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New petition seeks overhaul of public school transport

A LISSYCASEY father whose child was recently adversely impacted by the concessionary selection system for public school transport has devised a new petition to spearhead radical reform. Up to 15 pupils from Lissycasey and surrounding areas had their places on a bus to St John Bosco Community College withdrawn at the start of the school year because of antiquated boundary rules, which deemed them ineligible and put them on the concessionary list. West Clare pupils will get their place on a bus after a new contractor was appointed last week with a larger vehicle. Ciaran O’Flaherty is gravely concerned about the Bus Eireann school transport policy currently in place, in relation to “eligible” and “concessionary” categorisation, as the sole means to complete selection. Mr O’Flaherty believes the current policy is unfair, unethical, unreasonable and divisive, creating real divide in rural communities and resulted in the recent West Clare “Bus Fiasco”. Requesting Bus Eireann to abolish the two-tier system, he is …

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Work starts at new Lidl food discount store in Westbury

SITE preparations works are underway for the development of a new multi-million Euro food discount store in South-East Clare following a recent An Bord Pleanála ruling. Work has begun with the construction of a major new Lidl store at Westbury with workers clearing and excavating the ground for the pouring of foundations. The project was given the green light by An Bord Pleanála in July, after it sent to the planning appeals authority following a number of submissions to Clare County Council. The store will be located across from the Westbury estate, which is the largest in the county, with almost 1,000 homes and a sizeable population, while the site is on one of the busiest arteries into Limerick City. Welcoming this development, Deputy Cathal Crowe said it is fantastic to see that the shovel has broken the ground on this long-awaited development. “One of the key things I worked on during this process was the guarantee that road improvement …

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FF grassroots reflect on poor poll showing

LAST weekend’s Red C opinion poll put Fianna Fáil on just 10%, and while most in the party would consider this a surprise and very disappointing performance, Councillor Alan O’Callaghan says it was to be expected. “I’m not one bit surprised. I’d have predicted it when the Programme for Government was voted for. People mightn’t have wanted it, but felt there was no other alternative at the time and went for it,” he said. He feels the party made the wrong decision by entering government with Fine Gael and the Green Party and should have opted for another election. “It goes back to the Programme for Government. I wasn’t in support of it, and I would have been one of very few on the Council who wasn’t supportive of it. I felt at the time the reason behind it was for Micheál Martin to become Taoiseach, that was the sole purpose of putting it together. He got his wish to …

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New tourism plan aims to offset impact of Covid crisis

A DEEP crisis facing the tourism sector in Clare was acknowledged as a new plan was approved by councillors this week to guide the industry for the next decade. The role of tourism as the county’s largest indigenous employer was highlighted, with hopes expressed by some members that the authority might play a role in securing a national cultural centre for Clare. Outlining the impact of Covid-19 on tourism at the monthly meeting of Clare County Council, Director of Service Leonard Cleary noted that the new plan had had to take account of the pandemic. Head of Tourism Deirdre O’Shea agreed that against that backdrop, the strategy was vital. “The local tourism economy is in deep crisis,” she said. “Having a strategy is more important than ever for the next ten years.” Ms O’Shea outlined the risk to the 12,000 jobs dependent on tourism, as well as to the €266 million generated annually by the sector. “The strategy is still …

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Just call us, urge Shannon Gardai

GETTING the public to report even minor incidents is very important to local policing, Tuesday’s meeting of Shannon Municipal District heard, but it also heard that on occasion local people are afraid to make a complaint. Sergeant Seamus Mulligan said that there are a relatively large number of Gardaí based in Shannon due to the airport, and with the facility not being too demanding on their time at the moment, that there is quite a good number of police working in the area. He said that in the last couple of years quite a bit of effort has gone into getting Neighbourhood Watch schemes going, and while these have been successful in some cases, that has not always been the case. “In a lot of areas, unfortunately, they don’t have the interest in engaging.” The efforts to get these schemes in place will continue over the next year, he added. Levels of crime in the Shannon area have remained relatively …

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Online safety concerns spiral after lockdown school closures

A CLARE-based psychologist has said she has been inundated with concerns from parents over their children’s online activities during the months while the schools were closed. Dr Maureen Griffin is an online safety expert who provides psychological services in the areas of online offending and safety. She also works, at a preventative level, with schools, students and parents. The forensic psychologist has reiterated calls for social media companies to do more to enforce age controls. Dr Griffin also described the availability to children of dangerous content on apps like TikTok as “deeply concerning” and warned we are in danger of creating “a guinea pig generation” in terms of potential online harm. Last week, research from Cyber Safe Ireland showed that, over the last year, 61% of children had been contacted by strangers through online games. TikTok was found to be the most popular app. Despite the fact that it has a minimum age requirement of 13 – three years below …

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Ennistymon mother urges people to be aware of Sepsis

An Ennistymon mother-of-three has appealed for people to make themselves aware of the signs of Sepsis following her daughter’s near death experience. Audrey McGahon has warned parents and families not to take any chances, as in some cases there are no huge warning signs so it is vital not to wait. The most commonly reported symptoms of Sepsis include slurred speech, confusion, excessive drowsiness; pain or discomfort in the muscles or joints, passing very little or no urine, severe breathlessness, a racing heart, shivering, fever and feeling very cold. The skin of someone with Sepsis changes like pale, cold, discoloured skin or a rash that won’t fade when pressed on. In children the signs to look out for include abnormally cold to the touch; looks mottled , bluish or pale; breathing very fast; is unusually sleepy and difficult to wake; has a rash that does not fade when you press it and having fits or convulsions In February 2018, Audrey’s …

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Covid plan “entirely vague and unsatisfactory” on aviation

THE Government’s newly published plan for dealing with Covid-19, Resilience and Recovery, had relatively little to say about aviation, and no measure that will bring immediate comfort to Shannon, which is facing the potential loss of Ryanair services for the winter, along with its Aer Lingus transatlantic services. Essentially it proposes that Ireland apply the principles of a European Commission regime to have a common approach to travel within the EU. “It is proposed that Ireland broadly support the European Commission proposals and should continue to engage with Member States and the Commission to develop a regime that is consistent with public health requirements, cognisant of public of resources and capacity, while supportive of our need to support air transport,” it states. Clare TD Michael McNamara was far from pleased with what was set out. “It’s entirely vague and unsatisfactory. It’s almost as if things are going fine and we don’t really need to address this, when, in fact, our …

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