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Breaking News

Killaloe Coast Guard appeal after access to base blocked

KILLALOE Coast Guard has repeated its plea to motorists to stop blocking access to its station on the shores of Lough Derg. Amid record temperatures in recent days, visitors flocked to Killaloe to enjoy the water-based amenities. The parking situation in the Pier Head area was described by the coast guard as “unbelievable”, with blatant disregard for signage asking people to keep the entrance to the rescue base clear. The heatwave proved to be a particularly busy time for the coast guard. Volunteers had to respond to a number of calls and found themselves hampered by the presence of abandoned vehicles on approach routes and in front of the entrance to their station. Last Wednesday (July 21), while responding to a call about a vessel disrupting a swimming area, the coast guard encountered a series of obstructions. “While our crews were responding to this call-out the entrance to Pier head was again blocked by cars [that had] been abandoned in …

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Clare activists frustrated at failure to tackle biodiversity crisis

TWO Clare women have described the failure to set a date ahead of the Dáil summer recess for a Citizens’ Assembly on the biodiversity crisis as “hugely disappointing”. As the Dáil rose, Emma Karran from Doonbeg and Emanuela Ferrari from Ennis were among those supporting the Climate Case Ireland (CCI) group in writing to the Taoiseach to outline their frustration. Last month CCI and more than 20 other civil society organisations wrote to the government calling on it to treat the biodiversity crisis like a real emergency and announce the date for the long-promised Citizens’ Assembly before the beginning of the summer recess. “The Citizens’ Assembly on the Biodiversity Crisis was promised over two years ago,” Emma and Emanuela said, “yet the government still has not set a date for it to convene. The Dáil declared a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency on May 9, 2019, so the pandemic can’t even be used as an excuse. Declaring an emergency and then …

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East Clare amenity working to meet spike in demand

THERE has been a huge boost in popularity of the walking trails at The 12 O’Clock Hills according to the local organising committee, who have begun a number of initiatives in response to the boom in visitor numbers. The pandemic has put the focus firmly on domestic tourism and, over the course of the different lockdowns, this outdoor amenity has come into its own. “It is estimated that during this 15 month period first-time visitors to the facility amounted to as much as 80% of the total attendance on any given weekend,” said Patsy Neville, chairperson of The 12 O’Clock Hills committee. “Visitors are enthused when after making the inquiry, they are advised that according to local lore the Knockanuara twin peaks were named ‘12 O’Clock Hills’ by the ability of people working the nearby lands to tell when it was noon time by the position of the sun between these twin peaks at certain periods in the year. “This …

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Call to ban onshore windfarm developments in Clare

AN APPEAL has been made for a ban on further onshore windfarm development in North and West Clare, writes Fiona McGarry. Councillor Ian Lynch has described the West Clare Municipal District (WCMD) as “saturated with windfarms”. Addressing the July meeting of the district, he warned that the landscape and the viability of rural communities could be destroyed unless such a ban is imposed. The Independent member also said that with the future development of offshore wind energy infrastructure at the Moneypoint site, the need for more onshore facilities no longer exists. “West Clare is saturated with windfarms already and allowing planning permission for more of these developments will irreversibly destroy the natural landscape, the scenic beauty and the viability of rural communities,” Councillor Lynch said. The Kilrush native noted that the currently County Development Plan has designated the area as strategic in terms of wind energy production, but said members are now working to remove that designation. “This is not …

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Clare student hits right note with music award design

A CLARE student and her Cavan team-mate struck the right note with their design for a new trophy that will be awarded to music artists with a number one single or album, on the IRMA Official Chart. Ballyvaughan native Katie O’Brien and Kate McKenna, students at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) won the contest run in partnership between their college and the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA). Katie, 21, hails from Ballyvaughan and previously attended Mary Immaculate Secondary School in Lisdoonvarna before taking up a place on the Bachelor of Science Product Design degree course in NCAD. She said that the pair – who are classmates – had previously worked together on several other projects, and were delighted when they got the news. “The trophy design was based on the ask from Universal (Music Ireland) that it would be simplistic as well as symbolising being the best in music. “It does mean a lot to win this …

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Make A Difference: Are there plenty more fish in the sea?

Fish stocks in Irish seas are reducing. Bridget Ginnity highlights changes we can all make to reverse the situation CLARE man Ken O’Sullivan brought the wonders of our seas to our living rooms with his film Ireland’s Deep Atlantic (see trailer below), as did David Attenborough with Blue Planet. Despite the plentiful sea life off west Clare, those who have fished for decades don’t need statistics to know there are a lot fewer fish in the sea nowadays. Locals talk about salmon leaping up the rivers when they were young, but these stories are becoming a distant memory and wild salmon for dinner is a novelty. Is there anything we can do to help matters, to have our seas and rivers filled with fish again? There are a lot of reasons for the decline including pollution and climate change, but most fingers point to industrial scale overfishing. Are there plenty more fish the sea? A complex system of quotas governs …

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West Clare attraction set for major revamp

ONE of West Clare’s most popular tourist attractions will see considerable renovation and development as part of a plan focused on sustainability growth, writes Fiona McGarry. The keeper’s cottage at Loop Head Lighthouse, which dates back to the mid-19th century, will be renovated and repaired to high conservation standards. Works will include the repair of the existing roof and sash windows and the making safe of internal electrical works. Custy Construction has been contracted by Clare County Council to carry out the works. Meanwhile, the Council has confirmed that plans will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála for an enhanced visitor attraction within the compound of the lighthouse. The plans include an upgrade to the wastewater treatment system and a visitor management plan for the area to ensure that all development aids the conservation objectives of the Special Area of Conservation in the Loop Head Peninsula. Loop Head Lighthouse is steeped in history and is rich in maritime heritage, with …

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Clare mum shares story of support from Down Syndrome Ireland

AS CYCLISTS gear up to take part in the Tour De Munster this weekend, Clare woman Orla Browne a member of Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI), has voiced her appreciation for the charity and the support it has given her. The charity cycle in its 21st year rolls through Clare on Friday, August 6 and is a key fundraiser for DSI. Orla and her three-year-old son Harry have been members of the Clare branch of Down Syndrome Ireland since her boy was born. The charity has since become a lifeline for them, as a family that did not expect Harry’s diagnosis and were devastated initially. Orla said that, at first, she did not want to be associated with organisations such as DSI because she was in total disbelief, but by the time Harry had reached a couple of weeks old, Orla was feeling overwhelmed and seeking all the advice she could get. “We were in fear of what his life would …

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