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Breaking News

Council engaging with homeowners to verify pyrite problem

THE founder of a group of up to 40 home owners, whose properties are crumbling because of defective building materials, has appealed to the government not to delay the extension of a support scheme to County Clare. The council has confirmed that it has sought the extension of the scheme and been contacted by the Department of Housing. The authority has made contact too, in recent days, with The Clare Pyrite/Mica Action Group. “Our situation has been raised by the council, TDs and senators, we’re so grateful for that support,” Dr Martina Cleary said. “It’s very important now that the process isn’t made overly complex. Several of our members are living in homes that are ready to fall and they’re afraid for their lives. Each winter that goes by, with the damp and the frost, the situation is getting worse and you can literally hear the blocks cracking. You can imagine the psychological stress. In Mayo and Donegal, where people …

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Over 7,500 Clare people on PUP

LATEST figures show that there are 7,513 Clare people receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. The figure has increased marginally over the last week, but is significantly lower than the peak number of 14,600 receiving it in early May. Across the country there are now 352,000 people in receipt of the PUP, a number that has increased by over 145,000 since the start of October. The pandemic is wreaking destruction on the domestic economy in particular, and has shut down the county’s hospitality sector, which is particularly important in the west of Clare. Kilkee-based Councillor Cillian Murphy said this week that his home town is very quiet. “There’s nowhere open, nowhere open. There’s probably two places in Kilkee to get coffee, just on a takeaway basis. “When you have a big reliance on seasonal tourism that’s what can happen. At this time of year you’d have weekend trade, Monday to Thursday would be harmless enough especially in the run up to …

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Gardai seize €60,000 worth of drugs and cash

GARDAI seized of over €60,000 worth of suspected drugs and cash on Wednesday evening. As part of an operation targeting the sale and supply of drugs, Gardaí from the Clare Divisional Drugs Unit carried out a search of a yard in the Clarecastle area. There they seized suspected cannabis herb with a street value of €40,000 along with €17,000 cash. Follow up searches were also carried at fields in Ennis and Tiermaclane where Gardaí seized over €2,500 cash and €700 of suspected cannabis herb. All of the suspected drugs will now be sent for analysis. Two men, both aged in their 40s, were arrested and detained at Ennis and Shannon Garda Stations under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996 and have since been released. A file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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Shock for Quilty fishing crew after historic catch

A QUILTY fishing crew got a shock last month when they caught the first ever confirmed electric ray in Irish Waters. Skipper of the MFV Emma Elizabeth, Tommy Galvin, was out with a crew including his son Thomas, fishing crayfish at the back of Mutton Island when the rare Marbled Electric Ray – otherwise known as a Torpedo Marmorata – turned up in their nets. “We knew straight away it was something you wouldn’t see every day,” Tommy told The Champion. “It was a brownsih colour, around two feet long and weighed around five kilos or so. Thomas got a bit of a shock from it, but strangely I didn’t. We were very cautious with it. Of course, we wear boots and gloves so that would cut limit the charge.” A keen watcher of sea life, Tommy got some expert advice to help identify what his unusual catch might be. “I got in touch with marine biologist Kevin Flannery, who …

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Waiting lists soar by 40% due to “catastrophic” Covid-19 impact

THE “catastrophic” impact of Covid-19 on Mid-West health services came sharply into focus this week with confirmation the number of public inpatients waiting for treatment has soared by almost 40%. New figures published by the National Purchase Treatment Fund have revealed the number of public inpatients waiting for treatment jumped by almost 40% from 4,798 on January 30 to 6,676 on October 30. This includes 2,266 inpatients waiting for treatment at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) and 621 in Ennis Hospital. The numbers on the outpatient list also grew by 16% from 47,184 in January to 54,759 in October. There are 42,777 outpatients in UHL, 7,235 in Croom, 2,026 in Ennis, 1,296 in Nenagh and 1,425 in St John’s Hospital waiting for treatment. Deputy Michael McNamara described the increase as “alarming but not surprising” in view of the cancellation of elective surgery. “I raised the issue of health services with the HSE and with former Health Minister Simon Harris in the …

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Council progresses €69 million Shannon River Crossing Project

Clare County Council is making significant progress delivering the Shannon River Crossing project, which will be on of the biggest infrastructural project in South-East Clare. The estimated cost of the project totals €69 million, which includes construction, land acquisition, design, supervision, risk, contingency and archaeology. It is expected the new Shannon River Crossing, Killaloe By-Pass and upgrade of the Ballina to Birdhill R494 regional road will take up to three years to construct and could start next summer if everything goes to plan. Out of 110 affected property owners, two homes were acquired under the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) process, which will have to be demolished. One of these is in Clarisford while the other one is at the Ogonnelloe end of the scheme. The council concluded a deal with these two property owners at an early stage – one built a new dwelling in the locality and the other home owner has moved out of the area. In an …

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Further clarity sought over use of CCTV to tackling fly-tipping

CLARITY has once again been sought over the use of CCTV to convict those involved in illegal dumping, in light of concerns raised the Data Protection Commissioner about remotely-operated cameras. A question was tabled at the November meeting of the local authority by Councillor Alan O’Callaghan, asking whether or not footage could be used in prosecutions. The Fianna Fáil member noted that the issue had come up at the most recent meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC). He said he had been “taken aback” by the advice given there. “It seems that the Data Protection Commissioner has highlighted issues,” he said, “however, we all watch programs where Gardaí make appeals for dashcam footage. It’s very frustrating. We are trying to battle dumping and littering issues across Clare.” Councillor O’Callaghan noted that his party colleague Councillor Cillian Murphy had drawn his attention to an article reporting that 64 littering fines were issued in Tipperary thanks to the use of CCTV …

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Phased opening of new €19.5 million 60-bed modular unit starts next Monday

THE new €19.5 million 60-bed block modular unit to tackle overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) will be fully operational almost two months after a recent predicted timeframe given by a government minister. Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler stated in the Seanad recently “from a construction perspective, the new ward block should be ready to be operational by Monday, November 9”. However, it has now been confirmed the long-awaited modular unit will come on stream in three distinct phases, starting with 20 beds next Monday and will not be fully operational until January. Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has told Deputy Cathal Crowe a new 20-bed ward, which is part of the 60-bed unit will open next Monday, this will be followed by a further 20 in December and the final 20 will be up and running in January. “A state-of-the-art facility will be in place at UHL now, and the timing couldn’t be better …

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