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A new high and low

“In the course of history many more people have died for their drink and their dope than have died for their religion or their country. The craving for ethyl alcohol and the opiates has been stronger, in these millions, than the love of God, of home, of children; even of life.” Aldous Huxley

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Energy project could generate 2,000 jobs

OVER 2,000 construction jobs could be created in Clare for five years if one of the two sites identified in the new County Development Plan for a €1 billion hydroelectricity generating plant are fully developed.Atlantic Force chairman, Padraig Howard has predicted that between 2,000 and 2,500 construction jobs could be created in West or East Clare if planning approval for a major 400 to 600 megawatt pumped hydroelectricity storage plant is secured. The Barefield windfarm developer predicted between 50 and 75 permanent maintenance jobs could be created if his plans come to fruition.In fact, Mr Howard believes there is a strong case why the two sites could be developed to transform Clare into the renewable energy leader in the country.While up to 50 potential sites were identified for the generation of hydroelectricity by the Spirit of Ireland throughout the country, Mr Howard noted Clare has a distinct advantage because of its topography, the lack of EU Natura protected habitats in …

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No loss of rates as boundary left unchanged

CLARE County Council will be able to keep over €260,000 in commercial rates generated in South-East Clare after Environment Minister Phil Hogan rejected the proposed transfer of about five square kilometres of land into a new authority for Limerick city and county.Commercial rates from traders in Gillogue, Clonlara nets about €160,000 annually for Clare County Council’s coffers, while the Westbury Shopping Centre and other local businesses provide about €100,000.The Clare Champion has also learned that the county council faced the prospect of losing hundreds of thousands of Euro from new industries in South-East Clare if Minister Hogan proceeded to implement the controversial boundary recommendations in the Limerick Local Government Report.The report recommended the transfer of over 3,000 people living in Westbury, Shannon Banks and parts of Clonlara into an expanded Limerick.Limerick Local Government Committee chairman, Denis Brosnan also proposed in the report that the Clare campus of the University of Limerick should be governed by the new Limerick authority to …

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Clare VEC to merge with Limerick committees

CLARE Vocational Education Committee (VEC) is to merge with Limerick City and County VECs, it was announced this week. However, the implications of the move on staff and services in the county are not immediately clear.The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn announced on Wednesday that the Government had approved a revised reconfiguration of the Vocational Education Committees system and the total number of VECs countrywide would be reduced to 16.“We don’t know how the merger will affect us yet,” said chairman of Clare VEC, Independent Councillor Tommy Brennan.“This has been going on for some time. We don’t know where we stand at present. The last Clare VEC meeting was adjourned and we won’t know what these changes will mean until the next meeting, when we discuss the details of the merger, what its impact on staff would be, where people would apply for third-level grants and so on. It is very hard to make a comment on the …

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Judge describes collapse of trials as ‘a complete farce’

A Circuit Court judge has described the collapse of a trial in Ennis this week as “a farce” and “a monumental waste of people’s time, good will and energy”. The comments were made after the second trial in two consecutive days collapsed at Ennis Circuirt Criminal Court shortly after a jury was empanelled. Judge Donagh McDonagh, who has been presiding over criminal trials in Ennis for the past two weeks, stated, “Let it be noted that I am distinctly unhappy with this as a process. At some stage, someone in authority is going to have to take responsibility for cases that don’t go on,” following the collapse of a second trial this week. Ennis Circuit Criminal Court was due to hear the case of John McCormack of 26, Purcell Park, Shannon and Declan O’Neill of 57, Broadleaf Apartments, Broad Street, Limerick on Tuesday, where both denied a charge of handling stolen Canterbury rugby sportswear.  A jury was sworn and the …

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Loughnane keeps in touch with Clare minors

DESPITE having health-related priorities, following his diagnosis with leukaemia, Ger Loughnane has sent a message of congratulations to the Clare minor hurlers, who have qualified for the Munster final on July 10 in Cork. Clare beat Tipperary in last Friday week’s semi-final. “His [texted] words were ‘I heard the great news of the performance against Tipp. We all have big battles ahead but isn’t that what’s life is all about” Clare minor selector Eamon Fennessy said. “We were absolutely astounded that he sent us this message. It’s a measure of the man really,” he added.  Loughnane presented the 2010 Munster minor champions with their medals at their presentation night and had been in regular touch with the minor management throughout last year’s campaign. “Last year, whether people knew it or not, Ger was never far away from us. His door was always open for advice and his thoughts on our games or his thoughts on our preparation going into the …

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