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Donna takes SF seat

LAST Friday evening Sinn Féin formally chose Donna McGettigan to fill the County Council seat left vacant following the death of Mike McKee. She was the only person nominated, and the nomination came from Mike’s wife, Eileen. On Monday Donna met with The Clare Champion and spoke about her own background and her views on her new role, as one of two Shannon based county councillors, and Sinn Féin’s only representative in Clare. She left Belfast as a young child, with several of her male relatives interned in Long Kesh and her own granny on the run from the authorities in the North. “She was a strong woman. So that’s where I obviously picked that up from,” Donna laughs. The Belfast they left in the 1970s was a very violent place, with frequent bombings and shootings. “When we weren’t down herethat long, my Mum’s Granny, our Great Granny, had died in her sleep. And me uncle came to pick us …

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What way will former Harty voters go?

THE absence of Dr Michael Harty from the race poses an interesting question for those trying to read the tea leaves ahead of Clare going to the polls. In 2016, Dr Harty took 8,629 first preferences, 15% of the overall vote, a fantastic performance for a first-time candidate after a relatively short campaign, and he won the second seat. From Kilmihil and standing on the No Doctor No Village platform, it might have been expected that he would take his support from West Clare but people from different parts of the county also got behind him. For instance, tallies show that he took 230 votes from the boxes at the Ennis Town Council offices, about as urban as Clare gets, and a place where doctors are very accessible to voters. He took 76 first preferences from boxes at Quin National School, while tallies at Toonagh National School show he took 95 first preferences, more than any other candidate. Just up …

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Feel the Burn, Run the Burren

WHEN Frank McCormack first saw the Burren at the age of 21, the young stone mason never dreamed he would make his home there for the next four decades. “I was gobsmacked,” the Kildare native told The Clare Champion. “I had never seen anything like it, the beauty and the starkness of the landscape took my breath away.” Four years after that encounter, Frank had bought a small farm close to Tubber and he and his wife Mary started a new life, balancing suckler farming with the running of their fledgling business, Irish Natural Stone. Now, decades later, as the father of eight and a highly-regarded sculptor and stone mason, Frank is part of a team embarking on an ambitious plan to give others that same experience of the Burren as a wild and inspirational landscape. Together with another force of nature, Hector Ó Eochagáin, and Galway-based coach and fitness expert Tom French, Frank is preparing to welcome hundreds of …

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Black Jeep of Interest to Gardaí in Sixmilebridge shooting

GARDAÍ in Shannon have said they are particularly interested in speaking with the driver of a “black-type Jeep or SUV” seen around the area of Sixmilebridge last night before the shooting of two men took place. The men, aged 21 and 66, were taken to UHL for treatment having suffered gunshots wounds outside a public house around 12:20am last night. Their injuries are not thought to be life threatening. Gardaí have appealed to anyone who may have seen this jeep or may have dashcam footage of such a vehicle captured around Sixmilebridge to contact Shannon Garda Station at 061-365900 or the Garda Confidential Line at 1800 666.    

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‘Shock and Disbelief’ at Sixmilebridge Shooting

THE shooting of two men last outside a pub in Sixmilebridge last night has brought “a sense of shock and disbelief’ to the village, according to TD Joe Carey. Two men, aged 21 and 66, were treated on site for apparent gunshot wounds, before being removed by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick for further treatment. Their injuries are not thought be life threatening. Gardaí have made no arrests and are appealing for information. The scene has been preserved for a forensic examination to take place and an incident room has been established at Shannon Garda Station. Deputy Carey has said the local community are outraged that something like this could happen in their village. He said he has been in contact with local councillors and they will aid the case in any way possible. He also joined the garda call for anyone with information to come forward. Anyone with information is asked to contact Shannon Garda Station 061-365900 or the …

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Another Independent Candidate Enters the General Election Race in Clare

ANOTHER Independent candidate is set to enter the General Election race in Clare. Ennis native Trudy Leyden has declared her intention to contest the election, putting race relations at the top of her list of priorities. Ms Leyden who has been deeply involved with Fine Gael as a party activist has said that while she would have loved the chance to run for the party, she understands there no places left on the ticket this time around. “I understand that there’s nobody ready to retire within Fine Gael, but I can’t put my life on hold while I wait for a place,” Ms Leyden said. “I’ve made it clear to Fine Gael over the years that I was ready to run, but the ticket was decided and once that happens, it’s very difficult to get a look in.” Ms Leyden said that first-hand experience of the decline of race relations in France and the rise of the far right were …

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Mills Man Spends a Week Battling Australian Inferno

INTENSE wildfires which continue to threaten the lives and livelihoods of thousands across Australia have prompted an O’Callaghan’s Mills man to give his time and expertise to the relief efforts. Trevor Lehinhan from Coolnahilla, who has been living in Brisbane for the last six years, has been involved in the voluntary fire fighting services for much of that time, after being drafted in by his father-in-law, Bill Wickman, the local fire warden in the remote Carney’s Creek area. Neither man has seen fires of the scale and ferocity of recent months where soaring temperatures and an ongoing severe drought have turned the landscape into a tinder box. Shortly before returning to Ireland for a family wedding, Trevor spent seven days straight fighting a blaze that threatened thousands of acres of farmland and bush. “I had been volunteering on and off since early October,” Trevor explained, “but the last fire I was involved in fighting was so big that I took …

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Over 3,000 West Clare ESB Customers Without Power

STORM Brendan has left over 3,000 ESB customers in West Clare without power this afternoon. The ESB Powercheck system is showing widespread outages in West Clare are being measured from the Tullabrack HV substation as well as the Ennistymon equivalent. The ESB say they are working to repair the faults and will restore power to those affected as quickly as possible. There is an unknown estimated restore time as Storm Brendan passed through Clare with little damage this afternoon, but premises in many areas, such as Ennistymon and Miltown Malbay, are without power.

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