one since it started, when it was very small. I enjoy getting out and meeting people. It’s nice for the Irish to get out and have a few drinks and have the craic.” Mr Cunningham added that he “always, always” enjoys catching up with friends over a few drinks. His daughter, Lucy Casey, from Great Barr, said, “Tom never, ever forgot his Irish roots. He still speaks with an Irish accent …

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Tracing a filmmaker’s West Clare roots

A DOCUMENTARY by renowned filmmaker Daisy Asquith, which explores the very personal story of her mother’s conception and subsequent adoption after a dance in the 1940s in West Clare, will be screened on Channel 4 on Sunday, March 29 at 8pm. Her grandmother had to run away and give birth to her baby in secret before handing the baby over to nuns. Daisy’s mother was eventually adopted by English Catholics from Stoke-on-Trent. Her grandmother returned to Ireland and kept her secret. The identity of Daisy’s grandfather remained a mystery for another 60 years until Daisy and her mother decided it was time to find out who he was. Their desperate need to know took them on a fascinating and moving adventure in social and sexual morality and the fear and shame that Catholicism has wrought on the Irish psyche for centuries, connecting them with a brand new family living an extraordinarily different life. “I was compelled to find out who …

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Lissycasey girl’s perfect day

Aine Kelly from Lissycasey has qualified as one of the top 75 contestants overall in the Doodle 4 Google Competition 2015. A fifth year student of St Michael’s Community College, Kilmihil, Aine is the only nominee across all categories from County Clare. The theme for this year’s competition is My Perfect Day. Aine’s doodle represents the following: “My perfect day would involve being surrounded by family and friends and I feel their importance in life is emphasised in my doodle. My drawing portrays my appreciation of family, while also illustrating the beauty of nature. This shows perfection lies in the simple things which are taken for granted”. Aine’s doodle is now online open to public vote. Everybody can vote by going onto Doodle 4 Google Ireland website http://www.google.ie/doodle4google/ and clicking on Group 5 where you will find Aine’s drawing. You simply click on her image and click vote for this doodle. Voting allows for everyone to cast at least one vote …

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Cannabis cultivation to pay for wedding

A POLISH man, found to be cultivating almost €165,000 worth of cannabis in the attic of a rented house in Kilkee, said he did it to help pay for his wedding. However, since being detected, his former fiancée has left him and he has spent a year in jail. Adam Wrobel (23) and his former fiancée, Jagoga Gajeuska (20), who were both living at an address at Lislanahan Lower, Kilkee, appeared before Ennis Circuit Criminal Court on Friday last for their sentencing hearing. Wrobel pleaded guilty to cultivation, while Gajeuska pleaded guilty to allowing a premises to be used for cultivation on January 13, 2014. Garda Eoin Daly gave evidence that the owner of a property at Lislanahan Lower raised concerns about his property, after receiving a €640 electricity bill. The landlord said there were two Polish nationals living in the house and this had been arranged through a third party, who was also Polish. He told the gardaí that …

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Northern education minister to attend INTO conference

Minister for Education in Northern Ireland, John O Dowd is to address the INTO conference in Ennis in April, is has been confirmed. He will speak on Tuesday, April 7 following the address of the Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan. The INTO general secretary, Sheila Nunan will respond to both ministers on behalf of approximately 850 delegates, representing 33,000 primary teachers in the south and 7,000 teachers in the north, at Treacys West County Hotel. The Conference will be addressed at its opening session on the previous day by INTO president, Sean McMahon from Mullagh and and Tom Healy, director of the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI). Tom has previously worked in the Economic and Social Research Institute, the Northern Ireland Economic Research Centre, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the National Economic and Social Forum and the Department of Education and Skills.

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