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Limerick Novena reaches out to prisoners

The Lord goes in search of us; to all of us he stretches out a helping hand. [Jesus] comes to save us from the lie that [says] no one can change. He helps us to journey along the paths of life and fulfilment. Pope Francis to prisoners, Philadelphia, September 27, 2015 THE Redemptorists and Bedford Row Family Project, who support families affected by imprisonment, will be working together this year to enable prisoners and their families join in celebrating Limerick’s Novena. The focus of the novena is family life. Healing the hurt brought about by imprisonment in a family can take time, a lot of listening, understanding, and a belief that everyone has the potential to change. To this end there will be a special novena celebration at the Bedford Row Project on this Friday afternoon, the first day of the novena. Masses in the prison on Sunday will be celebrated as part of the novena. Members of the novena …

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President extends sympathy to London fire victims

President Michael D. Higgins has, in a statement, expressed his profound sympathy to all those affected by the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in London. “May I offer my heartfelt sympathy and that of the people of Ireland to the families of those who have lost their lives, as well as to those injured and affected by this dreadful tragedy. Our thoughts are with all those who are grieving or suffering at this sad time. I have asked to be kept informed as further details emerge. I will be writing to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to convey the sympathy and support of the Irish people.” At the time of writing, at least six people have been reported dead ans this figures in expected to rise. A total of 74 people have been treated in hospital and 20 are in a critical condition. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the fire at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower, which …

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Phoenix group visits Ennis

As part of the twinning relationship between Ennis and Phoenix, Arizona, the Mayor of Ennis and the chairperson of the Ennis Phoenix Twinning Committee met with visitors from Phoenix on their first visit to the county capital on Tuesday. Among the visitors was Susan Robbins, whose father, Phil was part of the original delegation to Ennis in 1988, when the twining arrangement with Phoenix was signed. While in Clare this week, the American visitors took in a number of scenic locations and tourism attractions.  

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FOI requests on information sharing

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has today (Tuesday) submitted FOI requests to the Department of Justice of Equality, the Department of Defence and the Defences Forces seeking information on Ireland’s information sharing agreements with other countries. These requests were submitted as part of a global public-information campaign aimed at uncovering international information-sharing agreements between intelligence agencies. The campaign is being coordinated through the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO), of which ICCL is a member. International information-sharing agreements between intelligence agencies potentially allow those agencies to sidestep domestic legal constraints by funnelling surveillance data into a transnational intelligence network. Eight of INCLO’s member organisations have filed Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to their governments in an attempt to shine a light on this critical seam of the global surveillance regime. This is the first multinational coalition demanding that governments release any and all information regarding agreements between intelligence agencies, and provide answers about a practice largely shielded from …

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Campaign to highlight elder abuse

Age Action has called for an “aggressive public information campaign” to inform members of the public how to report cases of elder abuse. The leading advocacy organisation for older people was responding to the publication today (Monday) of HSE figures revealing that almost 8,000 cases of alleged adult abuse were reported in 2016 but only 6% of cases were reported by the alleged victim or their family. Justin Moran, head of advocacy and communications, said, “The number of elder abuse cases has been rising every year since the HSE started reporting figures almost 10 years ago. “The best way for older people to protect themselves is to be informed, to ensure their friends and family know what warnings signs to watch out for and to act when they suspect elder abuse.The very low figures for reporting of abuse by those who are suffering from it or their family suggests too few people know what to look out for or how …

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Stamp to mark Battle of Messines

AN Post has issued a new €1.35 stamp commemorating the centenary of the Battle of Messines Ridge.  The stamp, designed by Ger Garland, features the Round Tower from the Island of Ireland Peace Park in Messines, Belgium. The Battle of Messines involved the British Second Army, under the command of General Sir Herbert Plumer, in an offensive that took place on the Western Front near the village of Messines in West Flanders, Belgium from June 7-14, in 1917. Soldiers from the 16th (Irish) and the 36th (Ulster) Divisions played an important role in one of the war’s most effective large-scale operations by reclaiming the German occupied Flemish village of Wijtschate.  It was believed that the success of the operation on June 7 created the prospect of reconciliation between the two political traditions in Ireland – British unionism and Irish nationalism.    

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Buncrana trip expenses prompts call for in-house training

Expenses totalling €12,329 were incurred by 20 Clare county councillors for their attendance at a training conference in Donegal last year. Councillor Gerry Flynn, who did not claim any of his statutory annual training allowance of €3,300, has called on the Government to provide in-house upskilling for councillors at local level, to eliminate the need to travel to the four corners of the country. His call came after almost three-quarters of the 28 elected members travelled up to Buncrana for the Association of Irish Local Government (AILG) conference on May 5 and 6 of last year. Councillors Michael Begley, James Breen, Pat Burke, Bill Chambers, Clare Colleran-Molloy, Joe Cooney, John Crowe, Christy Curtin, Pat Daly, Pat Hayes, Michael Hillery, Gabriel Keating, PJ Kelly, Pat McMahon, Paul Murphy, Richard Nagle, Tony O’Brien, PJ Ryan and Bill Slattery each made the round trip of 672 kilometres. They received payments ranging from €453 for Councillor Christy Curtin to €680 for Councillor Bill Chambers, …

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Councillors reject ‘gravy train’ claims

CLARE County Councillors have dismissed claims they are on a “gravy train”. Councillor Pat McMahon said councillors are not benefiting in terms of their expense claims. The Newmarket-on-Fergus councillor told The Clare Champion he knows of several professions who are earning much more. “I know councillors are easy meat and we can be taken out as part of a ‘one-day wonder’. In my honest opinion, we are only getting what is laid down by the minister – no more no less. “Councillors have no say whatsoever in terms of what expenses or allowances they are paid,” he said. Councillor Bill Slattery outlined even if he won the National Lottery, he would still like to work as a councillor, as he isn’t doing the job for the money. The Fine Gael councillor said he gets great satisfaction from being able to help a constituent who has a genuine concern or difficulty. Political representation is part of his family’s tradition, as his …

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