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Breaking News

Forestry owners want to cut tree felling licence delays

CLARE forestry owners with mature trees are waiting more than 12 months in some cases to secure a tree felling licence due to red tape, a local deputy has claimed. Deputy Michael McNamara recently asked the new Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue the measures he will take to address the backlog in applications for planting permits and felling licences in the forestry section in a Dáil question. Deputy McNamara said it is legitimate that people want to plant trees but it is also legitimate that nobody wants a monoculture sitka spruce plantation surrounding their house. The Independent Deputy said there is no point in pretending that planting sitka spruce will help the environment as it is a short term cash product. In addition to requesting more ecologists in the Department of Agriculture, Deputy McNamara stressed the Department of Agriculture had to adequately deal with a variety of issues concerning tree felling and planting. “We need timber but it is all a …

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Call to reinstate North Clare businesswoman to Fáilte Ireland board

AWARD-winning North Clare businesswoman Breege O’Donoghue should be reinstated to her position on the board of Fáilte Ireland, according to Clare’s Fianna Fáil senator, who has warned about the risks of “blood letting”. The Boston native stepped down last month after controversially travelling to a non-Green List country, at a time when a major summer ‘staycation’ campaign was running. Ms O’Donoghue also tendered her resignation as Chair of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCI), but has since been reinstated, prompting Senator Timmy Dooley to call for her to be reappointed to the tourism board. “I very much believe in the public health message,” said Senator Dooley, “but we need to be really careful of the blame game. The kind of expertise that Ms O’Donoghue has is not in huge supply. It’s not the same things as having a government minister resign. They can be moved around reasonably easily.” Ms O’Donoghue’s was the second resignation from the board of …

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Call for ‘joined up thinking’ as storm season approaches

JOINED up thinking between agencies including the local authority, the ESB and Eir, as owners of the phone infrastructure network, has been called for in the wake of Storm Ellen in East Clare. Addressing the most recent meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District, Councillor Pat Burke said the storm had had a far more serious impact on East Clare than had been forecast. “If you were in Ennis, Quin or Tulla,” he said, “you’d hardly have noticed that there had been a storm. But, there was an awful lot of damage in areas around Scariff, Mountshannon and Whitegate.” The Fine Gael member commended the work of council crews, the fire service and local farmers and landowners. “Local people were out helping with chain saws and tractors to open a number of roads,” he said. “We’re very grateful to them and there was a very coordinated approach taken between themselves and the council and the ESB.” In relation to the extensive …

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Figures show high numbers of asylum applications from Clare

NEW figures showing that Clare is among the counties with the largest number of applications for asylum have prompted concerns over the relatively high concentration of people living in Direct Provision here. With 378 applications from people living in this county, Clare ranks fourth in the latest data. Three counties – Cork, Meath and Kerry – have a greater number of applications. According to Bulelani Mfaco of the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI), the number of applications reflects the relatively high number of Direct Provision centres located in Clare, as well as the level of overcrowding within them. “There is a high concentration of asylum seekers in the county between the centres at Knockalisheen, Ennis and Lisdoonvarna,” said Mr Mfaco who is lives at the Knockalisheen centre in Meelick. “That is why the figure for Clare is so high. There is also the issue of the rate of occupancy of the centres to consider. At one point, there …

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Ann relishing the reopening of O’Neills

A VERY homely and comfortable bar, O’Neills in Newmarket on Fergus has been in Ann McNamara’s family since 1900. Having come through wars, recessions and storms over the years, Ann was determined that Covid-19 wouldn’t finish off the business. Not on her watch. ” I don’t know how many people used to ask will it open again, but I said that after 120 years in the family, I wasn’t going to be the one to close the doors. I do my best to accommodate our regulars, and that’s what I love to be able to do,” she said on Monday, one week on from its reopening after six months. Looking from her home across the road at the locked up pub was difficult, and she’s delighted to be back. “It was unbelievable, we are 120 years in business and for the first month or two it was a grand break, but after that…” As is the case with many rural …

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High-Speed Rural Broadband Connections Are On Track

THE first high-speed fibre connections to rural homes in Clare as part of the rollout of the National Broad Plan (NBP) will be made before the end of the year, Communications Minister Eamon Ryan has pledged. In response to parliamentary questions from Deputy Joe Carey and Deputy Cathal Crowe, Minister Ryan confirmed design work “is complete or ongoing” in Clare and 20 other counties. Deputy Carey asked the Communications Minister to outline his plans to accelerate the National Broadband Plan (NBP) to facilitate remote working in homes and business in Clare, while Deputy Crowe asked a similar question about the roll out of the NBP in the county. Around 91,000 premises across the country had been surveyed as part of the €3bn plan to deliver high speed broadband to rural Ireland by September 15, according to Minister Ryan. In Clare, the minister confirmed to the two deputies that surveys have already commenced in Cratloe, Ballycannan, Ballyglas and Cloghrea. Further surveys …

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Shannon’s Aer Lingus transatlantic routes to be maintained

THERE had been fears that Shannon’s transatlantic connectivity was set for another pummelling, with Aer Lingus possibly transferring Shannon-USA routes to the UK, but it now seems that such concern was unwarranted. It is understood that at a recent strategic planning meeting of Aer Lingus, the airline committed to operating a summer 2021 schedule to New York and Boston, using aircraft which will be based at Shannon. It is expected that there will be two A321neo aircraft at the Clare airport, each one of which has 184 seats. While Aer Lingus may still opt to begin transatlantic services from the north of England, this will not be at Shannon’s expense. Although getting back to normal transatlantic services is still way off and dependent on the Covid-19 situation stabilising, the fact that Aer Lingus is planning to continue with the services will come as a major relief to all concerned with tourism and industry in the region. Shannon has already lost …

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Action needed on ‘outrageous flooding’ in East Clare

“OUTRAGEOUS flooding” on land and roads in East Clare was discussed with council officials at the most recent meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District. Cathaoirleach, Councillor Pat Hayes tabled a motion proposing a planned programme of drainage works for the River Grainey and its catchment area. “We need to take the bull by the horns on this,” he said. “The river is 40 to 50 miles long and the lack of drainage is now coming home to roost on the roads around Feakle and Tulla, especially around the likes of Derrynahila. I have called previously for a single authority to deal with drainage. Some good work has been done in the past, but not for a long time on the River Grainey. If we don’t act we’ll end up having to raise the roads in places like Ayle, Core and Caher.” The Fianna Fáil members pointed out that the River Grainey is also an important amenity in terms of recreation …

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