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Clashes, lockdowns and a state of fear in Richard’s raw account of pandemic

Clare-raised reporter for Virgin Media News Richard Chambers speaks to Owen Ryan about his book on Ireland’s response to the pandemic from the back room battles to the frontline heroes CERTAIN to be among the bestsellers this Christmas, Richard Chambers’ A State of Emergency goes through the Irish experience of Covid-19, drawing on interviews with Taoisigh and high ranking ministers, members of NPHET, front line workers and the bereaved, among others. Something of a celebrity journalist, the Virgin Media reporter spent most of his childhood in Lahinch and while Dublin-based now, is still a regular visitor to Clare. “Myself, my mother and my brother moved down from Belfast to Lahinch when I was abut four years of age. I was there up until my early teenage years. “I’ve always considered it to be my home county, you have those formative experiences, you fall in love with the GAA, there’s the sea in Lahinch, you’ve all of those early memories.” Covid-19 …

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Water quality concerns to be tackled in new plan

DECLINING water quality across Clare will be addressed in a new draft plan for the management of river basins, councillors have been told.  An overview of the process of creating a new plan for the period 2022 to 2027 was presented at a meeting of the council’s committee on Physical Development last week.  Community Water Officer for the South West, Ruairí Ó Conchúir outlined how views are being sought across the county which will feed into a national plan for protecting Ireland’s water bodies. Outlining the situation in this county, Mr Ó Conchúir noted that the percentage of ‘high status’ waterways here have fallen from 14% to 3% between 2013 and 2018. In addition, the number of water bodies rated as being in poor condition also increased by a third since 2017 “We have seen improvements in the worst of the worst, and decline in the best of the best,” he said. He added that the biggest pressures on rivers …

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Conway appointed to Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) panel

CLARE Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway has been appointed to a panel within the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to promote political participation of people with disabilities. Senator Conway was officially appointed to the advisory panel of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) after impressing the panel with his commitment in encouraging people with disabilities to become involved in politics.  Senator Conway, who is the first visually impaired member of the Oireachtas, said, “As a life-long campaigner for equal opportunities and rights for those with disabilities, I am honoured to have been appointed to the ODIHR Advisory Panel on the Political Participation of Persons with Disabilities for a term of four years. “My role will involve providing advice, guidance and recommendations to ODIHR, and through ODIHR to the OSCE participating States, on matters related to the political participation of persons with disabilities. “The work includes the implementation of relevant OSCE commitments; legislation, policies …

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Missing Ennis man found safe and well

AN Ennis man who had been missing from his home for nearly a week has been found safe and well. Gardaí confirmed on Monday evening that 30 year old Jason Burcombe has been located. “An Garda Síochána would like to thank the media and the public for their assistance in his matter,” said a spokeperson. Jason had been missing from his home since Tuesday, November 23.

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Irish Water accused of throwing up roadblocks to development in Clare

IRISH Water has been accused of creating “a huge obstacle” to the development of rural Clare. At a meeting of the council’s committee on Physical Development, frustration was aired at the fact that the authority is striving to protect water quality while Irish Water is unable to provide critical infrastructure in some locations. Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy made her comments following a presentation from Ruairí Ó Conchúir of the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO). Mr Ó Conchúir outlined the pressures on waterways across the Mid-West region, after which the Fianna Fáil member asked him if he believed there is a policy problem when it comes to funding waste water treatment. Thanking Mr Ó Conchúir for his presentation, the Ennis member noted the recent criticism of Irish Water by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the discharge of raw sewage at a number of coastal locations. “I want your opinion on this,” she said. “Do you think a different approach needs …

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Ennis Musical Society is desperate for men!

Society ideal for those looking for love says chairperson as plea issued for male voices “WE need men”. That’s the message from the Ennis Musical Society who have put out a desperate plea for the men of county Clare to get involved in their upcoming show Legally Blonde. As if taking part in a fun show isn’t enough of an incentive, chairperson of the society Rachael Culligan reveals that the society is the ideal place to be for those looking for love. She describes the group as “almost the Tinder of Ennis” with many couples meeting and falling in love after joining. “It’s kind of a wonderful dating service I would say,” she laughs. The Ennis Musical Society are holding auditions for the show in January, and Rachael is urging men to put themselves forward. Auditions had been scheduled to take place this weekend, however the society have decided to pause those plans due to Covid-19 and they are instead …

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McCourt: ‘Capitalism is under fire around the world for good reason’

HE’S A self made multi-millionaire who is leading one of the country’s biggest infrastructure projects, but when one speaks to David McCourt it’s apparent he’s not solely interested in the issues faced by the 1%. Mr McCourt is chairman of National Broadband Ireland (NBI) and when he talks about connecting the country, it’s very clear that he’s interested in its potential for redressing rural-urban imbalance, taking the sting out of the runaway property market, and saving villages from a death spiral. The Tradaree building in Newmarket on Fergus hosted a board meeting of NBI last week, and Mr McCourt said he wanted to give a message to those attending. “This is to demonstrate to my board that everything needs to be rethought. We’ll have our board dinner in Meals on Wheels, which will be transformed for the night. It’ll be a physical representation of how everything needs to be rethought. “Meals on Wheels are rethinking food waste, a high percentage …

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Call to drive on with Killaloe Ballina plan

AN ambitious plan for the twin lakeside towns of Killaloe and Ballina was adopted at the November meeting of local councillors, paving the way for a range of enhancement works. The Killaloe and Ballina Town Enhancement and Mobility Plan, (TEMP) outlines a number of key projects for both sides of the Shannon, including future pedestrianisation of the old bridge once the new bridge and bypass are completed. Measures to boost walking and cycling are outlined as well as actions to connect the flow of traffic to the bypass, reducing the number of vehicles in the centre of the two towns. The drafting of the plan involved extensive public consultation and cooperation, over the course over over a year, between the local authorities in Clare and Tipperary. The blueprint was warmly welcomed by Councillor Tony O’Brien who commended senior planner Brian McCarthy and the Killaloe Municipal District team. “This is simply a fantastic plan, I have been saying that the greatest …

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