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West Clare

UNESCO recognition for Scattery unlikely

SCATTERY Island, located close to Kilrush in the Shannon Estuary,  is likely to face a long wait to be recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. At a meeting of the West Clare Municipal District, Independent Councillor Ian Lynch asked that the county council proceed with an application for the sixth century monastic settlement. However, in a written reply, Ger Dollard, director of services in tourism and community with Clare County Council, said that an application for World Heritage Site status is not within the remit of the local authority. The first step towards gaining status is to be included in the tentative UNESCO list but even that is unlikely. The last time this list was reviewed was in 2010 and prior to that in 1992. “It is unlikely that a review of the list will take place in the short term. It should be noted that the Burren was on the tentative list in 1992 and was again included …

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Afrikaan community prays for Kildysart tragedy victims

A MEMORIAL service was held in the midlands last weekend  in memory of Cornelius and Angelique Billing, their children and extended family at Tullamore Presbyterian Church. The service was celebrated by South African Reverend Rasmus (Rassie) Erasmus following a request by Angelique’s (Angie) mother in South Africa and requests by the Irish South African community, following the Kildysart tragedy in which Cornelius and Angelique died. It was decided to hold the service at a central location to facilitate those who wished to travel to the memorial, which was celebrated in both Afrikaans and English. The service involved hymns, readings, prayers and a reflection on the bible. The 23rd Psalm, The Lord is my Shepherd, was the chosen reading for the memorial. Reverend Erasmus said, “The lives of Neels and Angie, although tragic, came as a real shock to us. We don’t want this to happen ever again that two people among us can have such a tough time. I speak …

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Kilrush to bloom for Ireland

A new steering group has been established to guide Kilrush’s participation in the 2015 International Entente Florale competition. The West Clare town has been selected to represent Ireland in the ‘Town’ category of the European-wide horticultural and environmental competition, which promotes the greening of towns and villages; development that is environmentally and ecologically sensitive; and education and communication initiatives which promote environmental awareness. Key to Kilrush’s nomination was its winning of the Tidiest Small Town category of the National Tidy Towns Competition in 2014. The membership of the Kilrush Entente Florale Steering Group, which held its first meeting recently, includes Clare County Council staff with expertise in landscaping, planning and tourism representatives from local groups such as the Tidy Towns Committee, Kilrush Chamber of Commerce, Kilrush and District Historical Society and Kilrush Amenity Trust.

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No arrests following Kilrush incident

Gardaí today (Tuesday) confirmed that no arrests have been made in relation to an incident in Kilrush on Christmas night. Four  men were hospitalised following a public order incident at Sycamore Drive in the John Paul Estate at approximately 9.30pm. The four men, who are in their 20s and 30s, were removed to University of Limerick Hospital. They are believed to have been treated for bruises but their injuries were not serious. All four men were subsequently discharged from hospital.  

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Breaking the mental illness taboo

WHEN Bernie McCarthy thinks about it, she knows that she has the unflinching support of her family and a wide network of friends. Still, her 14-year stand-off with bipolar disorder, manic depression, including bouts of self-harming and severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), is an often isolating existence. Those close to her are well aware of the Quilty woman’s mental health issues but, for a passing acquaintance, it’s a shock. Bernie is not someone whom you would ever link with depression or its assorted impacts. In recent weeks, Bernie completed a 17-week counselling programme with Pieta House in Limerick. She found it trying and emotional but is delighted that she stuck with it. “You’d come out and, while it’s a relief, it’s also really draining. You’d be so tired after it. You’re like ‘did I just say all those things?’ Things came out that nobody knew, only me and my counsellor. But you feel better for it,” Bernie reflected candidly last …

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Simon feeding 200 in West Clare

THE Simon Community-run food bank in Kilrush has been inundated with requests for food and household items for West Clare families since it opened three weeks ago. The food bank is the first of its kind opened in the town and Mid-West Simon Community manager, Jackie Bonfield says the resource has been flooded with requests for aid. “We have 49 families registered and three single people registered in Kilrush to collect food from us every week. It’s a huge number. If you take an average of three children per family, you are talking about 200 people. It’s not just Kilrush town. We are getting people from across West Clare. Every day we are seeing new faces,” Ms Bonfield said. She has found that those using the food bank are from a cross-spectrum of people. “Some people are in social housing and we’re also meeting people who are in private rented accommodation, some getting rent supplement but some of whom are …

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Call for investigation into Spanish Point facility

THE health watchdog has been asked to conduct an investigation into care at a Spanish Point residential facility, after several deficiencies were revealed in a recent inspection conducted by the Mental Health Commission. Mental health support group, Support Link, has asked HIQA to conduct a review into the Cois Mara facility which, at the time of inspection on November 27, 2013, had 14 residents ranging in age from 52 to 77. Support Link highlighted the findings of the report, including a lack of specialised nursing staff, no occupational therapist, physical therapist or proper therapeutic intervention. The group claimed it was “disgraceful” that residents were paying €134 weekly, despite the absence of a multi-disciplinary team and other basic services. It alleged the HSE is breaching the Mental Health Act by keeping it open as an ‘unapproved’ centre since 2002. Apart from the renovation of the accommodation, such as extending the activities room and shower rooms, the report did not outline any …

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Technical examination at Kildysart tragedy scene

Post mortem examinations of the bodies of a South African couple found dead in Kildysart yesterday are taking place at University Hospital Limerick this evening. The individuals, who died in the Shannon Estuary village on Wednesday night, have been named locally as Angelique (27) and Cornelius Billing (44). Mrs Billing was seen collapsing in the street at approximately 6.50pm on Wednesday by a local garda, who was attending the scene of a fire. She is understood to have sustained injuries to her upper body. Fire crew who were dealing with a fire at the hardware store across the street from where Mrs Billing collapsed came to her aid and provided medical assistance, but her injuries proved fatal. While the fire crew were attending to Mrs Billing, the local garda went into the apartment that she shared with her husband and two children, aged two and three and found Mr Billing with serious neck injuries. The couple had been renting the apartment, which …

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Weaving a stronger web on Wild Atlantic Way

Minister of State for Tourism, Michael Ring has announced the provision of an additional €850,000 for Fáilte Ireland, much of which will be invested in developing the web presence of the Wild Atlantic Way and Dublin. The funding is part of the Supplementary Estimate for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, which was recently announced by Minister Paschal Donohoe. “The provision of €850,000 to Fáilte Ireland as part of the Supplementary Estimate will be used to support IT investments, including promoting the Wild Atlantic Way and Dublin. This will ensure that marketing and social media aspects of promotion can be prioritised so that the message about Ireland’s attractiveness is delivered loud and clear. This will allow us to continue to build on the strong growth we have seen in tourism in 2014.” The Government has already provided €8 million in funding for the Wild Atlantic Way this year to establish discovery points and enhance signage as well as other …

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Tourism award for Wild Atlantic Way

The Wild Atlantic Way has won the Best Tourist Attraction at the third InBusiness Editor’s Choice Awards. A number of leading Irish companies and individuals were recognised at an awards ceremony in Dublin, to honour outstanding achievement in the Irish business community. All the winners were selected based on the broad criteria of growth, profile of business, range of services and customer care. The Government, via Fáilte Ireland, had provided for a significant investment of €10 million this year for the route (stretching from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale) to bring it alive and boost its attraction for overseas visitors. Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring said, ‘This award is the latest accolade for an initiative, which has proved to be a huge success to date. As someone from the west, I have seen first- hand the enthusiasm out there for this project and it’s not only amongst tourism businesses but also in the wider …

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