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Breaking News

Minister bows to pressure and approves €58m road linking Coonagh and Meelick

By Dan Danaher TRANSPORT Minister Eamon Ryan has bowed to considerable political pressure to finally approve the completion of the final phase of a €58 million major road linking Coonagh with Meelick. Questioned several times by Clare and Limerick Dáil deputies from all parties, Minister Ryan had stated he was continuing to consider the recommendation from Limerick County Council regarding the award of the main construction contract for the scheme. This had prompted stinging criticism locally that it meant the final phase of Coonagh to Meelick Distributor road was being effectively shelved. However, Deputy Cathal Crowe has now welcomed Minister Ryan’s confirmation on Limerick’s Live 95 FM that “Phase One of this long-awaited project can finally go ahead”. Deputy Crowe said this news on Wednesday brought an end to a significant amount of doubt over the future of the entire project in recent weeks, which has been 12 years in the making. “I’m grateful that Minister Ryan has taken time …

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Mother of two loses fight for life 13 days after alleged assault in Ennis’ Market area

By Gordon Deegan A mother of two who was subjected to an alleged serious assault in Ennis last month lost her fight for life in hospital on Wednesday. Wexford native, Sharon Bennett (29) died at University Hospital Limerick in the early hours of Wednesday morning 13 days after she was admitted to the hospital. Ms Bennett was brought to hospital suffering serious head injuries after being allegedly assaulted by her boyfriend, Patrick Ballard (34) in Ennis’ Market area on the evening of Thursday, January 28, last. Reacting to the confirmation of Ms Bennett’s death on Wednesday, the Mayor of Clare, Councillor Mary Howard (FG) said, “It is absolutely heartbreaking to hear that two children will be left without their mother.” The Ennis based councillor stated, “It is so sad that they grow up and their Mammy isn’t there.” Ms Bennett had her two children from a previous relationship and Cllr Howard said, “My thoughts and prayers are with her family …

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Irish Water ‘slams the door’ on rural West Clare

ANGER and frustration have been expressed by West Clare councillors after Irish Water told them it has no plans to develop sewerage schemes for the villages of Cooraclare or Carrigaholt. At most recent district committee meeting, several members described the negative response from the water utility as “nonsense,” while another said it had left him speechless. Both Councillor Bill Chambers and Councillor Gabriel Keating had made requests for pilot schemes to provide waste water treatment works in their respective areas, noting that such initiatives had been outlined in the Programme for Government. In two identical responses Irish Water said it “has no statutory role where there is currently no infrastructure”. It advised councillors to direct the queries to the local authority or the government. Irate councillors then agreed to request a remote deputation to the relevant minister. “In Cooraclare, we’re waiting for the last 40 years,” said Councillor Chambers. “There’s nearly half a million spent on it already and next …

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Taoiseach Questioned Over Delay Completing Coonagh To Meelick Road

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has pledged to raise Dáil deputies’ concerns over the delay in the completion of a €58 million major road linking Coonagh with Meelick. Dáil deputies in the Mid-West are becoming increasingly frustrated with repeated deferrals for a date to start work on the final part of the Coonagh to Knockalisheen Distributor Road. Deputy Cathal Crowe tabled a Dáil question recently asking the Transport Minister Eamon Ryan what is the status of the progression of Phase One of the Limerick Northern Distributor Road and if he would make a statement on the matter. Limerick Deputy Kieran O’Donnell told the Dáil the Coonagh to Knockalisheen Road in Limerick is one of only 13 projects specifically mentioned to progress during the National Development Plan. Furthermore, 30% of the project totalling €17 million has already been spent out of €58 million, with advanced works already concluded. “Page 26 of the Programme for Government states the process of review of the National …

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Council getting to core of pyrite issue

TECHNICAL tests are to be carried out on a number of Clare homes to prove the presence of defective blocks and make the case for the extension of a redress scheme for those affected by pyrite or mica. Following representations from the county council to the Department of Housing, a detailed report on the extent of the issue has been requested. Of the 40 householders who have joined a Pyrite/Mica Action Group, five will now have a detailed and costly core-sampling process carried out on their homes. The results will be used to develop a profile of the extent of the problem in Clare and to make the case for the extension of the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme, which currently covers just Mayo and Donegal. “This is a fairly invasive process,” said Senator Timmy Dooley who hosted a virtual meeting between the action group and staff of the council. “It will prove what we know to be the case. …

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Hospital Capacity In UHL Remains “Precarious”

THE capacity situation in University Hospital Limerick (UHL) remains “precarious”, despite a reduction in the 14-day incidence of Covid-19 throughout the Mid-West. The UL Hospitals’ Group has pleaded with Clare people to continue following public health guidelines as the acuity of patients remains high, with their critical care surge plan activated and a significant number of patients on inpatient wards who require respiratory support. The group has also warned even when Covid-19 patients are delisted, they require a significantly longer hospital stay for support and rehabilitation compared to non Covid-19 patients. This come as official statistics show the 14-day incidence of the virus in the Banner has fallen from 536% last week to 322% this week, which is now the fifth lowest in the country. Interestingly, the 14-day incidence rate in Tipperary at 553% is now higher than Clare but is much lower than Limerick, which stands at 853%. According to figures produced by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, there …

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Councillor blasts road repair scheme that’s ‘going nowhere’

A SCATHING attack on the slow pace of repair works on local roads has been launched by an Ennistymon-based councillor. At the January meeting of the West Clare Municipal District, Councillor Shane Talty described the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) as “unfit for purpose”. The scheme involves the council drawing down national funds to repair privately-owned roads, and levying a contribution on those using the routes. According to figures given to Councillor Talty, the scheme has only addressed a fraction of the demand for works over the last three years. “I’m sure that like myself, other members are inundated with queries and requests from people who have applications in under the LIS,” the Fianna Fáil member said. “These are applications that – as far as they’re concerned – are in there for years and they’re expecting that a response or a solution is only around the corner. At the current rate of progress, over the last three years, from the figures …

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Cliffs of Moher Centre well positioned to cope with Covid fallout

THE Cliffs of Moher Centre annual report for 2019 has recently been filed with the Companies Registration Office, and showed that it had a turnover of €2.77 million for the year in question. On average it employed 75 people during 2019, down by ten on the previous year, while its wage bill for the year was over €2 million, with overall staff costs of €2,316,321. Regarding events since the close of 2019, the document states, “The Directors have assessed the relevant factors and in particular the risks on the Company’s business model, potentially impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a rapidly evolving situation resulting in a high level of uncertainty nationally and globally and has the potential to have a significant impact on the Company through *Possibility of high staff absenteeism impacting the company’s ability to manage its business on a day to day basis. *Significant and prolonged supply chain interruptions. *Financial implications for the business. “The company has …

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