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Clare’s shifting political landscape

FIVE years ago, Fianna Fáil was in meltdown and the grassroots membership in Clare in open revolt. Bedevilled by ongoing controversy and the country in financial crisis, such political embarrassment was always going to stimulate a ballot box backlash, and it did. The political turmoil presented a window of opportunity for Fine Gael to make political gains, and they did. For the first time since the formation of the state, Fine Gael became the controlling party in Clare County Council holding 12 of the 32 seats, one more then their long-standing rivals. Fianna Fáil paid a high price for the economic hardship they foisted on the nation through poor judgement calls and downright bad management. Their vote in Clare dropped to an all-time low of just 35.5%, down almost 15% from the 1999 elections. Conversely, Fine Gael’s stock rose. Their first preference vote jumped from 26.66% in 1999, when they held eight seats, to the 2009 level of 34.2%. Clare’s …

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Taking the mystery out of PR voting

IN Ireland, the system of voting in all elections, Dáil, Seanad, Presidential, European and Local, is proportional representation, with a single transferable vote in multi-seat constituencies (three, four and five-seat constituencies at Dáil elections). Hopefully, this guide, compliments of the Citizens Information Bureau, will be a help in tracking what happens on election day and at the count the following day. The ballot paper Proportional representation means, as a voter, you can indicate your first and subsequent choices for the candidates on the ballot paper. The names of the candidates will appear in alphabetical order on the ballot paper, together with their photographs and their party emblem (if they wish). Voting by proportional representation You indicate your first choice by writing 1 opposite your first choice and 2 opposite your second choice, 3 opposite your third choice and so on. You may stop marking your paper after 1, or any subsequent preference, or you may go right down the ballot …

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Financial foundation laid for Rock Road amenity

IN one of the final acts of Ennis Town Council, funding has been arranged for an amenity scheme for the Rocky Road and water-based leisure facilities at Ballyalla, both a couple of miles on either side of the town. The council, in its last financial statement, has recommended that credits available in its current account be assigned to a number of areas, including specific funding of €22,697 for the Rocky Road and €25,765 for Ballyalla. The statement recommends that development contributions paid and due for recreation and amenity projects be assigned to recreation and amenity improvements, open space redevelopment and development at Ballyalla. The allocation of funding to the Rocky Road and Ballyalla was welcomed by all councillors. Other recommendations in the annual financial statement include that tenant purchase redemptions be assigned to improvement works on the housing stock of Ennis Town Council; that development contributions paid and due for car parks be assigned to the acquisition and improvement of …

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Education Minister opens new “Nash”

THE Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn this Friday officially opened a new school for Ennis National School. The project cost in the region of €6.7 million. The school, at Ashrine, Kilrush Road in Ennis, was provided with a grant from the department and was further funded by the board of management to the tune of approximately €300,0000 to provie a larger general purpose room, changing rooms and the installation of a playing pitch. It is about a mile from the old “Nash” at the Carmody Street/Kilrush Road junjction. Speaking at the school, Minister Quinn said, “I would like to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to aboard of management, staff, parents and the wider community are all to be congratulated for their hard work which made this new school possible”. Ennis National School has 594 pupils and the new building is a two storey, 32 classroom school, with large hall, changing rooms, and ancillary accommodation on …

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Distributor road on political route

THE controversial €120 million Limerick Northern Distributor Road has become a key issue in the local election campaign in the Shannon area. Councillor Cathal Crowe has been acccused of “playing politics”, following his request for all candidates in the area to outline their stance concerning the issue. The charge was levelled by Councillor Gerry Flynn, after a local opposition lobby group invited councillors and candidates to outline their views at a public meeting in Parteen. His call for a pre-election commitment conicides with a pledge from Limerick Northern Distributor Road Concerned Residents secretary, Zinaida Nourreddine, to chain herself to railings or equipment to obstruct construction work when they reach the road she lives on. Ms Nourredine said she was prepared to be sent to jail for civil disobedienc,e to make the authorities sit up and listen to their opposition to this road. According to Councillor Crowe, who is opposed to the road, the families affected by the proposed road deserve …

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Daniel O’Connell Commemoration in Glasnevin

THE  annual commemoration of Daniel O Connell, the Liberator, will take place on Sunday at 12 noon at Glasnevin Cemetery. Along with the representative of the Government, Minister Jimmy Deenihan, the attendance will  include the Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn, members of the O’Connell family and pupils of the O’Connell Schools. Daniel O’Connell, a former Lord Mayor of Dublin, who was also elected as an MP for Clare, was the foremost constitutional parliamentarian of his age. His mass peaceful mobilisation of the Irish people into the parliamentary process, resulting in Catholic Emancipation, was a template followed by many in later years. Not alone was he a Liberator to his people, he was a leading figure in the development of democracy and human rights in Europe. The commemoration marks the 167th anniversary of the death of Daniel O’Connell in Genoa in May 1847. The O’Connell Monument and Round Tower have been refurbished in recent years as part of the continuing …

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Man admittted grooming child on Facebook

A MAN who used  Facebook to make contact with a young boy, who he admitted planning to commit a sex act with, has been sentenced at Ennis Circuit Court for the possession and distribution of child pornography. The 33-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested by gardaí on August 28 of last year. Detective Garda TJ Molloy told the court that the accused had planned to travel to Cork to meet the boy, who he believed to be about 10 years of age, the following day. The man appeared before Judge Carroll Moran at Ennis Circuit Court, where he pleaded guilty to knowingly distributing child pornography for the purpose of sale, distribution, exportation or show on dates between August 7 and August 28, 2013, at a Clare address. He also pleaded guilty to the possession of child pornography, namely naked male photographs, showing genitalia, at a Clare address on August 28, 2013. Detective Garda Molloy told …

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Trump considering US presidency race

By Peter O’Connell IT may be local and European election time here, but Donald Trump has higher aspirations. He has not ruled out running for the US Presidency in 2016. “I have great love for our country. Our country has not been doing very well. Our leadership has not been extremely strong, to put it mildly. So we’ll see what happens. We have very big elections coming up in November and then after that people will be making decisions. So we’ll see what happens. But the elections in November will be very, very interesting,” he said at the press conference. Donald Trump said that he intends to work closely with local people. He claimed that he was warmly welcomed in Aberdeen and pointed to that as an example of how local communities embrace him. “We’ll be working very strongly with the community. I always do. One of the little known secrets is that, in Aberdeen as an example, they did …

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