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Loughrea protest over small schools

Teachers and board of management members from rural schools throughout Clare will participate in another protest march in Loughrea this Saturday.They will be joined by their colleagues from, Galway and Roscommon to highlight the unfair treatment of small schools including Gaeltacht, Island and minority religions and overall Government plans for draconian education cuts.This protest will commence at the Old Railway Station at 2pm and proceed through the town to the Office of Minister of State at Department of Education, Ciarán Cannon, where a petition will be handed in at about 3pm.  Speaking at a recent community meeting, Sean McMahon, the Clare and Tipperary representative on the INTO national executive, warned current Government policy “will lead to the possible amalgamation/closure of many schools and will make it very difficult for others to survive”. He criticised the impact of the budget, particularly on schools of four or less class teachers. “In this, the 90th anniversary of independence, we are still not cherishing …

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Ennis to help pilot Irish language planning

Ennis is set to be one of three centres to take part in a pilot group to develop the Irish language. In an acknowledgement of the local efforts in promoting Irish, Minister of State with responsibility for the Gaeltacht, Dinny McGinley, will visit Clare this Thursday taking in the west and the county town and is expected to reveal more on the pilot project.Speaking on the visit, Minister McGinley said Clare has an important role to play in advancing the aims of the 20-year strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030. “As it already has a strong Irish speaking population, it is one of the areas with the potential to make substantial progress during the term of the strategy. The Irish language community in Ennis, along with their counterparts in Carlow and Clondalkin, will shortly participate in a focus group with officials from my department and Foras na Gaeilge. The aim of this focus group is to inform the development of …

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Voting rights for all citizens of Ireland

Irish people living abroad should of course have the right to vote in Presidential elections here. Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore started a new debate on this issue at the weekend when he said the matter was to be discussed at the all-party council on the Constitution.I would go further than merely giving Irish people living abroad the right to vote in Presidential elections here. I would extend the right to Irish people living in Northern Ireland and I look forward to the day when our fellow citizens in Belfast, Derry and other parts of the North can vote in Dáil elections.You could argue that people who do not pay their income tax here should not have the right to vote here but that would not be a valid argument. A lot of Irish people living here do not pay income tax here or any place else either because they cannot afford to pay it. The right to vote should not be …

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Workshop guide to gaining Irish citizenship

GETTING Irish citizenship is a milestone for emigrants and the Clare Immigrant Support Centre (CISC) has been involved in preparing a workshop on the matter, which will be given next week.CISC and Doras Luimní are jointly hosting the workshop entitled Practical Guide to Citizenship Procedure, which will take place on Tuesday night from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at Pery’s Hotel, Glentworth Street, Limerick.Orla Ní Eili of CISC said people applying would benefit from what’s on offer. “To apply for your citizenship in Ireland, you have to be here for a certain amount of years and fall into a certain category. It’s a very hard process and a lot of it has been quite unclear over the years, not very transparent. Now, there is a cost involved in applying so we’re trying to make sure that people apply with the best chance of success, by having everything that’s needed with all the details. There’s an application form that you fill and a …

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Garda clearance delay ‘not on’

THE delay in waiting for Garda clearance has been described as “not on” by a local councillor, with suggestions that university graduates looking for work could be used to clear the backlog.At this month’s meeting of Ennis Town Council, Councillor Paul O’Shea called on the local authority to urge the Minister for Justice to reduce the waiting time for Garda clearance for people wanting to take up voluntary and paid work throughout Ennis and the county to the same waiting period as in Northern Ireland.“People want to go to America and England and they have to have garda clearance but they could be waiting months. “At a recent meeting of the County Development Board I heard of one councillor whose daughter applied last October and, up to last week, she hadn’t got anything. This is not on when they can do it in Northern Ireland within two to three weeks. We have thousands of graduates, can they not be brought …

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Diabetes group talk

Diabetes Ireland Research Alliance (DIRA) in association with Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) are holding a type one diabetes research development meeting in The Greenhills Hotel, Limerick on Tuesday at 7.30pm. DIRA is a subsidiary group of Diabetes Ireland.Experts will provide information on the latest cutting-edge type one diabetes research and how to help find the cure. Type one diabetes is an auto-immune disease and tends to occur in childhood or early adult life. It always requires treatment with insulin therapy. It is not caused by lifestyle choices and cannot be prevented or cured.The development of an artificial pancreas is a long-sought-after system of insulin pumps and glucose sensors that deliver insulin to diabetics, mimicking the function of a real pancreas. While the current state of insulin replacement therapy is appreciated for its life-saving capability, the task of manually managing the blood sugar levels with insulin alone is arduous and inadequate for over 300 Clare children and adults with type …

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Councillors paid €916,311 in salaries and expenses

The overall bill of almost €1 million on basic pay, allowances and expenses paid to 34 Clare County Councillors [two changes were made after the Seanad elections] dropped by a 3.4% last year, despite huge cuts in salaries and overtime in the private sector.In 2010, Clare’s 32 county councillors were paid a total of €949,9651.80 to cover their representational allowance. This figure fell by €33,000 to €916,311 last year. The only real difference was in the number of councillors who were paid after Councillors Bill Slattery and Seán McLoughlin were co-opted to the council following the departure of Councillor Martin Conway and Tony Mulcahy on their election to the Seanad.As expected, Mayor of Clare, Councillor Pat Hayes and the previous Mayor, Councillor Christy Curtin, were the two top earners. Councillor Hayes, who welcomed the public disclosure of councillors’ payments, was paid €414,038 in 2011, which includes a mayoral allowance of €13,500. It also included two separate payments for office equipment …

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