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Recruitment embargo making council workers ‘extinct’

THE embargo on recruiting staff is being used as a means to deplete Clare County Council’s ability to deliver services and “to make the council worker extinct”, it was claimed at this week’s meeting of the local authority.Councillor Gerry Flynn put forward a motion asking for an explanation regarding “the rationale behind the employment of outside contractors to carry out improvements to wastewater and water schemes, in spite of the fact that Clare County Council have directly employed staff in this area”.In his written reply to the motion, director of services Ger Dollard divided the response into four sections.In relation to the water services investment programme works and other works of similar size and nature, he stated, “The size and nature of these works mean that the option of direct labour is not realistic. Each such project requires a major concentration of resources over a relatively short period of time, which is generally the way that contractors are geared to …

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€5,000 reward for new talent in county

COME on, give it your best shot. You could be Clare’s next big entertainment act. Just in case you’re shy about going on stage, there’s the matter of a €5,000 prize for the winner of Clare’s Got Talent 2012, which has been put up by St Francis Credit Union in Ennis.Presented by Clare FM, the competition will culminate with the finalists performing in Glór on March 24.Clare FM general manager Susan Murphy said everybody needs something to give them a lift at the start of the new year.“Following the success of Clare’s Got Talent in 2010, we are delighted to bring the competition back. It will definitely provide the county with the perfect feel-good tonic. It is the only event in the county that provides a platform for new and often unseen talent to shine. “We were genuinely amazed at the quality of the talent we saw in 2010, so we cannot wait to see the up-and-coming performers this year. …

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Scaffolding raises ‘Fawlty’ argument

Clare county manager Tom Coughlan has refuted suggestions the council’s headquarters is akin to “Fawlty Towers” because of the amount of scaffolding being used during roof repairs, costing an estimated €131,000.In fact, Mr Coughlan has insisted the €25 million Áras Contae an Chláir is a very impressive building, which has won a number of awards, and could in no way be compared with the infamous television sitcom.Councillor PJ Kelly made the claim after questioning if the council could be left footing the bill for the repairs after the contractor, Michael McNamara and Co, went into receivership in November 2010.Councillor Patricia McCarthy criticised the use of the “Fawlty Towers” description of the council headquarters, while Councillor Gabriel Keating urged Councillor Kelly to withdraw this statement.However, Councillor Kelly stuck to his guns insisting there is a public perception that Arás Contae and Chlair is akin to the famous sitcom hostelry because of all the scaffolding and that people are wondering is the …

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Voting machines go on sale

Following Wednesday’s ­Govern-ment meeting, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, announced plans for the disposal of the State’s 7,500 electronic voting equipment.A request for tenders is to be published before the end of January seeking proposals for either the purchase of the equipment or for its disposal through a process of recovery as waste, consistent with environmental and other obligations.“I want to finally draw a line under the electronic voting project and also see that the equipment is disposed of properly. €54.756 million has been wasted on the project to date and every effort must be made now to sell the equipment and get as much of these costs back as is possible in the ­circumstances,” Minister Hogan said. “The market is to be tested to see if there are any interested parties that may want to buy the machines. While being optimistic, we also need to be realistic. It is possible that no reasonable …

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