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President Higgins tops Presidential poll in Clare

    Outgoing President Michael D Higgins has topped the poll in the Clare constituency. Returning Officer, Pat Wallace revealed on Saturday afternoon that President Higgins secured 22,639 first preference votes in the first count. Independent candidate Peter Casey secured 11,722; Séan Gallagher 2,289; Sinn Féin’s Liadh Ni Riadha got 2,186; Joan Freeman 1,969 and Gavin Duffy 617. The percentage breakdown of the first count is Michael D Higgins: 54.65%; Peter Casey; 28.27%; Séan Gallagher: 5.52%; Liadh Ni Riadha: 5.277%; Joan Freeman: 4.75% Gavin Duffy: 1.489%. The total Clare electorate was 83,044. The total poll was 41,871 and there were 449 invalid votes giving a total valid poll of 41,422. Comparisons between the 2018 and 2011 Presidential Elections in Clare make interesting reading. Michael D Higgins, who was proposed by the Labour |Party in 2011, has increased his first preference vote in the county he was reared by 10% from 44.3% to 54.654% while Séan Gallagher has seen his vote …

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Higgins expected to head Presidential poll

Outgoing President Michael D Higgins is expected to head the Presidential poll in Clare when all the votes are counted. Counting has got underway for the Clare Constituency in the Auburn Lodge Hotel, Ennis. About 50 counters are separating the ballot papers for the Presidential Election and Blasphemy Referendum. Twenty-five boxes have been opened out of total of 153. There is no official tally being conducted by political analysts at this count. Returning officer, Pat Wallace estimates the first count made not be officially known until 4 or 5pm subject to official confirmation from Dublin Castle. Early indications suggest Clare voters have voted in huge numbers for outgoing president Michael D Higgins with independent candidate Peter Casey finishing very strongly in second place. The former Dragon’s Den star is well ahead of the chasing pack with Joan Freeman likely to finish third while Sinn Féin’s Liadh ni Riadha and Séan Gallagher are neck-in-neck. It looks highly likely that Gavin Duffy …

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Minister Breen organised dinner for broadband bidder

  Minister of State Pat Breen has become embroiled in controversy after it emerged he arranged for former Communications Minister Denis Naughten to attend a dinner with a key bidder in the national broadband process. The Clare Deputy has also outlined he had met Irish-American businessman, David McCourt on a number of occasions in his role as minister of state. Minister Naughten resigned from cabinet yesterday over revelations he met four times with Mr McCourt, the only bidder who is still involved in the national broadband plan process. In a statement issued last night, Minister Breen has outlined meetings he had with David McCourt, the key bidder in the broadband procurement process, and has said he knows him “on a personal basis”. The Minister of State with responsibility for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, he has “ no role in the National Broadband Plan, its rollout or its procurement”. “In my role as Minister of …

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50% rent increase demanded of pensioners

THE unpredictability faced by people in private rented accommodation has been illustrated by the case of an Ennis couple who were told the rent for their apartment would be increasing by an incredible 50%. Pensioners Hilari Hinnant and Greg Miller rent a one-bedroom apartment at Parnell Street and on July 11 they received a letter from a representative of their landlord, informing them the rent would be going up from €400 to €600 a month. In certain parts of the country, designated rent pressure zones, prices may only rise by a maximum of 4% per annum, but no part of Clare is included, meaning tenants here can see prices rise by any amount. The letter to the couple informing them of the rent increase stated “the new rent is not greater than the market rent, having regard to the other terms of the tenancy, and letting values of dwellings of a similar size, type and character to the dwelling that …

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Kilrush Enterprise Town attracts big numbers

FOR the second successive year, Bank of Ireland hosted its Enterprise Town initiative in Kilrush. Dozens of local businesses exhibited in Kilrush Community School last Friday. The event was hosted by Mullagh sports commentator and television presenter, Marty Morrissey. The event was organised by the bank in partnership with the local community in Kilrush.      

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Shannon Gardai appeal for public to contact them first, following social media scare

THERE was some hysteria in Shannon last week, after posts appeared on Facebook about men trying to lure children into a white van. However, following an investigation, gardaí say there was no risk of child abuse, while they have urged people to come to them when they have concerns. Sergeant Seamus Mulligan said that whenever there is suspicious activity, people need to contact gardaí, rather than getting onto social media. “They might want to vent on social media but they should also contact the gardaí.” He said that the van that was the subject of the social media posts in Shannon was subsequently met by gardaí in Limerick, who became satisfied that there had been no risk to children. The van was taken in, due to concerns about road traffic offences, but it is not expected that the matter will come before the courts. Earlier this year, Sergeant Mulligan addressed a meeting of Shannon Municipal District councillors, at which he …

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‘I Hid it so well. No One Knew’

Ennis woman Irene Hehir shares her struggle with depression in the hope of helping others to seek help.  IRENE Hehir describes herself as an “everyday girl living in the town of Ennis”. She has a good life, she has a good job, she has a great family and a great network of friends, but behind it all she was struggling with her mental health. To everyone who knew her, including those closest to her, the now 42 year old, was “Happy go Larry”, “the life and soul of the party”. Her outward life was about being seen to be “having the craic”, “being pure bould, carrying on and having a laugh”. But inside she was in turmoil. Her parents, extended family and friends, who have always been so supportive, didn’t know any of this was going on. In her early teens Irene was systematically bullied, and a physical assault which rendered her unconscious left her in constant fear. Although she …

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Woman attacked with brush handle in Lisdoonvarna

A CLARE man who is accused of attacking his former partner with a brush handle is to be assessed by a forensic psychiatrist as a matter of urgency. The 33-year-old, who has an address at The Mews, Lifford, in Ennis appeared before Limerick District Court this Friday [September 14] after he was charged with assault causing harm in relation to an incident near Lisdoonvarna on Tuesday. Detective Garda TJ Molloy said it will be alleged that a 30-year-old woman was struck with a brush handle and that a knife was held to her throat during the incident on Tuesday evening. He said gardaí were alerted by neighbours who were alerted to a commotion inside the caravan where the woman lives on the grounds of Ballinalacken Castle Hotel. “It was a loud verbal and physical altercation,” he said adding that witnesses described seeing the caravan “shaking viciously”. He said they feared it could overturn. Being questioned by defence solicitor Tara Godfrey, the …

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