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Phoenix sisters connect through art

CLARE artists with disabilities are being encouraged to speak out and express themselves using a voice of their own as part of an international competition. Each year Phoenix Sister Cities, which includes Ennis, host a competition for artists with disabilities. The genesis of the competition is to offer recognition to artists who have gone beyond their disability and utilised their creative talents to promote global understanding of disabilities. Art and photography are submitted by local artists in Arizona and from Phoenix’s 10 sister cities around the world. For 2015, there were a number of entries from County Clare-based artists, as Ennis is twined with Phoenix since 1988. Of these entries, four were award-winners under the theme of ‘A Voice Of Our Own!’ Local woman Theresa Davoren came in third place in her category and she was also presented with a cheque for €150. Awards were also given to Chime Browne, James Hehir and Gerard Arthur. Councillor Mary Howard, deputy mayor …

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Fire sparks warning on electrical goods

The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) is warning consumers to be extremely careful when buying and using electrical products. It comes after a fire broke out in an apartment in Islandbridge, Dublin last night (Wednesday). A charger left on a bed overheated and burst into flames, causing extensive damage. “Everyone knows the rules of basic fire safety and indeed many look out for safety standards, such as the CE Mark, when buying electrical products. However, although the device may be manufactured to the correct safety standards, it can still become very dangerous, very quickly, if not used in the appropriate environment,” warned Pat Bracken, NSAI’s director of corporate services. “Electrical products like hair straighteners, hairdryers, laptops and phone chargers can be incredibly dangerous if left on beds or sofas. Although duvets and quilts often undergo flammability tests, accidents like this can still occur,” he added. Between 2005 and 2014, there have been 326 fatal fires in Ireland, claiming the …

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Scariff centenarian attributes longevity to enjoying life

A Scariff centenarian has attributed her longevity to enjoying life and avoiding stress as much as possible. Nellie Rodgers, Clonusker  recently received a letter from President Michael D Higgins and the statutory €2,540 cheque after turning 100. Still enjoying very good health, Nellie, who was born in New York on November 13, 1915, reads the newspaper every day and duly informs her son, Andrew and daughter-in-law, Geraldine, about all the main news at local and national level. According to Geraldine, Nellie’s advice for a long life is “not to worry too much, enjoy life and avoid stress”. Apart from a reduction in her hearing, Nellie has only been hospitalised twice – last April she fell and broke her hip when she was out weeding in the garden and she previously had a minor operation. Geraldine says her mother-in-law can still remember her boat journey from New York to Clare as if it only happened last week. She left New York …

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Water levels on the rise in Clonlara

Water levels on the Lower River Shannon at Springfield in Clonlara, have risen two inches following overnight rainfall and are now approximately 4-5 inches below the November 2009 peak level, which was reached on Saturday night last. Clare County Council says 8mm of rainfall during Wednesday evening and overnight has contributed to the rise in water levels but that further increases are not anticipated during today, Thursday. The council’s area staff, assisted by The Defence Forces, are continuing to provide support on the ground in Springfield, as well as assist in the transportation of residents of properties isolated by floodwaters. Meanwhile, the ESB confirmed that levels in  Lough Derg stabilised in the past 24 hours and that the flow of water through Parteen Weir will remain at 470 cumecs (cubic metres per second) today. The situation will be reviewed again tomorrow. The ESB warned that this level of water flow will continue to have associated flooding to land and property …

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Famous sherpas visit West Clare

THE world’s most prolific climbers are currently in Ireland speaking about their death-defying experiences in the Himalayas. Nepalese heroes Mingma Sherpa and Pasang Sherpa have travelled here to speak about their efforts to rebuild the renowned Rolwaling valley area since the devastating earthquake struck on April 25, 2015. They adressed an enthusiastic gathering at the Armada Hotel in Spanish Point on Saturday night last. The community have been working tirelessly to rebuild their village and their livelihoods and they are hoping to promote tourism in Nepal through Ascent Himalayas, Nepal Tourism Board and the Nepal Ireland Society. Tourism is the key back bone of Nepal’s economy and is a much needed source of foreign currencies, especially in the aftermath of the unprecedented natural disaster that crumbled the country’s economy and shattered the livelihoods of those living in the mountains. Climbing is currently changing dramatically in Nepal, with many sherpas setting up their own companies instead of working for western-based ones. …

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Samaritans answer more calls for help

THE local branch of the Samaritans is busier than it has ever been in its 33-year history. The Ennis and Clare Samaritans answered 52,376 calls in 12 months and details of the increase in the use of the Samaritans service throughout the country were revealed in the 2014-15 Impact Report covering the organisation’s work in Ireland. According to the report, more than 652,166 calls for help were answered by Samaritans volunteers across the country in the last year. The Ennis and Clare branch answered on average more than 140 calls a day. Calls to the Samaritans have gone up by a massive 60% since Samaritans launched a free to caller number 116-123 in March 2014. The launch of the free number is due to a partnership between the Samaritans, telecommunications service providers, the Government and the National Office for Suicide Prevention. Angharad Harding, director of the Ennis and Clare Samaritans, said, “The increase in calls show that many people in …

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Number of same-sex marriages to build slowly

2015’s referendum has made marriage possible for thousands of gay and lesbian people but it’s unlikely that there will be a surge of same-sex marriages in Clare in 2016. Lahinch hotelier Michael Vaughan said, “I think there’s certainly going to be an uptake but I would say it’s something that’s going to build slowly. So far, our experience is that a lot of people are seeking small intimate venues, unusual venues as well.” Mr Vaughan added, “I have colleagues who have gone into the market, not so much in Clare yet, but I know it’s something that will certainly add to the business of hotels. Personally speaking, I don’t think it’ll be a huge boom immediately; colleagues haven’t noticed that as yet.” Kilrush man Brian Sheehan, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), said there are reasons why there won’t be lots of gay couples marrying immediately. “We know that about 2,000 couples have had civil partnerships …

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Clare seeking a bigger slice of holiday market

The Holiday World Show 2016 at the RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin from Friday, January 22 to Sunday 24  will provide a forum for face-to-face interaction with over 1,000 travel and tourism professionals, representing over 50 countries. Clare exhibitors targeting the 30,000 expected attendees at this year’s Holiday World Show include the Aillwee Cave, Bunratty Castle Hotel, Clare Tourism, Doolin Cave, Doonbeg Community Development, Great National Hotels & Resorts, Shannon Ferries and Visit Ennis The RDS venue will be transformed into a hub of exotic, vibrant, multi-cultural activity; from the Americas to Asia, Europe to Africa, visitors can literally experience the locations on offer in a way that is not possible on the internet. A one-stop shop of inspiration and advice, the 2016 show is sure to broaden the horizons of those seeking their ideal break. Whether you’re seeking that once-in-alifetime trip, planning a well deserved family holiday or making plans for a romantic getaway, the Holiday World Show is the must-attend event of the year.

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