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Breaking News

Storm Ciara May Dampen Voter Turnout

AS Ireland takes to the polls today to decide the next government, Storm Ciara is making her presence felt on the West Coast of the country. As Ciara moves across Ireland she is expected to bring with her heavy rain, high winds and risks of coastal flooding. Weather warnings have been upgraded in severity in the last hour, and a nationwide Status Orange warning has been announced from 5am tomorrow morning. A yellow weather warning is currently in place from midday today and nationally, voter turnout is reported to be quite high in the morning, as the electorate look to cast their votes and return home before the full force of Ciara is felt later today. The Clare Champion staff will be braving the elements today to keep Clare informed on voter turnout in various polling stations as well as engaging voters on #GE2020. Don’t forget The Clare Champion will be live-streaming the election results from 11am tomorrow from the …

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Daisy featuring on an international travel website.

Putting my best paw forward

I know my friend Bev will forgive me for taking over the column at short notice but I got some very exciting news over the weekend. I’ve gone international! The Matador Group, a travel network based in San Francisco, chose the best dog-friendly hotels in the world and one of them was a favourite of mine, The Twelve Hotel, just outside Galway city. But whose photo did they use on the website? Why mine, of course. As if they’d choose anybody else. I’m already one of the Underdogs, the twelve dogs chosen as doggie ambassadors for The Twelve Hotel. My friend Boo is a fellow ambassador and it would have been nice if both of us could have appeared on the Matador website. I’m really chuffed though and can’t wait to re-visit the Twelve to meet Fergus and all the team and bask in their congratulations. I’ll be the centre of attention. I’ll tell you, all this adulation couldn’t have …

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Duggan Happy With Positive Start To 2020 For Clare Camogie

The 2020 campaign for the Clare Camogie squad got off to the ideal start with Sunday’s win over Offaly in Birr. It was a game that Clare badly needed to win with tough tests coming down the track against Kilkenny and Cork before finishing off with a showdown against Waterford. One of Clare’s most experienced players, Orlaith Duggan, admits they were delighted to get the campaign started on a strong footing. She said: “We are very happy to get a win under our belts, because they were not easy to come by for us last year. It is a positive start and that is what we have been working toward over the winter in that first round of the league so we are happy. There are some aspects of the performance that we know need to be worked on, but we are glad to get the win and get off to a good start. That first game is all you …

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Taoiseach predicts ‘tight contest’ for retention of Clare’s two FG seats

A TIGHT contest for Fine Gael to retain two seats in Clare was the prediction of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as he took to the campaign trail in Ennis today (Friday). Flanked by candidates Pat Breen, Joe Carey and Martin Conway, the Taoiseach canvassed the town centre. While he was met with gifts – a green tie and a pair of socks – in one menswear outlet, he was challenged by students from Coláiste Mhuire on the issue of climate change and by members of Extinction Rebellion Clare. In relation to the chances of retaining two Fine Gael seats in this constituency, the Taoiseach said nothing was being taken for granted and that canvassing would intensify over the final hours of the campaign. Responding to a question from The Clare Champion on whether or not the party would retain the two Clare seats, Mr Varadkar said: “I believe so, but we’re not taking anything for granted. That’s one of the reasons …

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General Election candidates support hospital rally

  FIVE General Election candidates in Clare attended the protest march to highlight the trolley crisis at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) on Saturday. Clare County Council chairman, Councillor Cathal Crowe marched with Councillor Claire Colleran-Molloy in the Clare group and he was joined by  four other General Election candidates, Michael Leahy, David Barrett, Violet-Anne Wynne and Theresa O’Donohue. Councillor Crowe said he attended the march as the need to tackle the overcrowding issues is constantly raised at council meetings. Clare Sinn Féin General Election candidate, Violet-Anne Wynne is fully aware of the hardships being imposed on rural Clare by the crisis in the Mid-West’s health service and has demanded change. “The opening of existing empty beds and the employment of more nurses at University Hospital Limerick is vital to solve overcrowding crisis. “Patients in Clare are sick of the diabolical crisis in University Hospital Limerick. The Government have made excuse after excuse for far too long to justify cutbacks in …

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FG and FF still on top, but not as dominant-analysis

FIANNA Fáil and Fine Gael are the Old Firm of Clare politics, but their dominance has definitely waned, and it may dip a little further this weekend. For decades the differences between the two parties have been regarded as very minor in ideological terms, and between them they won the vast majority of Clare votes in election after election. They are still likely to win a combined three seats in Saturday’s election, but the first preference percentage will be way below what once could have been expected. By the standards of 2020 it would be remarkable, but back in 1992 more people voted for Fianna Fáil candidates than all of the other entrants combined. In that year’s general election Clare had a total valid poll of 44,608 voters. Fianna Fáil took a massive 23,088 votes of those, almost 52% of the total. Fine Gael took another 11,440 number ones, giving them just shy of 26%, and the two centrist parties …

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Mart goers support for McNamara, cool on Greens & FG

POLITICALLY engaged and numerous throughout the county, the votes of farmers and their families play an important role in every election in Clare. The last year has seen widespread disillusionment in farming, memorably expressed by the beef protests. Speaking to farmers at Ennis Mart on Tuesday it was clear that the dissatisfaction has not abated and none of those who spoke to The Clare Champion were praising Fine Gael’s record on agriculture. Many said they will be voting for East Clare farmer Michael McNamara who was a prominent supporter of last year’s protests. Several others made it clear that they wouldn’t countenance giving any preference to the Green Party whose policies they feel are very clearly against farmers’ interests. One West Clare couple said that farmers are just about able to continue as it is. “People will survive, but that’s all they can do. There’s very little investment in farming other than with grant approval and things like that,” said …

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Will slow and steady win the race for part time farmer?

ENNISTYMON on a wet Monday in January. Cold and damp, the scene is rather grim and the town is Martin Conway’s base but it is here that Joseph Woulfe will try and gain a few number one votes today. He says he has been trying to promote his campaign since last year, and once the election was called he started calling to people’s homes and businesses. A part-time farmer who chaired Beef Plan in Clare, he also works as a barber and says the interaction involved in that job is standing to him now, and he enjoys meeting voters. “I find it very easy, I’ve no problem in the world doing it, I’d do it all year around. I’m used to meeting people, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 20 years, meeting people, talking to people and communicating with them. You build up that trust and that connection.” Some candidates, veterans of politics, campaign at great speed, getting …

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