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West Clare

Clare needs “comfort letter” on storm funds

CLARE TD Michael McNamara has requested the Government to issue a “letter of comfort” to Clare County Council to provide reassurance that funding will be available for necessary repairs following the disastrous storms. The Labour deputy said the scale of destruction on the Clare coast and in the Shannon Estuary was underlined at Monday’s meeting of the local authority when members were told that the total estimate for repairs now stands at €36.8m. “Clare County Council has already spent €720,000 in temporary repairs and the need for further considerable expenditure is urgent. The council has spent this money without receiving any letter from the Government stating that the local authority will be reimbursed. County manager, Tom Coughlan has pointed out that further spending without written authorisation raises the issue of good corporate governance. Clearly the Council is caught between a rock and a hard place. “The scale of what has happened on the Clare coast is truly shocking and there …

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Anger in Kilbaha at road closure

RESIDENTS in Kilbaha are angry that the main access road to the Loop Head village has been cut off. An 80 metre stretch of the road has been badly damaged in the recent storms and floods. The Kilrush Area Office of Clare County Council closed the road on Saturday morning February 1 in the immediate aftermath of Storm Bridget. The council said this was “to safeguard the wellbeing of the general public and motorists.” Bollards were put in place to provide pedestrian access along the seafront. An alternative route has been put in place to provide access to the Loop Head Peninsula west of Kilbaha. The road in Kilbaha was extensively damaged by Storms Christine and Bridget. “On Saturday evening it appears a member of the local community removed concrete bollards that had been put in place by the council. The council this morning once again closed off the road in the interests of public safety,” a county council statement issued on Monday …

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Terence Mangan

Mangan’s building gifted to council and community

By Peter O’Connell A landmark building in Kilmihil has been handed over to Clare County Council and the local community. It is now up to the local authority and the Kilmihil community to come up with ideas to best utilise the former Mangan’s building, which is located in the centre of the West Clare village. Mangan’s moved from Kilmihil to Ennis in 1972. At one point, approximately 40 people were employed at the West Clare plant, with seven of the Kilmihil panel that reached the 1968 county final employed there. Company director Terence Mangan said he is hopeful the building will be used to generate local employment but that it can be used for whatever purpose is deemed fit.  “That’s not our decision. That’s up to the community and up to the council in terms of how they structure whatever they do. We’ve offered it to the community and to the council. Obviously, there will have to be some money …

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Clare’s Blue Flag beaches under threat

THE damage caused to coastal areas by the recent  storms may leave a question mark over the future status of Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards locations, it has emerged. Clare’s Blue Flag beaches are Cappa, near Kilrush; Kilkee,  White Strand, Doonbeg; Fanore, in addition to Ballycuggeran and Mountshannon on Lough Derg. The issue will be high on the agenda  will be discussed at the annual Blue Flag and Green Coast Award conference in Dublin, on Wednesday. The conference will be attended by coastal  local authority representatives, as well as Blue Flag and Green Coast Award jury members. Annabel FitzGerald, coastal programmes manager, An Taisce said, “There are some serious concerns for some candidate Blue Flag and Green Coast Award beaches that have been left devastated by the recent storms particularly where infrastructure such as access roads, carparks and other amenities have been destroyed.” These are among the 32 imperative criteria required to achieve Blue Flag status. She added, “Local Authorities work …

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Towards a better Kilkee in 10 years

IN a somewhat ironic twist in view of the devastation caused by the weekend’s storm,  “Towards a Better Kilkee: A Town Improvement & Economic Development Strategy 2014-2024,” was launched last night at the Culturlann Sweeney Library. Prepared by Clare County Council, in association with Kilkee Town Council and various community groups, the  key focus of the 10-year strategy is to generate new employment opportunities in a town that has a 36% unemployment rate, promote the local tourism product and enhance the physical appearance of Kilkee. The latter presents a huge challenge, now that the much core element of the seaside infrastructure has been so badly damaged. The short and medium-term priorities outlined in the strategy include carrying out a branding and marketing exercise for Kilkee, establishing contact with owners of all opportunity sites, promote the existing coastal walks by upgrading signage and information, conducting a survey of derelict sites in the town, carrying out upgrading works to the bandstand, producing a comprehensive …

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Photo Gallery-Flood and storm damage in West and North Clare

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Lynch turns away from Fine Gael

 By Peter O’Connell KILRUSH town councillor Ian Lynch is to switch his political allegiance from Fine Gael and stand in the West Clare area as an Independent candidate in the May election. He will join the battle for votes in the West Clare capital with his town council party colleague Marian McMahon Jones, who was added to the Fine Gael ticket after the November  convention. Sitting county councillors Gabriel Keating and Oliver Garry were selected at the Fine Gael convention to represent the party in the expanded west Clare constituency. Currently Kilrush is without a representative on Clare County Council for the first time in the local authority’s history. Councillor Lynch was elected to Kilrush Town Council, on the first count, in 2009 and says that he regrets not running for the county council five years ago. “Looking back this may have been a mistake because since the local elections in 2009 Kilrush town and the greater hinterland have been …

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A cloak of armour for Seafield

By Peter O’Connell RESIDENTS in Seafield and Cloghauninchy are happy that as much temporary defence work as possible has been undertaken in advance of this weekend’s high tide, which is expected to reach 5.9 metres. Minister of State Brian Hayes visited West Clare last Friday where he saw firsthand the damage caused by the recent high tides and storms. “The work commenced last Wednesday. It’s on a temporary basis and Minister Hayes gave an assurance that he would look for funding. Some of it will have to come in from Europe. The defences put in place last week are temporary and not a long-term solution. The Seafield houses are protected by bags of crushed stone and rock armour,” Cloghauninchy Action Group chairman, Michael Neenan said. “I’d be fairly confident that it will hold out the sea but with a high tide of 5.9 metres, along with the waves we’ve had, it would be very hard to keep that out with …

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