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An inability to learn from the past

I HAVE always admired Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness for their success and patience in bringing the IRA with them on the democratic road to peace. Now I am beginning to wonder.They were never, of course, going to be able to convince all the IRA to give up their bombs and their guns. But I did believe that after 30 years of hardship and suffering, killing and dying, that only a tiny minority of Republicans would want to continue the struggle when peace and power-sharing were within their grasp.But a tiny minority can do a lot of damage as we saw in Belfast and Armagh in recent weeks. And Adams and McGuinness are powerless in the face of violence from dissident Republicans.They can plead with them and appeal to them to stop wasting their own lives as well as the lives of their neighbours and their friends.But it is all to no avail. Some people will never learn.It took Adams …

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It’s too late to get an affluenza shot

In Charlotte Square Gardens in Edinburgh, enclosed behind the ornate spiked fence, stands a temporary complex of white tents. These tents are joined by a series of covered wooden walkways that surround the grassy centre of the garden where a monument to Prince Albert stands.It was unveiled in 1876 by Queen Victoria. The temporary modern construct that surrounds it has appeared in the last two weeks and is the home of the annual Edinburgh International Book Festival. From August 14 and until August 30, noted names from the world of literature and thought have been speaking, reading, arguing and discussing their own works and the world in general.For those seeking debate and intellectual stimulation, it is the equivalent of Willy Wonka’s factory for the chocolate lover. It was there last week that I went with my parents, who were over for a welcome visit, to see a debate on the topic of the Big Society and what it will look …

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Relationship grows between Ennis and Langenfeld

The Irish Embassy in Berlin has facilitated the establishment of links between Ennis and the German town of Langenfeld, which lies between Düsseldorf and Cologne.Relations between Ennis and Langenfeld have been developing over the past year, strengthening links in the areas of culture and youth affairs. Officials in Langenfield became aware of Ennis when they saw television coverage of Muhammad Ali’s visit to the town last September.A spokesman for Ennis Town Council said that earlier this year the Mayor of Langenfeld, Frank Schneider led a delegation on a visit to County Clare where he met with Ennis Town Council officials and councillors to explore the possibility of establishing formal links between both towns. Last month, Langenfeld hosted an international youth conference that was attended by a group of students from Ennis.On the invitation of Mayor Schneider, Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Tommy Brennan, will lead a delegation from Ennis Town Council, comprising two officials and four other councillors, on a return …

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Councillor calls on Harney to allay vaccine rollout fears

FEARS that a lack of resources could delay the planned rollout of the cervical cancer vaccine next month has prompted Fine Gael Ennis Town Councillor Mary Howard to call on the Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney to intervene.The local councillor wants Minister Harney to ensure that the screening programme goes ahead as planned, particularly given the success of the schools vaccination programme which has reported an 80% uptake in the vaccine by first year girls.“Every year around 250 women develop cervical cancer and 80 women die from the cancer. Vaccination and screening is essential in the battle against this disease and after a year long delay the HPV vaccination programme was finally rolled on last May in 21 schools throughout this country,” Councillor Howard said.She added that the vaccination programme is planned to extend to all other schools from September. “This will include all first year students not vaccinated before the summer and sixth-class girls going into second-level …

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Bishop Willie Walsh’s legacy

BISHOP Willie Walsh’s 16-year tenure as Bishop of Killaloe will come to an end on Sunday afternoon following the episcopal ordination of his successor, Fr Kieran O’Reilly. He will be a hard act to follow. In every facet of his life, he has shown huge commitment and leadership.As a teacher, priest, GAA mentor, religious and social commentator, Willie Walsh has left his mark on Irish society. He has a modern outlook on life and certainly has the common touch, which has endeared him to the general public at large.As bishop, his frank and sometimes emotional responses to controversial issues, especially relating to clerical sex abuse of children, has quite frequently attracted national media attention. Bishop Walsh has never shied away from controversy. His readiness to question issues that have been enshrined in the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church is refreshing. Last year, he challenged Pope Benedict’s ban on discussing the ordination of women to the priesthood. He called …

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Lenihan welcomed to Béal na Bláth

THE decision to invite Finance Minister Brian Lenihan to address the annual commemoration of Michael Collins’ death at Béal na Bláth stirred some controversy, with Young Fine Gael opting to boycott the event.However, the invitation of the most popular Fianna Fáil politician of the hour was welcomed in many quarters, with the view being voiced that it’s time for Civil War differences to be set aside.Clare TD Pat Breen was among the crowd at Béal na Bláth and he said that the Finance Minister, who is battling cancer, had been made welcome. “Brian Lenihan received a very warm welcome from the crowd, which included a large number of Fine Gael members from Clare and several Fianna Fáil supporters from the county. One of Michael Collins’ life principles was fortitude in the face of adversity and there is an acknowledgement among the general public of how Brian Lenihan is dealing with his illness with such dignity and courage.”He said that former …

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A calling to tread the boards

After one of their most successful seasons to date, Ennis Players will be launching their 2010/2011 season in the next few weeks. Having qualified for the first time for the RTÉ All-Ireland Drama finals held in Athlone in May and finishing a very respectable third, the group are looking forward to an even better season.Last year, the group had a highly successful supper theatre at the Old Ground Hotel, Ennis over four nights in November where they staged two entertaining one-act plays to packed houses. The spring brought their highly praised production of the classic Synge play, The Playboy of the Western World, which played to sell-out audiences at Glór over four nights. The production then took to the roads and competed at six drama festivals throughout the country culminating in its selection as one of nine plays to appear in Athlone.Having recharged the batteries over the summer, the actors, production and backstage crew are now ready to launch into …

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Boat building continues in Querrin

SEOL Sionna, the West Clare group behind a boat-building project, is holding the first of a series of workshops in Querrin on Saturday, September 25, at 10am.This follows the recent open day in Ned Griffin’s shed in Querrin when the people behind the project were quite taken by the level of interest and goodwill evidenced by a big attendance.Meantime, the group has held interviews for the limited number of places on the boat-building course due to start soon. Beginning in October, training will take place three days a week, with open days on Saturday.    Seol Sionna’s ambitious training project will result in a 25ft wooden sailing boat evoking the small-to-medium class Shannon hooker that once sailed the estuary.Over the process, extensive boat-building, boat handling skills and local knowledge inherent in Seol Sionna membership will be utilised. In preparation for sailing, people will be able to avail of a yachtmaster shore-based navigation course under the guidance of Brendan Travers. The sailing …

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