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Breaking News

Call for Council to take seat on Shannon’s board

CLARE County Council should be represented on the board of Shannon Group, Senator Martin Conway claimed in the Seanad, at a debate attended by Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Hildegarde Naughton. “Whatever future structure (for Shannon Group) is being considered, though, there must be linkages with people who know tourism. Clare County Council, in particular, has a fantastic record of building tourism numbers and products, for example, the Cliffs of Moher visitor experience,” said the North Clare Senator. “Clare County Council built the cliffs from 400,000 or 500,000 visitors per year to almost two million in 2019. That type of expertise will help to inform those of us in the region. Whatever new structure is put in place in Shannon, the input must be balanced and professional and have the linkages that we need,” he added. Clare County Council have long sought influence with Shannon Group and while former Chief Executive Tom Coughlan was …

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‘Our home is falling slowly’ – homeowners tell politicians

MORE than 20 people shared their stories of living in homes which are cracking, crumbing and letting the elements in, at a meeting between members of Clare Pyrite/Mica Action Group and political representatives. In one case, a homeowner has had to put metal cladding over a gable wall to stop the rain getting in. Since the action group was set up at the start of last month, 31 people have contacted it to call for the extension of a grant scheme for those with defective concrete blocks. A number of their stories have been covered to-date by The Champion. At the outset of last Monday’s meeting, which was held on Zoom, group founder Dr Martina Cleary outlined details of a survey conducted with 24 members. Homeowners across the county have now come forward, from Fanore to Feakle and Kilrush to Meelick. The majority of the houses were built in 1989 and 1990, but homeowners with properties built between 1984 and …

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Shannon based Active Retirement President urges major safety effort

WHILE she has concerns about the implications for elderly people, Shannon-based President of Active Retirement Ireland Kay Murphy accepts the rationale for moving to Level Three of Covid-19 restrictions and urges everyone to do what they can to suppress the virus. “Being senior citizens and aged over 70, we’re all used to it now, we have to do what we’re told. It’s no surprise that it’s gone to that, and hopefully it’ll be contained at that, that we won’t have to go to a higher level, but it’s up to ourselves. It’s always up to ourselves, we have to do what we’re told, there’s no point in testing the restrictions or breaching them. The bottom line is you have to do what you are told and follow all the etiquette that’s out there. You’re wasting your time otherwise.” Covid-19 was in her own family, giving her an appreciation for just how serious the virus is. “My son, his wife and …

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Brave Heroes Launch Lifeboat Appeal at Blackhead Lighthouse

THE miraculous rescue of two Galway cousins was recalled at Blackhead Lighthouse earlier this week at the official launch of a new fundraising appeal for the RNLI. Accompanied by their parents and friends, Ellen Glynn (17) and Sarah Feeney (23) from Knocknacarra in Galway came to the waters and the wild of the Burren to launch a Clare, Galway and nationwide appeal in support of the RNLI Lifeboats. As the two girls looked out from the Lighthouse at Blackhead with the wind and sea spray in their faces on Monday evening, they recalled it was a lot nicer to be looking out from the lighthouse than to be looking in while they were at sea waiting to be rescued. They were joined at the launch by Clare Champion managing director, John Galvin, who praised the RNLI for saving many lives each year through their dedication and tenacity. “We are delighted to join Ellen Glynn and Sarah Feeney in launching this …

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Disappointment at O’Neill’s

ON Tuesday night Ann McNamara took a few minutes to speak to The Clare Champion, even as she catered for the drinkers coming into O’Neill’s Bar in Newmarket-on-Fergus for a last few pints before the pub would have to close once more. Just eight days earlier Ann was in great form when she spoke about finally being able to reopen, but her mood was much lower on Tuesday, a few hours before having to close for at least three weeks. She acknowledged a huge sense of disappointment. “Ah, very disappointed, devastated like. Ah, everything was going so well. No one said anything about off-licences, we’re doing everything properly and yet you have all the house parties.” The regular customers are very disappointed that their social hub will be gone from them once again. “They’re all devastated, they’re all out tonight, we have the door closed because we can’t let in anymore. That’s the sad part, not everyone can get in …

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Government hears Conway’s call on addiction support meetings

NEW guidance has been published on meetings for drug and alcohol, and other addiction support groups under Level 3 and Level 4 public health restrictions. On Tuesday, Minister Frank Feighan  published guidelines which permit face-to-face meetings in controlled circumstances. The issue had been raised by Senator Martin Conway when Dublin and Donegal entered Level 4 last month, when he called for support meetings to continue in-person, given the serious nature of addiction and the vulnerability of those who may not have access to online services. The guidance recommends holding meetings outdoors or online, where possible “without diluting the benefits for participants”. In cases where face-to-face group/programme meetings take place, organisers are advised to undertake a risk assessment to ensure the health, welfare and safety of participants. Individuals at higher risk from Covid-19, or in close contact with such individuals, are told to avoid faceto-face group/programmes meetings and instead attend meetings online. “The reality is that there are huge numbers of …

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Less funding than expected for Bunratty

THIS week it emerged that Shannon Group will not be receiving the expected €2.6 million from Government to keep Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and King John’s Castle open. Instead it appears that it will receive a far smaller sum, something less than €600,000. When it emerged that far less money will now be allocated than was announced during the summer, there was some consternation among workers, but it appears that despite the lower amount of money, jobs will still be maintained. When approached this week, Shannon Group issued a brief statement about the smaller than expected allocation. “Shannon Group is still awaiting final details of the Government funding being provided but we understand it will cover the incremental operational losses of keeping Bunratty Castle & Folk Park and King John’s Castle open from September 1 to December 31, 2020.” Clare TD Cathal Crowe said that while a smaller allocation is being provided, the jobs will be maintained. Explaining the …

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Very high rate of infection in Kilrush and Ennis electoral areas

THE Kilrush area is one of the worst places in the country for Covid-19 infection at the moment and Ennis isn’t too far behind. According to State figures for the period September 22 to October 5 the infection rate per 100k in the Kilrush local electoral area was 290.6, while in Ennis it was 226.5. The rate for the Republic of Ireland as a whole was just 116.4. These figures make the Kilrush area the seventh worst in the country and Ennis the tenth. The two areas have by some distance the highest infection rates in the province of Munster. The infection rate per 100k in the Shannon electoral area was 98.7, while in the Ennistymon electoral area it was 30.5 and in the Killaloe electoral area just 29.8. Owen Ryan

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