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County Council rewarded for its technological ‘app’-titude

CLARE County Council has shown a real ‘app’-titude for innovation having been named among the winners at the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards held at the Burlington Hotel, Dublin, last week.Clare County Council were the winners of the Innovation in Technology category for its heritage information booklet that has been converted into a free, downloadable iPhone/iPad application (app) for visitors. The app features 33 early Christian, Medieval and Celtic ecclesiastical heritage sites across four trails throughout county Clare, which are supported by text and photographs.The awards on the night were presented by Minister for Environment, Community & Local Government, Phil Hogan.Congratulating all those involved in securing this prestigious award, the Mayor of Clare, Pat Hayes said, “This award winning project is helping inform visitors of the rich ecclesiastical history that exists in the county and although it serves as a tourism/heritage guide for both tourists and locals, it also importantly outlines the sensitivity of these buildings”.“Rian na Manach …

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James queries, can you rest in peace at home?

FARMERS should have the right to be buried on their own lands, according to Councillor James Breen.He believes people’s land can be very sacred to them and if they want to be buried there, they should be facilitated. At the November meeting of Clare County Council, Councillor Breen put forward a motion requesting that the local authority calls on the Minister for the Environment to “change the law in relation to burials whereby a farmer or his family, if they so desire, may be buried on his or her own land”.He said that for some, the place they were born and spent their life in is very special. “There is nothing more sacred in this world to a farmer than this patch of ground,” he commented.Councillor Gerry Flynn felt the motion should be broadened to include property owners with sufficient land, while Green Party councillor Brian Meaney said such burials would need to be very tightly regulated.Concerns about the proposal …

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Flickering shadows concern in windfarm project

Eleven houses in West Clare are within the recommended 500m separation distance from wind turbines proposed in a new €100m windfarm, a lobby group has claimed.Clare Coastal Wind Power has lodged a planning application with An Bord Pleanála for the proposed development of 45 wind turbines in the parishes of Doonbeg, Kilrush and Cooraclare.The Rural Protection Group has voiced concerns about the clarity both in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the Non-Technical Summary (NTS) in relation to noise and shadow flicker. In their EIS, the developers admit that 146 houses, over 40%, near the proposed Shragh industrial wind farm could potentially experience an impact from shadow flicker and confirm that 55 houses will experience over of 30 hours of shadow flicker per year. However, the group claimed a closer examination of the detail provided reveals that over 30 hours could translate to up to 90 hours in some cases. This is because the developers have decided to take on …

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Bereaved father lends voice to Cork river cause

A Clare man, whose son was lost in the River Lee in 2009, has added his voice to calls for the building of a new slipway in Cork’s main river. Brian Mooney’s son Brecan was swept away from the Christy Ring Bridge in the city in the early hours of the November 19, 2009. Heavy rain, subsequent flooding and finally the Lee bursting its banks hampered efforts to locate the Carron man and his body has never been found.Brian still recalls with gratitude the members of the Missing Person’s Association of Ireland who helped search for Brecan. It is this organisation that has been particularly vocal in calling for a new slipway to launch its rescue boat.“The Missing Person’s Association of Ireland has been brilliant. They were involved in the search for Brecan, as was the Mallow Search and Rescue team, volunteers, gardai and naval divers. Some of the people involved in the search have come up to events we …

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Safety chains needed along river

A LACK of safety chains and ladders on a new wall along the River Fergus could result in a lost life if somebody falls into the water, it is feared.At Monday’s meeting of Ennis West Electoral Area, Councillor Tony Mulqueen urged that safety measures be provided at the wall constructed along the river.He was informed by Eamon O’Dea, senior executive engineer, that the council is seeking a water safety audit from Irish Water Safety. “It is anticipated that this will be carried out within the next two to three months. The audit will be forwarded to the Office of Public Works for their consideration,” he said.Councillor Mulqueen responded, “This is the second time I have raised this issue; I raised it 12 months ago and now we’re talking about another two or three months…My fear is that if somebody went into that river they couldn’t be retrieved because the wall is so high. We are waiting for an accident to …

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Cat is out of the sack

BUDGET day used to be an exciting time in the various newsrooms I’ve worked in over the years. I would sit, along with all the other journalists and eagerly jot down the minister’s announcements as they were fed over the radio, television, newswire or, latterly, the internet. In the case of the last two examples the point was moot, as the information relayed was being gathered in a similar timeframe to ourselves so was nothing new when we received it. This year, the people of Ireland are, like journalists, receiving reports over a newswire service. It will merely confirm what they know already. When the minister stands up in the Dáil to announce Budget 2012, everyone who has had access to a newspaper will know the major details of the speech thanks to the revelation of same to the German parliament’s finance committee last week. This is a peculiar kind of humiliation. When the fact came to light, Irish incredulity …

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Council emergency number called 27 times

A PERSON in Kilkishen rang the council’s emergency number 27 times last winter without getting any reply. At this week’s meeting of Clare County Council, Sixmilebridge-based Councillor PJ Ryan said there was a problem during the last cold snap. “Last year and in the early part of this year, people were calling the emergency number and not getting any reply. A constituent in Kilkishen rang the number 27 times and didn’t get a reply.”He proposed that the council “ensure that adequate staff are available to man the emergency number for the winter weekends and holiday periods”.In a written reply to the members, director of services Nora Kaye stated, “The council’s emergency phone operates throughout the year outside office hours – including over weekends and bank holidays. The effectiveness of the facility was compromised during the very severe weather event of December 2010 when temperatures dropped to -12oC and the intensity of calls from members of the general public in relation …

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Public reminded about smoky coal ban

WITH the cold weather now here, Clare County Council has issued a reminder to members of the public and solid fuel suppliers that the bituminous or ‘smoky’ coal ban has been extended to Ennis and surrounding areas through new air quality regulations, which came into force on August 1, 2011.This means residents in the affected areas can now only burn smokeless fuels in their fireplaces and stoves. The purpose of the new regulations is to improve the environment, particularly air quality, and to protect human health from the harmful emissions that result from the burning of bituminous coal high in sulphur.The legislation prohibits the marketing, sale and distribution of smoky coal, not only in the urban areas of Ennis, but also in the suburbs and surrounding areas of the town. The smoky coal ban has been in place since 1998 in a number of townlands in the South-East Clare area bordering Limerick City.Maps have been prepared showing the full extent …

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