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Flooding at Ballycar is disrupting rail services.

Ennis-Limerick rail line closed for at least six weeks

AS so often happens when there is heavy rain, the railway line between Ennis and Limerick is closed due to flooding and Iarnród Éireann have said it will be at least six weeks until it reopens. In the interim Iarnród Éireann say there will be bus transfers operating, at scheduled train times, and they will also serve Sixmilebridge. Train services between Ennis and Galway will remain as normal. In a statement on Tuesday Iarnród Éireann said; “The line has flooded following a significant increase in water levels at Ballycar Lough due to the recent sustained heavy rainfall, and the slow draining nature of the karst landscape in the area.   Should the recent rainfall patterns persist, this will extend significantly the duration of the closure of the rail line.” The statement also said; “Iarnród Éireann had raised the track level by 60 centimetres at Ballycar in 2003 to mitigate against the effects of flooding.  However, the current flood levels are at …

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Shannon Airport seeks retail partner

By Owen Ryan SHANNON Airport has launched a tender process to secure a partner to operate its historic travel retail outlet. The Shannon Group has also announced that it will rename its store Shannon Duty Free, the original name for the travel retail offering at Shannon, which was the global birthplace of duty free. It will happen when the current service agreement for the space, which has been known as The Loop for the last few years, winds up in June. The shop is currently operated by Shannon Airport Authority, under a transitional agreement with Aer Rianta International, following Shannon’s separation from the State Airport’s group at the start of 2013. However Shannon Group is now seeking a joint venture partner for the travel retail business and it formally advertised on the Moodies Report, the information website for the global travel retail sector. Announcing the decision to seek a joint venture, Shannon Group CEO Neil Pakey said; “In keeping with …

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The scene at Bunratty.

Narrow escape in Bunratty

ONE employee of the Creamery Bar and Restaurant  in Bunratty had a lucky escape on Wednesday afternoon after a tree fell onto her SUV as she was just about to get into it. Speaking on Thursday afternoon, Garzyna Witkowska, who is from Poland and lives in Ennis, said, “It was on Wednesday at about three o’clock, it was parked beside my workplace. I looked out the window and saw trees falling, so I started running out to move my car from the back to the front, where there are no trees. My keys were stuck in my pocket and that delayed me and that’s why I survived.” She was just seconds from the vehicle when the tree fell on it and  said that having a number of keyrings in her pocket was all that had delayed her. The vehicle was a relatively new Dacia Duster but she knew things could have been far worse. “It’s only nine months old, nearly …

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Trumps get down to business in Doonbeg

THE Trump family had quite an adventure travelling to Doonbeg in West Clare. Flights from London and Birmingham were cancelled as the storm took hold on Wednesday. Eventually, the Trump brothers, Eric and Don, left England on a flight for Dublin, which was subsequently diverted to Shannon. So after all of that, they reached Doonbeg, ironically ahead of their re-arranged schedule, on Wednesday night. “It was a journey to say the least,” Eric Trump told The Clare Champion early on Thursday morning, at the rebranded Trump International Golf Links Ireland club in Doonbeg. “A couple of flights cancelled, a lot of storms, a lot of diversions and a lot of waiting in airports. But it’s obviously great to be here,” he added. Ahead of an array of meetings with Doonbeg management, Eric Trump was keen to stress that the family’s attention will be firmly on Doonbeg in the coming months. “A significant focus. We have a lot of golf clubs, …

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Cats will not shirk from the Banner Roar

THE All-Ireland champions against the National Hurling League champions. It couldn’t be a better pairing for the opening round of the 2014 league. Throughout the past forty years, Clare and Kilkenny have provided some memorable contests in the league. Three successive final meetings in the ’70s led to capacity attendances at Semple Stadium, where Kilkenny were winners in 1976, after a replay, but Clare were crowned champions in 1977 and 1978. In Ger Loughnane’s first year as senior manager in 1995, Clare suffered a heavy loss to the Noresiders in the league decider at Thurles, after which the Clare boss boldly predicted that his charges would win the Munster championship. Not too many outside of the camp believed him at the time, but he and Clare delivered as Munster and All-Ireland success started Clare on the road to the most successful period ever for Clare hurling during which they won three Munster and two All Ireland senior titles. Meetings of …

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County Council workers cleaning up fallen trees at Kincora Park Ennis.

No power or water

AFTER the storm comes the damage assessment and the clean up in County Clare. Hurricane-like conditions, which swept through the county on Wednesday left a trail of destruction in its wake. Winds gusting up to 160kph brought down power supply lines, uprooted trees, leading to numerous road closures, while slates were ripped from houses and property damaged. At the height of Storm Darwin, the ESB estimated that as many as 20,000 homes and businesses were left without power across the county. The south east of the county was worst affected with power outages reported in Killaloe,  Cratloe, Sixmilebridge, Newmarket, Clarecastle, Tulla, Ennis and other pockets of the county. Despite the fact that ESB Networks crews have been out in force trying to restore power supplies, many of those areas still remain without power. The problems facing many home owners have also been exacerbated, as the knock-on effect of outages was the lack of water supply. Many householders could have to …

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Storm repair costs rising

BEFORE even a puff of wind blew on Wednesday, Clare manager, Tom Coughlan had told a meeting of Clare County Council  that almost €37m was required for repairs following Storms Catherine and Bridget. The latest damage means there will be a further revision of the repair bill. On Monday, Mr Tom Coughlan said the cash-strapped local authority is spending money it hasn’t really got on repairs. A report prepared by senior engineer, Tom Tiernan outlined the amounts needed for works in various parts of the county. According to their figures, €6,064,689 is required for Lahinch, the largest sum for any single area. The townland of Cloughaninchy in Quilty requires a massive €4.716 million, while just shy of €3.5 million is needed for both Kilbaha and New Quay. Seven figure sums are also required for Doolin, Liscannor, Carrowmore,Whitestrand/Doonmore in Doonbeg, Kilcredaun Irish College and Carrowdotia/N67 Moneypoint. Overall, 42 areas are identified, requiring a combined total of €33,455,713 and it estimates a contingency …

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Storm leaves trail of destruction

TENS of thousands of people in Clare were affected by hurricane-force winds which battered the county on Wednesday in the most recent storm to hit the country. More than 20,000 homes and businesses were without power on Wednesday evening with ESB Networks stating that this situation and that continues to be the case on this Thursday.  In fact some homes, farms and businesses may be without electricity and water for at least another day. Fallen trees blocked roads in many areas, buildings were damaged and a number of road accidents, including two incidents of trucks jack-knifing, took place as extremely high winds swept through the county from early afternoon. Shannon Airport was closed for much of the day due to high winds. A plane parked there was blown over on its side but was empty at the time and no one was injured in the incident. Met Eireann’s radar at Shannon Airport was also damaged by high winds. Clare County …

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