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Environment

Have your say on water quality issues in Clare

VIEWS are being sought on measures to improve water quality in Clare, with two public meetings taking place online this week. On Tuesday, February 15, the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) meeting will focus on the Shannon, Killaloe and Ennis Municipal Districts. The meeting will cover the following catchments Lower Shannon, Lough Derg & Fergus Catchments. A meeting on Thursday evening will focus on the West Clare Municipal District and will cover the following catchments the Inagh River, Shannon Estuary and the Malbay catchment. The meetings will also look at the draft River Basin Management Plan (2022-2027). This blueprint sets out the environmental objectives to protect and restore rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters together with the actions and measures required to ensure those objectives are achieved. The online public consultation meetings offer an opportunity for local people to input into the draft plan, to make a submission and to get involved in helping to protect and restore local water …

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Clare senator hails ‘game-changing’ retrofit scheme

CLARE’S Green Senator has described the new national retrofitting scheme as a “game changer” for those living in fuel poverty, writes Fiona McGarry. Róisín Garvey told The Champion the issue prompted her to enter politics in the first place, after her own personal experiences as a young mother. On Tuesday, the Cabinet approved a scheme that aims to retrofit 500,000 homes by the end of the decade. Launching the scheme, the Green Party leader said the scheme would help reduce the cost of living, particularly heating bills. The programme would see up to 80% of the cost of smaller insulation works met by the State. “When I lived in a house in Ennistymon with my young son, I couldn’t afford to put the heat on,” she told The Champion. “When I told the landlord, he pumped the walls and insulated the attic and we were never cold again. That was a game changer. This scheme is one of the reasons …

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Four councillors added to retention file for infill near Clare SAC

FOUR Ennis councillors are included as public representatives on a planning application seeking permission for an unauthorised infill development near a Special Area of Conservation on the outskirts of Ennis. Brendan Keane has lodged a planning application with Clare County Council seeking retention permission for the recently constructed replacement fence and the infilling works to the site at the rear of Ennis Abattoir, Tulla Road, Ennis. Councillor Mary Howard, Councillor Mark Nestor, Councillor Clare Colleran-Molloy and Councillor Pat Daly wrote to the council asking to include them as public representatives on the file. Councillor Colleran-Molloy stated, “it is my understanding that support for this appeal lies in the fact there was need for the works to protect the boundary fence and to allow trucks to turn.” Councillor Nestor said he would like to make representations on behalf of the applicant and hoped this representation would be taken into consideration when a decision is being made. Councillor Howard outlined she would …

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Flynn: Ennis air quality warnings needed to protect vulnerable

POOR air quality events in Ennis are driving trolley numbers up at Limerick’s A&E an Ennis councillor has said. Councillor Johnny Flynn called for “urgent action” to be taken on what he describes as a “human health and environmental hazard”. Councillor Flynn was speaking at the monthly meeting of the Ennis Municipal District where he renewed calls for a Clean Air Strategy for the county capital in the wake of “concerning ongoing poor air quality results for Ennis from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)”. He said he has become “frustrated” with the ongoing issue. Councillor Flynn pointed out that Ennis and Clare rely on the only Level 3 hospital in the region for 24 hour A&E in Limerick, and outlined that studies have shown that poor air quality has a “huge impact” on hospital admissions. The councillor welcomed plans to install a number of new sulphur dioxide monitors in Ennis. However, he insisted that more is needed, “so people can …

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Clare must be front and centre for wind power, say councillors

IRELAND finds itself in a prime position to be a global leader in climate action, and that position may find its beginning off the coast of Clare, writes Conor Colhessy. That’s according to Councillor Joe Killeen who pointed out the combination of west coast wind and Moneypoint infrastructure that puts Clare in a leading position. The European Union aims to be climate-neutral by 2050, becoming an economy with net-zero greenhouse gases, an objective at the heart of the European Green Deal. In order to substitute the use of fossil fuels, the EU proposes to use its own natural resources instead – the west coast of Ireland records the highest wind speeds in the entire Union. Councillor Killeen told the recent west Clare municipal district meeting: “This isn’t a competition with the east coast of Ireland, but obviously it is. We do have the one huge advantage in that we have a link from Moneypoint to all parts of Ireland for …

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Postcards for the hedge – how’s she cuttin’?

MORE than 130 landowners in the Killaloe Municipal District have been contacted and reminded about their obligations to maintain hedges while the season is open until the end of February. The figure was revealed at last week’s meeting of the district committee, on foot of a motion from Councillor Pat Burke. The Whitegate member sought an update after raising the issue previously last November. There was widespread support when Councillor Burke raised the matter and told the meeting that drivers, particularly those in high-sided vehicles, were losing windscreens and wing mirrors on a regular basis.  In a written response to Councillor Burke, Niamh Madden, Senior Executive Engineer, said many landowners had complied with correspondence from the authority, but that a number of them had not.  “Between September 2021 and December 2021, one hundred and thirty five letters have been sent by the Killaloe Municipal District to land owners/occupiers outlining their obligations under under S70 of the Roads Act 1993 and …

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Environment minister to visit Clare next week

Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan TD will visit Clare next week. On Thursday, February 10, Minister Ryan will attend ‘In conversation on Climate’, a public event for the people of Clare, hosted by Clare Green Party Senator Róisín Garvey. This is a free and public event, beginning at 8.30pm in The Old Ground Hotel. Everyone is welcome to attend and questions will be taken from the audience. On Friday Minister Ryan will give a Climate Action Plan briefing to county councillors in the Council Chamber. In addition, he will join the Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Cíosóg Walking bus, visit public realm in Ennis and a social housing retrofit project and a visit to Shannon and the airport. Senator Garvey said, “It is great that my Green Party colleague Minister Eamon Ryan, the Minister for Climate, is taking the time to speak to Clare councillors on the Climate Action Plan. “In fact, he hopes to attend every council chamber in …

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Coastal erosion and flood works advancing in Clare

COUNCIL works to mitigate coastal erosion and flood management were outlined to members at a recent meeting of West Clare Municipal District, writes Conor Clohessy. From coastal erosion to flood management, the local authority outlined a range of plans for the creation of safer coasts and floodplains all around the regions of West and North Clare. Firstly, schemes through the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme are close to being carried out county-wide, according to Clare County Council’s chief engineer Seán Lenihan. In a statement at the West Clare Municipal District meeting on January 18, Lenihan was asked to provide details on the progression of these schemes by Cllr Gabriel Keating. Mr Lenihan thanked many of the councillors who were involved in acquiring agreement from landowners in Clonahinshee, where plans for a flood relief scheme have been in place for quite some time and had proven problematic due to said landowners not being local and appearing otherwise unavailable. …

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