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Breaking News

Application made for Stonehall biomass plant

AN application has been made for the development of a bioenergy plant at a 3.5 hectare site in Stonehall. At the moment the site in question is owned by the Shannon Airport Authority, who have consented to Carbon Sole Group Limited making the application. Back in 2012, Clare County Council voted to rezone land to allow Carbon Sole to develop a green energy faciity in the Stonehall area, despite strong local opposition. While no objections to the new proposal have been lodged to date, it would certainly not be a surprise if that changes before the November 3 deadline for submissions. Among the items that would be included in the development would be a biomass processing and storage area utilising forestry products, a Gasification and Methanation Plant for the production of advanced biofuels, a Gasificaiton and Combined Heat Power Plant, a thermal energy recovery and storage facility and a new 38kV substation. In essence the new development would see bioenergy …

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Central Bank highlights Covid’s impact on Clare economy

CLARE is among the counties hardest hit by the economic fall-out of the pandemic, a new report from the Central Bank and the Western Development has found. This county, along with eight others along the western seaboard, comprise what is called the Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC). The research highlights the reliance in this county on very small businesses in sectors like tourism and cautions that this could affect economic recovery into the longer term. It also finds there are fewer job opportunities arising in Clare for those whose employment has ended due to Covid-19 restrictions. The report entitled, ‘The Regional impact of COVID-19: Western Region & Atlantic Economic Corridor,’ underlines the crucial role played by policies such as the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) in supporting household incomes and firms this county. “A concentration of jobs in consumer-facing sectors such as tourism and accommodation mean that workers in these counties have been adversely affected by …

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Comp shoots video to put students in the picture

WITH its traditional open evening unable to go ahead, St Patrick’s Comprehensive School has had to improvise to show potential new students and their parents what it has to offer. The school has teamed up with a past pupil to shoot a video capturing the Comp’s unique atmosphere and the sense of closeness and camaraderie that defines it. “Normally what we would have had on Thursday night would have been our actual open night,” principal Mary Costello told the Champion. “The school would have been open, all the classrooms would have been open and we’d have had tours going around led by students and staff, where prospective students could come in and walk around and get a sense of it. “Obviously with Covid we can’t do that. We looked at all the different options that were out there, there are Google earth ones, but what we wanted very much was to give a sense of the school, the atmosphere and …

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Thousands of new college courses for Midwest region

MORE THAN 3,000 courses are to be made available through colleges serving the Midwest, following an investment in an initiative to upskill people in response to the economic impact of the pandemic. 271 additional post-graduate places and 2,769 additional modular places will be available at the University of Limerick (UL), Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT), the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) and the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) after an investment of €30 million. Senator Martin Conway said the new free and subsidised higher education places would “help get people back to work, upskill workers and build economic confidence while continuing to manage the impact of Covid-19”. “People are really suffering as a result of this pandemic and the government is working to provide opportunities for those who have been most affected and ensure that they have the skills that are needed by employers today,” the Fine Gael member said. “Many courses focus on future proofing the skills of …

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Gardaí confirm complaints over ‘breaches’ of retail rules

RETAILERS around the county are receiving visits from Gardaí to ensure compliance with Level 5 restrictions, amid controversy over which shops and products are deemed to be essential. Clare Gardaí have confirmed receiving a number of complaints about apparent breaches of the rules. Despite the government outlining 16 different categories of retail that can continue under the highest level of Covid-19 restrictions, confusion has arisen. Several members of the public have contacted The Champion to say that certain retail outlets appear to be open when they shouldn’t be. Similarly, many retailers who are deemed to be non-essential, have taken issue with the sale of clothing by supermarkets. Retail representative groups say members are angry and confused. “We’ve been asking the government to make all retail essential at this time of the year,” said CEO of Ennis-based Retail Excellence, Duncan Graham. “There was a palpable sense of shock when we moved to Level 5. People are very anxious, they’re very worried, …

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Multi nationals booming despite Covid-19

THE move to Level 5 restrictions has seen the domestic economy slump further, with many locally owned businesses having to close their doors again. While many people have been left out of work, at least temporarily, there is a more positive dimension to the local employment situation, with a number of multinational companies in Clare and the wider region trying to find new staff. This week saw an announcement by US company exida that it will create 25 new jobs in Shannon , while Joe Robbins of Careerwise Recruitment said the Pharma/Life Sciences/ Medical Devices sector is booming in the mid-west. “If you consider so many companies are working on a vaccine, they’ve continued to hire, and a lot of them are growing. They’re hiring from a small pool of people, and if you’re a quality engineer or a manufacturing engineer, or a chemist or a scientist, you’ve a lot of choice. I’m talking about the mid-west but in Cork …

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Return to The Twelve

The other weekend I took the chance to slip away with my hoomans for another little break. It looks like we were just in time. Although Level 3 doesn’t mention dogs, I have a feeling I’ll be staying at home for the next few weeks. Saturday morning saw us heading for Galway city with a stop in Clarinbridge for a swift dogguccino. We had a little wander around the city but it was soon time to head off again and as I suspected, we were going to The Twelve, my Galway home from home. Now I hadn’t arranged this trip, the hoomans had and they’d have to pay for it too because my bone account has gone into boverdraft. I’m not worried though as I believe the Government are making PUP payments now. It’s been a while since I was a pup but I’m so cute I’m sure I’ll get away with it and it won’t be long before my …

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Gloom at a deserted airport

A FEW hours after Ryanair announced it would be closing its Shannon base for the coming winter, a casual visitor might have assumed that it had already happened. Inside the Shannon terminal last Thursday five aside games of soccer could easily have been played without disturbing anyone, so empty was the building. There was no sign of any passengers getting ready to leave or anyone having recently arrived. Shops were closed, there was a restaurant open, but all that were eating there were a handful of airport workers. Quite understandably Shannon Group employees didn’t want to have their names attached to their opinions delivered to a newspaper, but there was an undeniable air of gloom from them as they spoke of the crisis facing Shannon. “The place is on its f**king knees, I don’t know what’s happening,” one observed, wearily. Niall Gavin runs his own company, River International, and he was at the airport dropping off packages. On the day …

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