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Tales of travel in a time of quiescence

THOUSANDS of people have learned new skills and developed new interests during this year’s lockdowns. Some of us have learned to bake banana bread or found a new found love of running or gardening, while others have gone a bit further from the beaten track. One of these is Fergal O’Keeffe, an Ennis native now based in Tipperary, who has been making a weekly podcast series called Travel Tales with Fergal. Each episode features a discussion with a different person about their travel experiences, and it has already included several Clare contributors including sports stars Anthony Daly and Keith Wood, as well as journalist Richard Fitzpatrick. Fergal is a son of James O’Keeffe, of the well-known Ennis bar, while his brothers and sister still live in the town. He now lives in Clonmel, where he is also in the licensed trade. He said he got the idea for a travel podcast because he was regularly listening to less positive ones. …

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Clare historian’s years of research into the Scariff Martyrs

WHEN Tomás Mac Conmara talks about history, both his passion and the depth of his knowledge become very clear, very quickly. It has been 100 years since the Scariff Martyrs – Michael Egan, Brud McMahon, Alphie Rodgers and Martin Gildea – were shot by Crown forces in Killaloe, and it’s an incident and period of time in Clare history into which Tomás has carried out a phenomenal amount of research. He has written a book The Scariff Martyrs: War, Murder and Memory in East Clare, to be released early next year which will be the most extensive publication yet on the deaths of the four men and the subsequent trauma. Tomás’ first recorded interview in relation to the killings was back in 2004, and while 16 years seems like a particularly long duration, he feels that history must be researched over an extensive period. “I’ve a really strong philosophy on that, I believe that the writing of history takes a …

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Council spends €150,000 on legal costs over Ennis encampment

A TOTAL of €150,000 has been spent by Clare County Council to-date on legal costs relating to an illegal encampment on the Kilrush Road in Ennis. The figure was given in response to a series of questions posed by Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy at the November meeting of the authority. Members were also told that the advice from the Department of Housing is not to remove families from unauthorised sites while the Level 5 restrictions remain in place. Councillor Colleran Molloy expressed surprise that all six of the unauthorised encampments are in Ennis. “My purpose in raising this issue is to find out that the council is doing to deal with it,” she said. “I was not previously aware that they are all in the Ennis district and all in a short distance of the Rocky Road roundabout and the Doora exit off the motorway.” A written response from Director of Social Development, Anne Haugh, outlined that the council secured …

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Multiple objections to Quilty mast proposal

THE last week has seen numerous objections lodged to the proposed development of a 24-metre monopole mobile and broadband tower at Tromara, Quilty. The planning application has been made by Cignal Infrastructure Limited and comes just months after a similar proposal was turned down by both Clare County Council and An Bord Pleanála. Kilmurry Ibrickane Ladies Football Club have made one of the objections and it claimed that what is being proposed is a recycled version of the earlier failed application. “There was a similar application for such a development less than a year ago in the same area, which was eventually rejected. Why should this development be any different? Especially when this development is now closer to our grounds than the previous one.” They claim that the area is already adequately served and dispute that the development would have a local benefit. “We know there is a mast already situated 1.5km away from the GAA grounds, outside of the …

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Shannon councillor recovering from Covid-19

SHANNON based councillor Donna McGettigan is recovering from Covid-19, and she feels that the stigma around the virus is a barrier to effectively dealing with it. Speaking on Monday, Councillor McGettigan said that herself and her husband have been confined to home for the last two weeks, and she was diagnosed on the weekend before last. By this week, she was well on the way to becoming healthy once more. “I’m back now, I feel a good bit better, but I get very tired very quickly, the energy levels aren’t where they were. I still get a mad headache every day, a mad blast of a headache, but I know it’s coming. Honestly, I didn’t get it as bad as some people had, I just had three bad days. I was very, very lucky.” Her husband is in a high risk category, but has also managed to recover from the virus. Councillor McGettigan had a few days when she was …

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Councillors urge government to act on future of post offices

Fiona McGarry and Dan Danaher A ROUND of applause was given by members of Clare County Council, at their November meeting, to a leading advocate for the protection of the rural post office network. A total of ten councillors had signed up to two motions call for the enactment of a Dáil motion passed in 2016, calling for the establishment of a post office banking service to help secure the future of rural offices. Tom O’Callaghan, Chairperson of the Independent Postmasters’ Group, a proponent of the motions was in attendance at last Monday’s meeting and, after an appeal from councillors PJ Kelly and Gabriel Keating, was allowed to address the gathering. In a letter circulated to local councillors, Tom O’Callaghan outlined the financial gravity 31 Clare Post Offices find themselves in and warned that revisions to incomes would shortly make them unviable. “I spent the first ten years of my career working in the postal service,” Councillor Keating told the meeting. …

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McNamara to raise match coverage rights issue with GAA

CLARE’S Independent TD is to raise the issue of the contractual restrictions faced by the national broadcaster in televising elements of the Senior Hurling Championship with the GAA. It follows confirmation received by Deputy Michael McNamara that RTÉ is unable to show the Clare v Wexford hurling match on Saturday, because of contractual terms of its coverage. The Senior Hurling Championship All-Ireland second-round qualifier is being tipped to be a mouth-watering encounter, particularly in light of the rivalry between managers and former All-Ireland winning team-mates Brian Lohan and Davy Fitzgerald. In a letter to Declan Bennett, seen by The Champion, Deputy Michael McNamara commended RTÉ for televising the Clare v Cork All-Ireland Senior Camogie Quarter Final game and suggested that they would consider doing the same for the hurling match. “As you will be aware, games have been previously televised on RTÉ News Now,” Deputy McNamra wrote. “Due to the rivalry between the teams and the close association between their managers, …

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Elective Procedures cancelled at Ennis Hospital due to Covid-19 outbreak

ALL routine outpatient appointments and the majority of elective procedures scheduled for this Thursday and Friday have been cancelled in University Hospital Limerick and Ennis Hospital, as both hospitals manage active outbreaks of Covid-19. Significant numbers of staff are currently off work and self-isolating having either tested positive for Covid-19 or been designated as close contact. Outbreak control teams established in both locations are working closely with public health and occupational health colleagues and all the relevant HPSC guidance is being followed as we work to contain the virus and to protect patients and staff. Contact tracing and testing of staff and patients is continuing and the group are putting into effect all the appropriate infection control measures to mitigate the risk. The UL Hospitals’ Group has experienced considerable staffing challenges in recent days and just under 50 patients had their procedures cancelled on Monday, November 9th. The Group’s Hospital Crisis Management Team took the difficult decision on Wednesday to …

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