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Christmas safety standards check

Clare homeowners and shoppers have been reminded by Minister of State Pat Breen to check for safety standards during the festive season. Supporting the “12 Day’s of Christmas Safety” by the National Standards Authority of Ireland, which is under his remit, Minister Breen wished all Clare people a safe Christmas. “To ensure we all remain safe and happy during this special time of year, it its worth remembering the safety advised being issued by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI). “The NSAI will issue daily reminders to help us all stay safe including advice such as the CE mark must be present on all children’s toys, fairy lights and other electronics. “We are also reminded to buy products from trustworthy shops and legitimate online stores and check all your Christmas lights for signs of wear-and-tear and replace them if necessary,” Minister Breen said.

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Ennis home lights up for charity

A FESTIVE house in Ennis has been lighting up the faces of both the young, and the young at heart. For the second year in a row, Gerry Keane has transformed his Ashfield Park house with a dazzling display of Christmas lights in every colour and style imaginable, all in the name of charity. Gerry said people are welcome to come along and see the house and take photographs and he is encouraging those who visit to make a donation to Milford Hospice. He explained that he first began decorating the house about four years ago, for his grandson, Sean, and he was encouraged last year to use the interest in his home to raise money for charity. “I started, about four years ago, to make a big deal of Christmas for my grandson and I decided to keep going from there. Then, last year, Mary Howard said to me, why don’t I help get money for charity. I’d never …

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Businessman convicted of rape

A 64-year-old Clare businessman is to be sentenced early in the new year, having been found guilty of multiple counts of rape, oral rape and indecent assault at the Central Criminal Court. The man, who is from County Clare but cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared before Justice Isobel Kennedy late last month facing multiple counts of rape, oral rape, sexual assault and indecent assault on a young teenager 27 years ago. The charges are alleged to have taken place on various dates between December 8, 1989 and March 31, 1992 at various locations within the county. At the time, the complainant would have been between 12 and 14 years of age. The trial opened initially on Thursday, November 23 but due to an issue with the availability of a juror, the case was rescheduled to start before a new jury on Monday, November 27. The trial concluded at the Central Criminal Court on Wednesday, December 6, when the …

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Shannon caught in a tailspin

SHANNON Airport is set to record a decrease in its number of passengers this year, unless there is a late improvement. Figures for the first three-quarters of 2017 show the number of passengers was 5.2% less than for the first three-quarters of 2016. It is a disappointing state of affairs, almost five years after its separation from the Dublin Airport Authority. According to the CSO statistics, 1,257,996 passengers were handled by Shannon in the first nine months of the year. This was almost 70,000 below the figure of 1,327,313 for the same period of 2016. It was also lower than the 1,297,080 that travelled through the airport in the first nine months of 2015. When Shannon was separated from Dublin, its business plan was to have 2.3 million passengers per annum in 2017, a figure the airport is very far away from achieving. The decline in passenger numbers at Shannon is in marked contrast to the other airports for which …

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New National Adult Safeguarding Policy

A new National Adult Safeguarding Policy is to be developed for the health sector, after Government granted approval for the move this week. The safety and protection of vulnerable people is a key objective of Government and society. The Government’s decision acknowledges the need to build further on the existing range of policies, procedures, codes of practice and legislation aimed at protecting and safeguarding vulnerable adults in the health sector in Ireland. The Department of Health will now undertake an extensive exercise of research and policy development to assist in framing an appropriate policy and legislation for the health sector. This will be a complex undertaking and the Department aims to engage with stakeholders to assist in informing the development of the policy. To that end, a public consultation and engagement process will be undertaken in 2018. The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, said, “The safety and protection of adults at risk of abuse is paramount. We are committed to …

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Garda step up campaign to curb drink driving

In the first 10 days of the DUI (Driving Under Intoxicant) campaign,December 1-10 inclusive, there have been 260 arrests on suspicion of DUI, compared to 243 for the same period in 2016. Whilst most are alcohol related, there have also been positive tests for drug driving. There are multiple examples of arrested drivers found to have an alcohol concentration of more than 100 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath. These have been intercepted throughout the country, including the morning after and early evening. The limits are, 9 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath for a specified driver. A specified driver includes learner, novice and professional driver. 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millitres of breath for a non-specified driver. The Garda message is, “This Christmas campaign will continue to concentrate on intoxicated drivers all day every day. These high risk drivers put everyone’s life in danger. Never ever drink and drive.”

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New Bishop of Galway appointed

BISHOP Brendan Kelly was announced as the new Bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh and as Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora today (Monday). The 71-year-old is a  native of Derrybrien in South Galway. The episcopal appointment by Pope Francis was announced at the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas, in Galway City. Bishop Brendan has spent the last 10 years serving as Bishop of Achonry and he takes over from Michael Canon McLoughlin, who has been Diocesan Administrator since the retirement of bishop, Martin Drennan 16 months ago. It is planned that Bishop Brendan’s installation ceremony will take place in Galway Cathedral on February 11, 2018, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Among Bishop’s appointments has been as curate in Kilvara and parish priest of Lisdoonvarna.

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McKee to run for Sinn Féin

SINN Féín’s sole Clare County Councillor Mike McKee is to run in the next general election. He will be joined on the party’s ticket in Clare by Noeleen Moran, who ran in 2016. The party is clearly hoping that a two-candidate strategy, which has not been attempted here by them in any recent election, can deliver a seat. Sinn Féin are to hold their selection convention on this Thursday night but, with only two candidates nominated, this is a formality. While they have not won a seat in Clare for generations, nor even come close since the party’s revival after the Good Friday Agreement, it is far from impossible that they will do so next time out, with the party polling between 14% and 18% nationally. In addition, they are set to go into the next election without Gerry Adams as leader. While Adams is Sinn Féin royalty, a sizeable cohort of voters in the South have never warmed to …

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