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Fresh salt to arrive in time for cold snap

A council spokesman confirmed that delivery of the consignment will boost supplies to approximately 550 tonnes, a sufficient supply for eight to nine applications. “The latest salt shipment will leave us reasonably comfortable as regards salt stocks but we will be continuing to actively seek further allocations,” a council spokesman confirmed.Meanwhile, Tom Tiernan, senior engineer transportation admitted that the new salt depot, currently under construction, was “a little behind programme-wise mostly because of the severe weather”.While the council already has a high-quality salt barn, Mr Tiernan said completion of the new depot will double the council’s storage capacity from 650 tonnes to approximately 1,300 tons.Earlier this week, Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) commenced discharging of an 8,000-tonne shipment of salt, when the vessel, Diezebog arrived from the Mediterranean.A further shipment of over 6,000 tonnes is due into Foynes Port again next week and, together with this week’s shipment, will help to replenish nationwide salt stocks, following the prolonged freezing temperatures …

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Bertie not all bad

I AM among a tiny minority of people who believe that history will be kind to Bertie Ahern and will have a far greater understanding of him than there is today.I don’t mind being in a minority as long as I believe I am right. There are those who might say that Bertie Ahern was the worst Taoiseach of all time. Of course, there are others who might say that Brian Cowen is far more deserving of that title.The general consensus is, however, that Bertie Ahern destroyed the Irish economy and that he was aided and abetted by Brian Cowen as Minister for Finance and later as Taoiseach.I was never a great fan of Bertie Ahern. He was too sweet for my liking. I always preferred a person who told it as it was rather than somebody like Ahern, who could persuade you that the sun was shining as you tried to fight your way through a blizzard. This country …

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Representing Clare Killeen’s biggest honour

IT is every politician’s dream to serve at the Cabinet table, yet Minister for Defence Tony Killeen, who will not contest the forthcoming general election, doesn’t place this as his main political achievement.Instead, the former national schoolteacher feels that being elected to serve as a deputy for the Clare constituency was the biggest honour he could receive.That’s not to say that he fully appreciated the honour of having the opportunity to make key decisions in a number of departments before his service was ultimately rewarded with his appointment as Defence Minister last year, following the resignation of Willie O’Dea.In an exclusive interview with The Clare Champion, Minister Killeen said he enjoyed working in the Cabinet despite the fact Ireland was in the grips of the most challenging period in the history of the State since the 1930s.“One of the things that happened was decisions were taken in the best interests of the country and the impact on the Fianna Fáil …

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Meeting to rubber-stamp ’Bridge mart deal

A farmer-led consortium is expected to rubber-stamp the purchase of Golden Vale livestock mart, which closed over a year ago, at a public meeting in Sixmilebridge this Thursday.Agreement has already been reached with GVM to acquire the mart premises at Ballysheen for €300,000 and the meeting will endorse the purchase of the property, which sits on a 4.5-acre site.  When the mart first opened in 1973 it was founded by a group of local businessmen and traded as Bunratty Farmers’ Export Mart. The mart, which held weekly Saturday sales, changed hands in 1986 when purchased by the Golden Vale Co-operative group.Now, through a share initiative scheme where shares were sold at €500 each, the group has the finance to do business and see the property revert back into the ownership of the farming community. Leading sociologist and Sixmilebridge parish priest Fr Harry Bohan, who helped broker the deal, emphasised that communities must fight to retain their local services.“The future lies …

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€90,000 home for bats in South Galway

WORK has begun on a €90,000 home for the Lesser Horseshoe Bat on the outskirts of the Coole and Garyland Estate in South Galway. The National Roads Design Office at Galway County Council confirmed that a house on the estate is being renovated for the species and a bat roost is being constructed at a combined cost of €89,754, including VAT.The work is being carried out by Duane Construction Ltd and is in preparation for the construction of the next phase of the Atlantic Corridor, which will see the M18 extend from Gort to Tuam through the Coole Park nature reserve managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.“The Lesser Horseshoe Bat has statutory protection under the EU Habitats Directive. That is why this is being done. The contract is signed and work is commenced. It has to be carried out at a specific time of the year, which is appropriate for the species,” explained Michael Timmins, senior engineer, National …

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Financial emergency should be declared – Connolly

IRELAND is under such threat due to economic factors that a financial emergency should be declared as soon as possible.That’s the argument that has been put forward by Jim Connolly of Kilbaha, who will contest the next General Election as an independent candidate in the Clare constuituency.He told The Clare Champion that, according to Article 28.3.3. of the Constitution of Ireland, a state of emergency can be declared to secure the public safety and the preservation of the State in times of war or armed rebellion.A state of emergency gives total power to the Oireachtas to enact laws deemed essential for this purpose. This was done in 1939 at the start of the Second World War.He argued that Ireland is now under such threat due to economic factors that a state of “financial emergency” should be declared as soon as possible.“It would then be possible to deal immediately with the deliberately contrived tangle of self-protective contract laws that politicians, professionals, …

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Helicopter airlift plan for isolated patients

A new plan to airlift critically ill patients from North and West Clare for special treatment in regional hospitals would substantially improve survival rates, a local accident and emergency consultant has confirmed.Government approval to expand the role for the Shannon-based search-and-rescue helicopter would result in a new strategy to transport major trauma patients in isolated parts of the county to 24-hour casualty departments in a fraction of the time it currently takes by road. The Clare Champion can reveal that preliminary discussions have been held between the Health Service Executive (HSE), the Irish Coast Guard Service and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) on the best way to utilise and co-ordinate existing resources.While a number of outstanding issues remain to be resolved, progress has been made putting a new proposal in place to airlift acute trauma victims as a result of the negotiations organised by Clare Fianna Fáil Deputy, Tony Killeen.Dr Cathal O’Donnell, accident and emergency consultant in the Mid-Western Regional …

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IDA firms avoid Clare

WHEN Ireland emerges from the economic mire, it’s likely that exports will be the driving force behind recovery but it seems that IDA firms are giving Clare a wide berth.This week, IDA Ireland released its end of year statement for 2010, which told of a good year for foreign direct investment in Ireland, with a number of companies investing here for the first time.However, somewhat disappointingly, the section of the report dealing with regional development showed that no IDA-assisted companies had chosen to make a major job-creating investment in Clare.This was despite half of all investments coming outside of Dublin and Cork. During the year, IDA Ireland client companies created almost 11,000 new jobs, significantly up on the previous year’s level.Speaking after the statement’s launch, Enterprise Minister Batt O’Keeffe said, “Despite the period of global recession over the past two years, our value proposition to multinational firms either operating here or choosing to hub in Ireland for the first time …

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