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Breaking News

Near misses prompt council to consider beach toy ban

A BAN on flotation toys could be introduced at Clare beaches and waterways, after a number of near misses where children were blown out to sea on inflatable devices. Over the summer months, there were at least two major rescues involving emergency services from Clare, with a number of other incidents causing alarm in coastal areas. “We had several incidents over the course of the summer,” said Clare McGrath, water safety officer with the local authority. “Thankfully, there were no serious injuries. While it has been great to see so many people using the beaches and waterways in Clare, and we have been seriously busy, there is concern over the risks created by these toys. They have been referred to, for good reason, as floating killers. People just don’t seem to realise the dangers.” Ms McGrath said that lifeguards in Clare had been warning people of the dangers and that most people complied with the advice. “What we would really …

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Anger in Tulla over third incident of theft from graveyard

A SPATE of thefts from graves in Tulla has sparked outrage in the local community, and an appeal for vigilance from the authorities. Six incidents have been reported to Gardaí in recent months, with the latest taking place between 9pm last Thursday (September 3) and 1pm on Friday. A number of grave ornaments, including lanterns, were removed from graves, in a theft which has been condemned by Gardaí. “These items have relatively small monetary value, but have a huge sentimental value to the families involved,” said Inspector Adrian Queeney of Killaloe Station. “These thefts cause huge distress and I would appeal to anyone with information to come forward.” Inspector Queeney said that there is no suggestion, at this point, that any particular family or individual is being targetted. “The thefts seem to be random. We don’t suspect that there’s any issue of targetting, but these thefts are now something that seems to be ongoing and we would appeal for anyone …

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Anger as pensioners excluded from Stay and Spend scheme

THE exclusion of pensioners from a new tourism stimulus scheme for the off-peak season has been described as “a real slap in the face” by the Shannon-based President of Active Retirement Ireland. Kay Murphy told The Champion the terms of the new Stay and Spend scheme, which provides a tax rebate on certain tourism products and services, “victimised” those on State pensions. The initiative, which allows people to claim 20% back on up to €625 spent between October and April of next year, excludes anyone who does not pay tax. “I’m very disappointed about this, so many of our members are dependent solely on the State pension,” Mrs Murphy said. “Because they don’t pay tax any more, they’re not eligible for the scheme.” Mrs Murphy noted that the value of Active Retirement members to the tourism sector had been valued last year at €13.5m and that their exclusion from the scheme made no sense. “At this stage, those of us …

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Breakthrough in West Clare school bus dispute

THERE has been a breakthrough in the dispute between angry West Clare parents and Bus Eireann over the withdrawal of concessionary places for bus transport to a secondary school in Kildysart. Up to 15 pupils from Lissycasey and surrounding areas had their places on a bus to St John Bosco Community College withdrawn because of antiquated boundary rules, which deemed them ineligible and put them on the concessionary list. West Clare pupils can now return to the bus after a new contractor was appointed with a larger vehicle. This comes in the wake of an intensive lobbying campaign by frustrated and parents and public representatives including Deputy Cathal Crowe and Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne, Deputy Crowe said the larger vehicle enables the route to be fully compliant from a socially distant point of view and also meant the increased capacity is now there for those additional 15 pupils, with their parents getting notified on Thursday. “I’ve spoken with some of the …

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Time to ease travel restrictions-Shannon CEO

SHANNON Airport is facing massive problems this week, with Aer Lingus considering moving its US services away from the Clare airport and Ryanair warning staff it may close its Shannon base for the winter. At the moment Shannon’s only real passenger business is with Ryanair, while the loss of the Aer Lingus transatlantic business going forward would be a crippling blow for Clare tourism, as well as being very detrimental to the prospects of retaining and developing US investment in the west of Ireland. Speaking to The Clare Champion on Wednesday, Shannon Group CEO Mary Considine said it is very important that the Government finally adjusts the restrictions on travel. “We are looking at the worst year in history for aviation, not just here in Shannon and nationally, but globally. Ryanair and Aer Lingus are really important customers to Shannon and I think they have stated very clearly the difficulty in restoring services or really kick starting aviation with the …

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Covid-19 at Shannon school

A CONFIRMED case of Covid-19 has been identified at St Conaire’s National School in Shannon. In a communication to staff, school principal Peter Walsh wrote “St Conaire’s NS has been notified of a confirmed case of Covid-19 in the school.” He added, “Please be assured that the school is doing everything possible to keep all pupils and staff safe and the school will be following all HSE advice in relation to this confirmed case.”

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Missed opportunities as fishing sector struggles – Murphy

AN APPEAL has been made for greater support for what remains of Clare’s fishing industry. Figures seen by The Champion show the total value of fish landed at ports in Clare last year was worth just over €350,000. That accounts for around 0.1% of the national total of fish landings which came to more than €282 million. Councillor Cillian Murphy from Kilkee, who spent much of his working life in the fishing industry, said the data was an indictment of the policies of various governments since the 1970s. “The reality is that a decision was made to sacrifice fishing for farming and this has been the approach for decades,” the Fianna Fáil member said. “What’s happening now is that most of the fish landed is fired into the back of a truck and exported. Fishermen are only getting a commodity price. Jobs and income are being sent out of communities.” On foot of the Clare figures, which show that Quilty …

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Ennis at the heart of live-streaming revolution

COUPLES about to tie the knot in these trying times are being invited to consider their virtual options for inviting guests to their nuptials. An Ennis company is at the heart of a digital revolution, prompted by the pandemic, and has been live-streaming events of all kinds since the Covid-19 restrictions curtailed conferences, gigs, workshops and weddings. Crowdcomms, a company founded in Australia by Deirdre Brennick and Peter Hare set up its Irish headquarters in Clare, and prior to the pandemic, had been at the heart of a vibrant conferencing and events industry. The advent of the coronavirus, has prompted them, like so many companies, to pivot and to completely revolutionise their activities. Based in the Carmody Street Business Park, and working with the likes of the EPA, the Irish Cardiac Society and the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), the Irish team, comprised of Stephen McDermott, Stuart Hadden and Elaine O’Loughlin, has been instrumental in offering virtual events, live online. …

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