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Not a happy Christmas for the marginalised

While many enjoy a Christmas feast, many hundreds of people in the voluntary sector are facing a famine in the new year. Buried in the depths of the recent budget was the news that Government funding for organisations all over the country was being withdrawn and, as a result, projects would close. Those employed to run them would find themselves out of work.

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Florist wins window competition

One of Ennis’s newest shops has been named winner of the 2010 Clare Champion and Clare FM window display competition.Art of Floral Design, based on the town’s O’Connell Street, scooped €1,000 worth of advertising on Tuesday night for its widow display embracing the theme of The Magic of Christmas.“We were particularly impressed with the effort that went into Art of Floral Design’s window display. The decorations used were all handmade and it showed great creativity and skill,” said John Galvin, managing director of The Clare Champion.Cassidy’s Pharmacy won second place for their window display aimed at children and O’Connor’s Bakery secured third place for their decorations, which included a snowman made out of mini-meringues.At a ceremony in The Old Ground Hotel, Cassidy’s were presented with advertising vouchers worth €600, while O’Connor’s Bakery won advertising worth €400.“We were delighted to get involved in this competition with The Clare Champion because it illustrates the great community spirit among businesses here. It was …

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Flood response cost €659,000

THE cost of responding to the recent flooding in the county cost €659,000, county manager, Tom Coughlan revealed at a Clare County Council meeting on Monday.Mr Coughlan confirmed that the council has already made an initial submission to the Department of the Environment in relation to operational and response-led costs and hopes to obtain payment before the end of the year.The €659,000 bill includes covering the cost of additional plant and machinery, damage to local authority houses and payments to emergency services and other agencies for the emergency response on the ground.However, it doesn’t include the cost of infrastructural damage to roads and other public facilities, which will have to be included in a separate application for funding to the department.The council’s road engineers are already compiling reports on the damage caused to roads throughout the county, particularly in Ennis, South-East Clare and North Clare.Mr Coughlan stated that the council did its best to respond to all calls for assistance …

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Just a way of surviving this brave new world

IN the dystopia described by Aldous Huxley in his novel Brave New World, one of the main ways the state controls its people is with a drug called Soma. The mild hallucinogen is taken by people when they finish work and always produces a positive experience. It causes no hangover and can be taken on a regular basis with no negative side effects. I mention this because it was the first thing that popped into my head upon reading about last week’s Budget.

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Shannon to lose union officials?

FACING into New Year wage cuts of up to 8.5% for top earners, Shannon Airport workers have been hit with the bombshell of a possible downgrading of trade union back-up.Just as protracted negotiations, ongoing since February, were coming to a close, workers holding union office were advised last week of national executive-approved proposals to close the Shannon SIPTU offices and transfer two full-time officials to other regional centres. SIPTU’s head of communications, Frank Connolly told The Clare Champion however, that while a restructuring of the organisation and its premises had been agreed at a conference in October, discussions were ongoing with those who would be involved. He stressed the union’s national executive had taken no decision on the restructuring proposals and that they hadn’t even met to discuss it.Local union sources claimed that members were enraged with warnings of defections during a “heated” meeting in the past week. Under the revived restructuring plan drawn up by Liberty Hall headquarters, official …

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Player cover-up for ‘unfit’ colleague

SENIOR players in the Clare hurling panel covered up for another player who was in “an unfit state” to tog out for a National Hurling League game last year.And Ollie Baker, a member of Mike Mac’s backroom team, also alleges that the genesis of the player revolt was a backlash to management coming down hard on discipline.Speaking exclusively to The Clare Champion, Baker declared, “The only thing that changed this year from our first year in charge was that we dealt strongly with discipline breaches. Nothing else changed”. Disillusioned that it had come to the point where management had been shafted by the players, Baker said, “There was no room for compromise from the players in terms of any issues they had. It just seemed to be an agenda to get Mike Mac out. Since Mike got involved at minor level in ’89, he has been consistent in his approach which is that players work hard, train hard and give …

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