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“He died in our arms but we were at peace at that stage”

JUST two months ago, Kilmurry McMahon based couple Joe and Gemma O’Gorman lost their little baby boy, nine-week-old Mícheál. At Gemma’s 32-week scan they were told of an anomaly, and within hours of his birth he was having seizures while at five days old his parents were told he had a suspected genetic condition.  After a number of weeks of treatment in hospital his parents did finally get to bring him home, and he died in their arms on March 31. In honour of their son’s memory Joe and Gemma are walking the length of Route 66, which spans the USA, and has a total distance of 3,669.8km. They plan to complete the challenge by January 23 of next year, when Míchaél would have celebrated his first birthday. They have a GoFundMe page and at the time of writing donations were approaching €10,000, way ahead of an initial target of €1,000. When baby Mícheál passed, the lockdown was still in its …

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council faces €19.7 million deficit

CLARE County Council is facing a potential deficit of €19.7 million as a result of the collapse in economic activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it emerged this week. Deputy Cathal Crowe has called on the government to intervene with additional funding to prevent the need for the local authority to request businesses to pay commercial rates next August. Even though local businesses have got a three-month commercial rates payment deferral, Deputy Crowe believes the government needs to address this issue to avoid a situation where the council will be seeking rates that are already owed. The Meelick Deputy said it is unfair to pubs and restaurants to be paying full commercial rates next Autumn. He pointed out a lot of the council’s expenditure can’t be cut because one of its biggest outlays is its wage bill. If the council has to reduce expenditure, he expressed fears that works on capital projects such as roads will have to be scaled …

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Campaign continues to re-open Tulla Bank of Ireland branch

A CAMPAIGN to have the Bank of Ireland in Tulla re-opened is gaining momentum. The branch was one of 101 nationwide which were closed temporarily in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Branches in Kilkee and Miltown were also shut down, as Bank of Ireland said it needed to switch focus to priority services. Members of the Killaloe Municipal District are to send a letter to the regional manager seeking the restoration of services, while a petition is circulating in the town and a Facebook campaign ‘Open Our Bank’ has been set up. Sheila Vaughan of Vaughan Supply said the concern locally is that the bank has used Covid-19 as an opportunity to close the Tulla branch permanently. “Bank of Ireland saw its chance and moved very quickly to close the doors,” she said. “The move is anti-rural, especially when so many small businesses are finding things tough.” Ms Vaughan said that while many services can be conducted on-line, the lack …

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Tendering time frame outlined for nine Clare local transport routes

THE National Transport Authority (NTA) has confirmed that Clare Bus will be eligible to tender for nine local transport routes, while the two parties enter into a mediation process to resolve a dispute over funding. The accessible transport provider has had its fleet parked up since the end of March, which it controversially lost 12 routes to two new providers. Since then, its Feakle-based staff have been paid through the Wage Subsidy Scheme and intensive political efforts to resolve a row over arrears the company says it is owed continue. The NTA has now sought expressions of interest for nine Clare routes and has told The Champion that it estimates that the process of appointing a service provider will be complete by mid-August. Ger Hoey, Chairperson of Clare Accessible Transport (CAT) who operate Clare Bus said he is hopeful that a speedy mediation process will increase its chances of being able to make a competitive tender. “We would prefer to …

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Move to Phase 2 confirmed

IT has been confirmed that Ireland will move to Phase 2 of the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business from Monday. The Government has also announced an acceleration of the Roadmap, meaning certain sectors and public amenities can open earlier than previously planned. All retail stores can open from this Monday, and it is planned that the domestic tourism sector and some hospitality operators can resume from June 29th. From Monday the following changes take effect: * You can travel within your own county, or up to 20 km from your home, whichever is greater. These travel limits will be lifted from the end of June. * Groups of up to 6 people will be able to interact with each other indoors or outdoors, once they keep at least 2m apart. Groups of up to 15 will be able to meet for outdoor sporting activities. * For those who are over 70 or medically vulnerable, it will be possible to …

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Lahinch green fee revenue down €2m

Having taken a €0.5million hit last year to stage the Irish Open, Lahinch Golf Club is now preparing for a loss of over €2 million in green fee business this season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With international travel grounded, particularly from the States which would be a strong market for Lahinch, the grim financial outlook on green fee revenue was outlined to members in the past week by club chairman, Martin O’Sullivan who also emphasised that sales at the golf shop will also be severely impacted. “Green fee income has been severely affected by the pandemic. Projected green fee revenue from guests of members and possibly some visitors later in the year has been reduced by €2.4million to just over €100,000. “The reduction on visitor numbers will also have a direct impact on golf shop sales which has been reduced by 85% (€825,000),” he cautioned. Mr O’Sullivan said the club does not expect any overseas visitors before mid-August as …

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The remote working revolution

FLIRTED with by many companies employing office workers for years, remote working has suddenly been fully embraced by most companies. Clarecastle-based Paul Ellingstad is involved in the Grow Remote organisation, which promotes the benefits of remote working. The speed at which the concept has caught on since March is something no-one, including Paul, saw coming. “This is total disruption. We launched the Limerick chapter of the Grow Remote group back on February 4. Even a month later, it was like night and day. It came in so quickly. Employers were saying ‘all our workforce is working from home if they can’. It really was a shock to the system.” Grow Remote was established in 2018 and from a humble start, has spread across the country and abroad. “It started as 20 people informally in a WhatsApp group that were interested in trying to get more people aware of the benefits of working remotely, not only individual employees but for employers …

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Ennis pedestrianisation plan angers Abbey Street newsagent

AN ENNIS newsagent has voiced his concern over recently-introduced pedestrianisation measures, which have blocked access for deliveries to his premises. Gerry Connellan of Abbey Newsagents said that the erection of bollards close to his shop will make handling deliveries extremely difficult. The businessman, who has run the newsagents for decades, said he is able to manage currently – albeit with considerable inconvenience, but fears the impact of a spike in congestion from next Monday. The busy shop is located at the junction of Abbey Street and the Abbey Street car park, and relies on being able to receive deliveries seven-days-a-week. “First of all, there are bollards outside the shop, so I have to drive up onto a kerb which is two or three inches high,” he outlined. “Access to the shop is essential for me, as it is for all of the traders on the street.” Mr Connellan also hit out at the lack of consultation on the process. “As …

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