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West Clare

From the altar to the polling station

Almost immediately after marrying Jason Ryan in Ballyea church on Friday, Maureen Lillis sprinted to the nearby primary school to cast her vote in the 2014 Local and European Elections. [doptg id=”12″]The couple live and work in Sydney, where Maureen is employed as a quantity surveyor, while Jason works as an engineer. Maureen, whose family are sixth-generation Ballyea, is currently helping to build a tunnel under Sydney Opera House. As for her political leanings, Maureen confessed to The Clare Champion that she is not a fanatic. “I’ll be honest with you, I’m not but because everyone is getting all excited, I have to get my vote in. We both come from big families and they are getting very excited after hearing we were coming down to vote,” she laughed. “It’s a bit of fun and it’s nice to vote. But, unfortunately, we’re not going to be here to see how things are run because we’ll be back in Australia. We’re …

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Kilkee meeting critical of storm repair programme

Last week (May 14), a big crowd filled the function room of the Stella Maris Hotel at a protest meeting regarding what organisers maintain is the lack of progress on repairing the storm damage on the sea front in Kilkee. The meeting was supported by all the main organisations in the town. Retired Kilkee pharmacist and community activist, John Williams was among those who spoke at the meeting. “A large number of people spoke, most expressing frustration at the absence of information from Clare County Council on where it stood on the works to be done. Speaker after speaker said it was a disgrace that the local authority would leave a major tourist route and part of the Wild Atlantic Way in the condition it is, over the tourist season,” Mr Williams told The Clare Champion. He said organisers of the Hell of the West Triathlon spoke of their frustration trying to get details of their route from Clare County …

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Recovering alcoholic received support at Bushypark

A mother who lives in rural West Clare has told The Clare Champion she was first introduced to drugs when she moved to the region from a neighbouring county. The woman, who has received treatment for alcoholism in Bushypark, Ennis, has not had a drink for two and a half years and has succeeded in dealing with her issues, which had led to bouts of depression. “This is where I discovered drugs; in West Clare. It was only drink when I was in my teens but, when I moved down here, it was drugs. Luckily for me, I was never offered or introduced to heroin. Plenty of coke, ecstasy or tabs. I don’t even know the modern terms for them nowadays,” she said. The woman didn’t have to travel from her rural location to buy drugs, although she does recall picking up a supply in Shannon on one occasion. “I think I did some sort of a pick-up in Shannon. …

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€80,000 upgrade at Kilrush District Hospital

AN investment of €800,000 is to be made towards the upgrade of the 45-bed Kilrush District Hospital, with the sod expected to be turned in early July. The work is being carried out, at the hospital, which employs 45 staff, to meet Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) guidelines. “We have decided to put a new wing on to the hospital, with 15 new beds, along with day rooms and other ancillaries. “We’re registered for 45 beds and we’re trying to keep to that level,” chairman of the entirely voluntary board of directors of Kilrush District Hospital Ltd, Gerry O’Malley, explained. “HIQA only want two people in any room now, so we’re now obliged to do that. Residents and the public are looking for private rooms as well. The job is gone out to tender since last Thursday and there have been eight expressions of interest. We’d expect to be starting on the first week in July and finishing by …

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Kilrush to lose out on €1m in revenue?

THE abolishment of Kilrush Town Council will result in a €1m revenue loss to the West Clare capital over five years, outgoing member, Councillor Ian Lynch, has claimed. Town councils are to be abolished after the May 23 Local Elections and, in fact, the last Kilrush Town Council meeting will be held next Thursday. The town council was established in 1885. “Six people will no longer be working in the Kilrush office because of the local government reform,” said Councillor Lynch, who is an independent candidate. “The Government’s plan to reform local government, which they call Putting People First, will have a detrimental effect on the town of Kilrush. The implementation of the plan by Clare County Council, will see a reduction of council employees working in Kilrush and a loss of up to €1m, which will no longer be spent in the West Clare economy.” Councillor Lynch claimed the average weekly spend of a family with two children reaches …

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Clare projects approved for built heritage scheme

TWENTY  Clare projects have been approved for €121,000 in funding under the Built Heritage Jobs Leverage Scheme 2014. These projects will allow for a range of important conservation works to take place at protected buildings in all parts of Clare and will generate and support employment in the conservation and construction industries and in specialist trades, according to Labour TD, Michael McNamara. “Among the projects that will be supported include the former Moyasta Railway Station, Christchurch Church of Ireland in Spanish Point, St Cronan’s Church, Tuamgraney and the Mill Wheel in Ennis.The scheme is funded from the sale of the National Lottery but it is a condition of the scheme that taxpayers funds will at least be matched by private funding. “The County Council, to whom responsibility for administration of the scheme has been devolved in Clare, has assessed applications from owners/occupiers of protected structures and then submitted them for approval in principle by the minister,” remarked Deputy McNamara.  

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Access to the peninsula restored

ONE of the main access roads to the Loop Head Peninsula has reopened following the severe storms that impacted the County Clare coastline during January and February. Clare County Council has completed extensive works to rebuild and repair over 100m of the regional road and coastal wall along Kilbaha Bay. This work was completed in time for the St Patrick’s weekend. The reopening of the road has been welcomed by Mayor of Clare Councillor Joe Arkins, who said: “The temporary reconstruction works were necessary to re-establish connectivity in Kilbaha and the wider Loop Head Peninsula, and are a timely boost for the upcoming tourist season. Recent weeks have already seen the launch of the Wild Atlantic Way with a number of discovery points along that route situated in the greater Loop Head area.” Works undertaken by council staff include the positioning of over 3,000 tonnes of rock armour along the seafront, 1,200 square meters of surfacing works, and the pouring …

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Doonbeg recalls the Bard of Bansha

AS befitting a as place known far and wide as The Long Village, the St Patrick’s Day parade in Doonbeg was a long-tailed and very colourful affair.  It reflected many aspect of local life, with quite an emphasis on the 1,00th anniversary of the death of Brian Boru. On of the most remarked upon floats was that which paid tribute to the late Padraig Haugh, the Bard of Bansha, a poet and raconteur, who penned many a verse in respect of great occasions in the parish. A very big crowd turned out to enjoy the parade.

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