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Fewer than 30 Clare emergency calls received inappropriate response in two-year period

THE number of emergency calls made to Clare Gardaí that didn’t receive an appropriate response is less than 30, according to a garda chief. Garda Commissioner Drew Harris recently publicly apologised to domestic violence victims who made emergency calls for help but did not receive the standard of service from gardaí that they required and to which they were entitled. Mr Harris issued the apology at a Policing Authority meeting after a garda inquiry into how 999 calls were dealt with found that more than 600 emergency calls in 2019 and 2020 were cancelled before there was an appropriate policing response. The inquiry is examining more than 3,000 cancelled 999 calls to gardaí about domestic violence, missing persons or health issues. Superintendent Sean Colleran outlined the number of reported breaches of a barring order, safety order, protection order, which fell from 89 for the first eight months of 2020 to 60 for the same period this year – a percentage …

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‘Broken hearts convention’ in Clare village breached Covid rules

A SO-CALLED “convention of people with broken hearts” met up for a late night rendezvous in a parked car in the west Clare village of Kilmihil during a Covid-19 lockdown, a court has heard. At Kilrush District Court, Garda Niall Donegan stated that when he approached the car and reminded the three occupants of the Covid-19 travel restrictions, driver, Finbar O’Gorman (27) replied that the three “were out of bad relationships and were meeting up for a chat”. Garda Donegan stated that the two other occupants of the car were female and the car was parked up in the forecourt of a filling station in Kilmilil at 12.05am on February 18 last. A Covid-19 travel ban outside 5km was in place at the time and Mr O’Gorman had driven 29km on the night from his home at Bruach na hAbhainn, Ennis, to meet his two friends in Kilmihil. Mr O’Gorman pleaded guilty to breaching the Covid-19 health regulations by being present in …

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Decision on Lufthansa’s Clare base by end of year

LUFTHANSA Technik Shannon has filed its annual report for 2020 which says a decision on the future of the company is likely before the end of the year, writes Owen Ryan. The report stated the outcome of a strategic review process in relation to restructuring options being considered “represents a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt over the ability of the company to continue as a going concern”. Outlining the 2020 performance, the report said, “Turnover for 2020 at €51.5 million was lower than 2019 at €74.2 million”. The company’s profit for the financial year was €1.145 million, compared to €1.896 million in 2019. “Average employee numbers were 505 in 2020, slightly up on the 2019 level of 476. Direct employee levels increased by 7% in 2020 compared to 2019. Administrative personnel levels also increased by 45 compared to 2019,” the report stated. Regarding the future it said, “The company is currently undergoing a strategic review under which a …

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Funding feeds into burgeoning outdoor dining scene in Ennis

FUNDING allocated to Clare County Council for the transformation of parts of Ennis to facilitate permanent outdoor dining “will add to the already stellar outdoor spaces that have sprung up around the town over the past few months”. That’s according to Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe who has welcomed the allocation of €186,875 to Clare County Council under the government’s Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme. Francis Street, Lower Parnell Street, Abbey Street Car Park and the Temple Gate Plaza are set to benefit from the funding announced under Fáilte Ireland’s Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme. “Businesses across Clare and the country have adapted hugely to deal with the outdoor dining necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Deputy Crowe. “It’s one of the very few positives of this pandemic that we, as a country, are now ramping up the dining options available to ourselves as citizens and also tourists. “The funding allocated to Ennis will add to the already stellar outdoor …

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Lobbyist for east Clare windfarm denies objecting to one in west

Group opposing windfarm in east Clare says public has been misinformed about potential dividend for residents, writes Dan Danaher A LOBBYIST promoting a controversial wind farm in East Clare has refuted a claim from a local group that he objected to a similar proposed renewable energy project in West Clare last year. The Fahybeg Windfarm Information Group (FWIG) has claimed that RWE Renewables Ireland representative Kieran O’Byrne’s name appeared on an official objection from Birdwatch Ireland against the proposed construction of eight wind turbines with a maximum overground to blade height of up to 574 feet on land about 6.5 kilometres east of Miltown Malbay. The group is also concerned that Mr O’Byrne was public relations officer for the Scientology “cult”, and has claimed that very little money will be allowed to be invested in certain sporting and community facilities under current draft government guidelines. The planning application by Slieveacurry Renewable Energy Development was subsequently withdrawn by the developers. A …

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Plans for €1.2bn Clare data centre on hold as Council seeks further information

A DECISION on planning permission for the construction of a €1.2 billion data centre campus in Ennis has been put on hold as Clare County Council has sought further information on the development. In an extensive 11-page correspondence with developers Art Data Centres Ltd, Clare County Council have stated, “It is considered that the information submitted with this application is insufficient to enable the planning authority make a complete planning assessment of the proposal.” The authority outlines all documentation submitted with the application has been considered and assessed including the Environmental Impact Assessment Report and the Natura Impact Statement. “In order to complete the assessment of the direct and indirect effects on the environment of the proposed development the planning authority requires the submission of the further information,” the planning authority said. Before making a decision on the plans further details on the project have been sought by the council under a number of headings including: potential project splitting; drainage, …

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Green light given to plans for new Aldi store in Ennis

PLANS for a second Aldi store in Ennis have been given the green light by Clare County Council despite opposition from local retailers. The council has granted planning permission, subject to 10 conditions, to Brian Lohan for a change of use from retail warehouse to a discount food store at the Westpoint Retail Park on the Kilrush Road. Assessing the proposal, planners with Clare County Council determined that the existing building “has been underutilised for some time and its redevelopment at this location would be positive and enhance the vibrancy of this particular part of the town”. Aldi have already confirmed their intention to open a new store in the retail park if planning permission was granted for the change of use. According to Aldi this new outlet will create 30 new permanent jobs at the store, and up to 50 construction jobs, with the aim of opening in late 2023. A number of local businesses had voiced concern about …

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Clare hurling manager’s press complaint upheld

THE Press Ombudsman and the Press Council of Ireland have upheld a complaint made by Clare hurling manager Brian Lohan regarding an article in the Irish Independent, writes Owen Ryan. Mr Lohan was not given an opportunity to comment prior to the publication of the article, which made a number of critical references to him. It was subsequently found that Principle 1 of the Code of Practice of the Press Council of Ireland had been breached, which states that in reporting news and information, the press shall strive at all times for truth and accuracy. In a summary of the matter published on the Press Council website it stated, “On the 6 July 2021, the Press Ombudsman upheld a complaint that the Irish Independent breached Principle 1 (Truth and Accuracy) of the Code of Practice of the Press Council of Ireland. “The Irish Independent published in its sports section an article about how, among other things, Covid-19 restrictions had led …

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