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Shannon Airport passenger numbers fell to 352,000 in 2020

JUST over 352,000 people used Shannon Airport in 2020, a 79% drop on 2019, Shannon Group has revealed. Shannon Group’s heritage sites, which include Bunratty and King John’s Castles, had 302,000 visitors last year, which was down by almost 69% on 2019. CEO of Shannon Group Mary Considine said that while Covid-19 did huge damage to its business, there is a basis for recovery. “Covid-19 had a devastating impact on two of our three business operations, but with the right supports, the foundations for recovery exist within Shannon Group, namely our improved core airport infrastructure, vibrant property portfolio, strong tourism offering and vibrant aviation cluster.” Aviation is on the floor now, but she says there are positive signs for Shannon. ““With Ryanair set to reopen its base and operate 14 new routes from Shannon for Summer ’21 there are green shoots, but we recognise that recovery will be slow, rebuilding will take time, but we will get there. Crucial to …

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Call for council apology over role at Kilrush mother and baby home

CLARE County Council has been urged to apologise for the role it played, in the 1920s and ‘30s, in the running of the County Clare Nursery in Kilrush. Last week, in the Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, the high infant mortality rate there was revealed. The deaths of so-called “illegitimate” infants is recorded as 168 during a ten-year period from 1922 to 1932. The commission concluded that the vast majority of those children died at the home. The facility was owned and financed by Clare County Council. At the outset of this week’s meeting of the West Clare Municipal District, Councillor Shane Talty proposed that an apology would be issued by the council at its February meeting.  He said the council was proud of its history but added, “We should acknowledge our dark chapters and if the local authority had a role in that, albeit nobody today can take responsibility, I think at a …

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President Leads Tributes to Dr Brian Hillery

President Michael D Higgins has led the tributes to former Fianna Fáil TD and Senator Brian Dr Hillery who has died aged 83 after a short illness. In a glowing tribute, President Higgins said the news of the death of Brian Hillery will have been received with great sadness by all those with an interest in politics and economics, by those who encountered him in a long life of public service, and particularly by his colleagues in the Fianna Fáil Party. Minister Higgins said after taking an early interest in commerce and the economy, Mr Hillery went on to make a distinguished contribution as a Senator and TD for Dún Laoghaire, to his mark in the world of administration and finance, serving as Ireland’s representative on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as Director at the Central Bank, as a Financial Regulator, and as a member of a number of bodies providing advice to Government. “He also held with …

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Cooney commends bus shelter boost

VITAL services to encourage the use of public transport in Clare are to receive a boost, members of the local authority have been told. The need to provide safe and accessible bus shelters was raised by Councillor Joe Cooney who called on the council to work with Bus Éireann on the matter. A formal response to Councillor Cooney’s motion outlined how works are being carried out in conjunction with Bus Éireann, the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) on 11 bus shelters at locations across the county. Six of these are new and will be installed in Nemarket-on-Fergus, Lisdoonvarna, Ennis, Westbury, Kilkee and Crusheen. Senior Engineer John Leahy outlined how the other five projects involve upgrades to existing shelters in Shannon. In a remote contribution, Councillor Cooney told the meeting how, in some cases, people had to wait for busses “in atrocious conditions”. He also noted that school children had to wait for public transport at the …

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Full time carers should be prioritised in vaccination programme – Cllr Norton

FULL time carers and people with disabilities should be vaccinated as soon as possible, according to Councillor Ann Norton. Councillor Norton has called on the government to follow the example of the United Kingdom by prioritising carers and family members they are looking after for the vaccine against Covid-19. As a parent and full time carer, the Independent Councillor wrote to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, Tanáiste Leo Varadkar and An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin about the need to prioritise carers as part of the national vaccination programme and was very disappointed with the lack of any serious engagement. She received a standard acknowledgement from Minister Donnelly’s secretary, an automatic response from Deputy Varadkar and no response from the Taoiseach. Councillor Norton, who cares for her daughter, Nicole, (23) said it was time for the government to recognise carers were saving the state huge sums of money by keeping children and adults out of long stay residential facilities. “Full time carers are …

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Cahercalla Hospital

Defence Forces provide non-medical support at Cahercalla after Covid-19 outbreak

Members of the Irish Defence Forces are providing non-medical logistical support at Cahercalla Community Hospital following an outbreak of Covid-19 infection. It has emerged that there are currently 19 cases of Coronavirus in the medical facility. The Board of Cahercalla has moved to assure relatives they are doing everything possible to protect and care for patients following grave concerns expressed about the impact of the outbreak on social media on Saturday. It has confirmed members of the Irish Defence Forces are on site to give non medical logistical support in order to allow staff concentrate on their clinical duties and to assist in the setting up of the vaccination areas at Cahercalla. In a statement issued to the Clare Champion on behalf of the Cahercalla Board, Dr Michael Harty outlined the hospital are working closely with HIQA, the HSE dedicated Covid-19 Response Team and other agencies to manage and control this outbreak to ensure continued quality care, safety and welfare …

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council carry out repairs on popular Cliffs of Moher walking route

CLARE County Council has confirmed that emergency health and safety repairs have been carried out on a section of one of the most popular walking routes in the county for tourists and locals. Repair works on the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk in a two kilometre zone, one kilometre north and one kilometre south of the Visitor Centre, are almost complete. Works completed by Guerin and Considine include resurfacing the entire length, reinstatement of a dry stone wall 500 metres in length, repairs to stiles, and raising of flagstones in areas of uncontrolled access. Access to the cliff edge area was achieved in collaboration with the landowners, design was  completed in-house by the Design Office and a Section Five declaration was obtained from the Planning Department for part of the works. These repair works were recently inspected by Clare County Council chief executive officer, Pat Dowling, and Geraldine Enright, Director, Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience. The works were jointly led …

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Increase in Clare numbers getting PUP

THE number of people receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment in Clare increased from 7,112 on January 5, to 8,261 on January 12. The number was under 6,000 as recently as December 22. Just 38 people closed the PUP payment to return to work between January 5 and January 12, while another 1963 people were medically certified for receipt of Enhanced Illness Benefit to January 12. In addition there were 4,922 people in Clare signing on the live register in December. Of these more than half, 2,732 were in Ennis. Another 782 were attached to the Kilrush Social Welfare Office, with another 763 at Ennistymon and 645 at Tulla. In a statement this week, the Department of Social Protection said that the number of people receiving the PUP increased over the last week and it is very likely that it will be higher again next week. “This week, the Department of Social Protection has issued weekly payments valued at €118.04 million …

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