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Use of Shannon again slammed after power shift in Afghanistan

WITH the Taliban extending their sphere of control almost immediately after the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, there has been more criticism of the use of Shannon Airport by the US army. Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan said that Ireland has been complicit in the situation. “The history of Afghanistan has been one of tragedy for many decades now. “The US has left a legacy of chaos and carnage behind them, and successive Irish governments should reflect on how their betrayal of Irish neutrality facilitated this. “According to data from Harvard University and the Brown University Costs of War project, 172,000 people have died directly as a result of the war waged by US forces. This figure does not include thousands more who died as an indirect result of the conflict due to displacement and disease, or the hundreds of thousands more people forced to flee as refugees. “Many of those US forces made their way to that war via Shannon …

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Sailing club starts €700k project

New state-of-the-art clubhouse on Lough Derg shores will allow Killaloe Sailing Club to develop to its true potential KILLALOE Sailing Club is on the crest of a wave following the start of construction work on its new state-of-the-art €700,000 club house facility on the shores of Lough Derg. It is expected the new club house will be fully constructed by the end of the year. Phase one consists of the car and sailing dinghy park. The second phase involves the construction of the new modern building, which will provide proper on-shore facilities for club members. Jim Ryan, long standing member and driving force behind the club development, highlighted that the new facilities will greatly enhance the club’s offering to its current members, and will also provide a wonderful amenity for the populations of the wider Clare, Tipperary and Limerick area. “Until now, the club has been somewhat limited in developing its true potential due to the very poor on-shore facilities …

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The leading lady of Lahinch

Actor and writer Siobhán Hewlett speaks to Dan Danaher about her love of north Clare and battling stage fright AT the age of 24, and flushed from success with ITV comedy Fortysomething, Siobhán Hewlett, was cast in her first big stage role. As opening night approached, the actor, who is now based in Lahinch, began to feel the onset of that which her profession dreads the most – stage fright. Actors, surveyed for a recent academic study on stage fright, have variously outlined symptoms ranging from swollen tongues to fainting, uncontrollable crying, cold sweats, breathing difficulties and palpitations. Cast to play a “sex kitten” in her first big play at the Donmar Warehouse, one of the best theatres in London, Siobhan recalls, “I will never forget just suddenly being terrified at the first preview. “I had consumed about five bottles of rescue remedy just before the press night. I remember sitting on stage and I thought I was fine. I …

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“We would not be here were it not for Phil and the others”

TWO Italian brothers who were almost killed on Inis Mór two years ago before being saved by the crew of Shannon-based Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 115 helicopter were back in Ireland last week, thanking those who helped them. Giovanni and Ricardo Zanon were in Ireland in 2019, to attend the Father Ted tribute event Tedfest, on Inis Mór. Father Ted was of course a phenomenally popular 90s comedy, and the two brothers, who visited the Coast Guard base in Shannon last Thursday love the show, just as thousands of Irish people do. “We are fans of Father Ted, strange as it may seem, we saw all the episodes multiple times. We decided to go there for Tedfest, I think it’s something they have every year,” says Giovanni. While attending they went to see Poll na bPéist (the Wormhole) on the island. At the time they arrived Giovanni felt things were quite safe. “It was February and the weather was cold, but …

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Class sizes drop but still above EU norm

THE AVERAGE class size in Clare was the third lowest in Munster last year, but was still much higher than the EU average. Figures revealed in a Dáil question to Sinn Féin have revealed the average class size in Clare was 22.2 last year, slightly less than 22 in Kerry and 22.1 in Tipperary, Cork County had the highest class size in Munster with 23.5, which was followed by Waterford on 23.4 and Limerick on 23.1. The average class size in Clare dropped from 23.1 to 22.2 from 2017 to 2020. There were 74 classes in the Banner county with more than 30 children in them. Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne said the Covid-19 pandemic has shown Ireland’s education system is underfunded, understaffed and overcrowded. “The reality is, that keeping school buildings open in the last year was made much more difficult because we have some of the highest class sizes in Europe. “In Clare, there was a shocking 36 kids sharing …

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Local groups mark heritage week both online and offline

THE weather was wet and miserable last Saturday afternoon, but it didn’t stop more than 40 people turning out for a Heritage Week event at Hasting’s Cottage in Shannon. One of the most historic sites in the country’s newest town, Hastings Cottage is where the British Army’s General Lucas was held for part of his time in captivity, during the War of Independence. A group of musicians from the Sixmilebridge Folk Club provided music on the day, it being their first live performance in almost 18 months. Following this there were some short talks on the history of the site and its inhabitants. Hastings Cottage has been in the care of heritage group Dúchas na Sionna for the last ten years and its secretary Olive Carey outlined the progress that is being made in preparation for the complete restoration of the farmhouse barn, as a community, cultural and heritage facility. Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council PJ Ryan spoke at the …

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Indoor dining back at the Cliffs

Indoor dining has recommenced at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience for the first time since the start of the pandemic, with the reopening of the newly refurbished Cliffs View Café. Operated by Brambles, one of Ireland’s leading catering providers, the 120-seat facility is located on the first floor of the Clare County Council-owned visitor centre. Current Covid restrictions mean that indoor dining is currently restricted to 52. “I am delighted that visitors are once again able to enjoy a fantastic dining experience overlooking the cliffs” commented Bobby Kerr, Chairperson of the Board of the Cliffs of Moher Centre Ltd. The Cliffs View Café had been closed for indoor dining since 2020 but reopened initially for takeaway services in May 2021 before the full reopening. The extended closure presented an opportunity for a range of interior refurbishment works to take place, including the installation of a new coffee station and counters, new seating, and painting work. Geraldine Enright, Director of …

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People of Afghanistan ‘don’t want to go back 20 years’

WHILE he has received refugee status and now lives in Ennis, former journalist Sayed Farid Sanai is very worried about his family left behind in an unstable Afghanistan, while he fears any progress made since the toppling of the Taliban 20 years ago could be very quickly undone. Two years ago he made it to Europe, but he knows something of the dread of the hundreds of people desparately seeking to make it out of Afghanistan this week. Farid’s son and wife are still in Afghanistan, and with an application having been made to the Irish Department of Justice, he is hopeful they will be allowed to come here soon. “Three months ago I applied for my family, I sent all of the details to the section in the Department of Justice, I’m still waiting for the process. They said it takes time, now it’s an emergency, but I don’t know how long it will take.” He says that he …

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