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Consumer mood is brightening – Ennis Chamber report

Forty businesses attended the re-launch of the Ennis Chamber Tuesday2Network event that took place at Sherry Fitzgerald McMahon, O’Connell Square, Ennis, to celebrate their 110th year in business in Clare.Ennis Chamber vice-president John Dillane reiterated the importance of businesses working together to support each other in these challenging times and the strong attendance showed the continuing appeal for businesses to use networking as a way to boost their business through one-to-one contact. Facilitator and guest presenter for the networking night, Laura Reddy of Sherry FitzGerald Group then gave an overview on consumer sentiment. In her report, Ms Reddy noted that in a KBC/ESRI survey revealed that consumer sentiment improved in January 2010 to its highest level in two years and that “the mood of consumers is brightening”.“While consumers remain cautious, they are notably less pessimistic, which points to a clear and broadly based pick-up in confidence,” she added.Ms Reddy revealed that a PriceWaterhouseCooper Report stated that consumers are hunting for …

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Tourism and industry nosedive

THE impact of the recession on the Mid-West was brought into focus once again this week as Shannon Development’s 2009 end of year results laid bare the grim realities of a region in a worrying state of health in terms of industry and tourism.At the annual Tourism Roadshow in Limerick last week, the key message from the participating tourism agencies, Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Shannon Development, was that an all-out effort will have to be made to halt the massive tourism decline in the Shannon Region. Both events reflected a common interest in the region on the part of the facilitators and, as could be expected, there was an overlap in some of the details that emerged. The thing is, evidence of the problems have been there for some time and groups and individuals have been sounding repeated warnings. The Tourism Roadshow and Shannon Development’s 2009 review have raised the profile of the mess we’re in.Slippages in overseas visitor …

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The tweets of power

“IvenevervotedTory because you can put lipstick on a scum-sucking pig but it is still a scum-sucking pig, and ‘cos they would ruin Britain” [sic]That was the frank message that was sent from the Twitter account of a Labour Party whip and MP for Telford, David Wright, in recent days. He has come out with an apology claiming that his account was tampered with and that the “scum-sucking” part had been inserted without his knowledge. What mischievous gremlin managed to carry out the action has not yet been made public and I’m not holding my breath in the hope that it will. The message on the wildly popular social networking site was in response to a new Tory campaign along similar lines. In this campaign, the conservatives are trying to lure disaffected voters into their net with the phrase “I’ve never voted Tory before but…”  The posting by the Labour MP sparked quite furious debate on the website, with some berating …

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Nurses’ union concerned at A&E take-up of Ennis day beds

BETWEEN 10 and 12 beds earmarked for elective day surgery at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital Ennis have been taken over by accident and emergency in-patients, a nursing union claimed this week.Concern about the lack of acute beds in the region to cope with the seasonal surgery in winter illness has been expressed by the Irish Nurses’ and Midwives’ Organisation (INMO).The number of acute in-patient beds at the Ennis hospital has been reduced to just 55 and the union is now concerned that the potential for increased diagnostic procedures will be hampered if day beds are regularly used by A&E patients.As nurses in the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick continue their work-to-rule over alleged overcrowding, for the last three weeks, there has been renewed concern about the lack of additional resources provided to cope with the lack of night time casualty cover in Nenagh and Ennis hospitals.The INMO noted the impact of overcrowding in Limerick hospital and its effect on other hospitals …

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Creditors await Lynch payment

A NUMBER of small and medium enterprises who had to settle for a 90% write-off of debts owed by the Clare-based Lynch Hotel Group are still waiting for their accounts to be settled, it emerged this week.A Clare Champion survey of creditors, owed varying amounts from a few hundred to a few hundred-thousand euro, revealed that some creditors only received 10% of outstanding debts recently, weeks after the High Court hammered out a deal under the Examinership process. A group spokesman, however, pledged that all creditors would be paid the amounts agreed under the High Court settlement. The Lynch Hotel Group, which had debts of over €22.85 million, went into voluntary Examinership last July in order to protect its business and the employment of 530 staff members, 250 of which are based in its three Clare hotels – The West County, Ennis; The Clare Inn, Dromoland and The Ocean Cove in Kilkee.Examiner Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton, a Dublin-based accounting …

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Bike enthusiasts gear up for August

AN 84-mile cycle, to be held in Clare on Sunday, August 22, is expected attract up to 2,000 entrants. The event, which is open to club and leisure cyclists, will incorporate a cycle, which will start and finish in Ennis.The Sky Ride Etape Hibernia will be a closed road spin, taking in Mid, North and West Clare, although the full route has yet to be confirmed. It is planned to run the event for at least five years and organisers hope that up to 5,000 cyclists will take part in the 2014 race.  On Tuesday, sports management company IMG, in partnership with Sky, Fáilte Ireland, Shannon Development, the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau and Clare County Council, announced details of the country’s first closed road cycle in the Armada Hotel, Spanish Point. As well as Sky Ride Etape Hibernia, IMG have extensive experience organising mass participation events including the Etape Caledonia, Tour de Suisse, Melbourne marathon, the London triathlon, …

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Ennis prostitutes available through the Internet

WHILE Clare mightn’t have prostitutes pitching their wares on street corners, there is a dark underbelly in the very heart of the county town, with websites advertising a number of so-called ‘escorts’.Various websites give contact details for a number of foreign women operating in Ennis town centre along with price details. When contacted, they are willing to further discuss rates further and the type of sexual activity offered.It’s understood these websites can operate legally because they are hosted outside the State. There are also online forums where men anonymously give details of their liaisons in Clare with prostitutes.Geraldine Rowley of Ruhama, a group that works with women involved in prostitution said that while prostitution may have existed in one form or another in rural Ireland previously, it has become much more prevalent and the women concerned are often in terrible circumstances.“It has been a growing issue in the last decade and even in the last six or seven years. It’s …

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Gardaí investigate woman’s death

GARDAÍ in Ennis are investigating the death of a woman whose body was found on Tuesday afternoon in the home she shared with her toddler son, on the outskirts of Ennis.It is understood the woman died as a result of a “suspected drug overdose”. The deceased woman’s son was found in the house with the body of his mother when the gardaí were alerted at 3pm on Tuesday. Gardaí revealed that while the woman “appeared to have been dead for some time, the child wasn’t in any major distress”. The Ennis woman, who is 36 years of age, was last seen on Monday evening at 6.30pm and the alarm was raised by a neighbour who was friendly with the deceased, at approximately 3pm on Tuesday. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene and a post mortem was carried out at Limerick Regional Hospital on Wednesday.A garda source said they “suspect a drug overdose”. He confirmed that the drug in …

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