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Councillor seeks to protect defibrillators

An ENNIS-based Councillor Mary Howard has called for stricter penalties for those who vandalise defibrillators. At a recent meeting of Clare County Council, she also requested that the Minister for Health ensure that all future publicly-accessible defibrillators be fitted with a sensor that would notify emergency services once it has been removed from its holder. Speaking about the vandalism of the items, Councillor Howard said, “Last December, we saw CCTV footage of a group of 16-year-olds in Arklow in County Wicklow pull a defibrillator off a wall and proceed to kick it back and forth, destroying the unit. “In January, a defibrillator was destroyed in Cork for the fourth time. The list goes on. These life-saving devices cost in the region of €2,500 to be replaced.” She said it would be important to have defibrillators fitted with devices that would discourage vandals. “In the future, I would like to see these units fitted with a SIM module and internal camera, …

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Ennis to get all beefed up

ENNIS is set for a financial boost, with the arrival of a major livestock event to the Clare Co-operative Marts later this year, The Clare Champion can confirm. The Commercial Cattle Exhibitors Society’s winter fair will be held in the county capital in October, the first time the event has been held in the West of Ireland. Organisers estimate that Ennis’ hosting of the winter fair on October 22 and 23 will bring in around €250,000 to the local economy. Around 1,000 people are expected to attend, with 200 exhibitors also taking part in the event, which will see farmers gaining access to a marketplace where some weanlings are likely to sell for in excess of €5,000. This year will mark the 21st annual showcase, which regularly attracts both Irish beef producers and overseas visitors. Muireann Hannon, PRO for the Commercial Cattle Exhibitors Society, explained why Ennis was picked as the host venue for 2017. “The society has chosen Clare, …

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Pat Spillane backs rural development

FORMER Kerry footballer Pat Spillane made a presentation to members of the recently established Clare Rural Development Forum in Ennis today (Wednesday). Better known nowadays as a TV football pundit, Pat Spillane has a new role as Government Ambassador for the National Action Plan for Rural Development. Comprising members drawn from local community, business, tourism and farming groups, as well as Clare County Council, elected members, third level institutes, and State and Development Agencies, the Forum is currently developing a strategy for Clare, which will be launched in May. Mr Spillane referred to his passion for rural Ireland, his chairmanship of the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) and the importance of interagency collaboration. He also acknowledged Clare County Council’s role in convening the Rural Development Forum and establishing of the country’s first Local Authority Rural Development Directorate. The forum meeting was also addressed by Ciaran Lynch, development manager for LIT, who has a strong background in …

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Medical card changes for over 70s

Minister for Health Simon Harris has announced that 390,000 people over 70 years with a medical card, including their dependants, will benefit from reductions to prescription charges. From this Wednesday, prescription charges will be reduced from €2.50 to €2 per item and in addition the maximum monthly limit will be reduced from €25 to €20 per person or family per month. These changes will benefit over 390,000 medical card holders, advancing a key Programme for Government commitment to reduce the cost of medicines for medical card holders. Commenting on move, Minister Harris said,“I am very pleased to be in a position to announce its immediate effect. Naturally as we grow older, we require more medical help and assistance and from tomorrow, 390,000 of our older friends and family will pay less for their medicines”.

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Mullagh man dies in tragic accident

KILRUSH Gardai and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) have launched separate investigations into the tragic death of Mullagh man, George Morrissey, on Monday. It is understood that the deceased man, who was in his 70s, was working in a building, next to his house, when part of a mini digger fell on him. Three units of Kilrush fire service, along with Gardai and an ambulance, attended the scene. Mr Morrissey was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. A postmortem examination is to take place at University Hosptial Limerick.

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Law Society questions on radon gas

The Law Society of Ireland’s decision to include three questions relating to radon gas in their 2017 Conditions of Sale document has been welcomed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas linked to lung cancer. It is formed in the ground by the radioactive decay of uranium which is present in all rocks and soils. Radon is an invisible gas with no smell or taste, therefore it can only be measured with special detectors. “We are really pleased to have radon gas highlighted in this manner” said Stephanie Long, senior scientist with the EPA. “We have been campaigning for radon to be considered when homes are bought and sold for some time. Radon is a serious public health issue so raising the question of radon when a home is being sold is an important step in reducing the risk. Radon is linked to lung cancer and the risk of this cancer can be significant …

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Ease up on the accelerator

WITH quite a number of road deaths since the beginning of the new year, new research from AA Ireland has revealed that some Irish motorists are still too heavy on the accelerator. In an AA Motor Insurance survey, 21.07% of more than 7,000 admitted that they had broken the speed limit within the past month. Meanwhile, a further 8.76% and 10.13% admitted to speeding within the past 6 months and within the last year respectively. Despite the increase in traffic on Irish roads, there was some positive news as the survey found that over a third of motorists, 35.06%, have never broken the speed limit. However, male drivers were significantly more likely to have broken the speed limit while driving, with just 28.11% stating they had never sped compared to 40.08% of women. Over a quarter of male drivers surveyed admitted to breaking the limit within the past month, almost 8% higher than the number of female motorists who had …

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An insight into teen gambling

THREE of the organisers of a teenage gambling awareness workshop in Ennis last week have told The Clare Champion that it is a significant issue for some young people. The gambling awareness seminar at Coláiste Muire involved interactive, peer-led workshops, which were designed by the school’s transition-year class. Among the guest speakers were Barry Grant, CEO of Problem Gambling Ireland, and addiction counsellor Justin Campbell. Shona Hale, Niamh McHugh and Rachel Kennedy, all of whom are transition-year students, played a central role in organising the event. As part of the project, Niamh interviewed a teenage girl with a gambling problem. “You wouldn’t think this girl had this problem. She gambled on online poker. She told us it all started with innocent slot machines. She was like, ‘if you know how to play it properly, you’re obviously going to win’. That’s what she said. She was gambling on slot machines, then internet slot machines and then online poker. “She made a …

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