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Well-known livestock haulier calls it a day after almost 50 years

James Treacy IF YOU asked patrons in your local pub in East Clare whether they sold cattle in the mart that day, they might not tell you how much they got. One thing is for certain, though, if they were asked who brought the cattle to the mart and if they said, “TJ brought them,” you would all know instantly who they were talking about. Recently, however, Scarriff native TJ O’Callaghan, one of the most famous men at the mart down through the years, retired after almost 50 years in business. Over around half a century, he was well know as a cattle haulier all over Clare, Galway, Limerick and North Tipperary. TJ said that he encountered many close shaves in terms of dangerous situations. In particular in Ennis last year, he was chased and almost attacked by an animal who jumped out of his trailer. Thankfully, TJ made a miraculous escape. By comparison, TJ said that horses were very quiet and safe to transport. …

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Publicans plea for chance to prove they can open responsibly

THE proprietors of an East Clare pub are appealing to the government to give them the chance to prove they can re-open and operate safety. Susan McMahon and Martin Butler have been running The Cobbler’s Rest, a so-called ‘wet’ pub, in Bodyke for the last 16 years. They have expressed anger at the fact that while they are sticking to the rules, a number of pubs are flouting regulations on serving a substantial meal, in order to stay open. Like all other pubs who don’t serve food, The Cobbler’s Rest has been shut since March on the direction of government and The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). Its proprietors have seen three false dawns and been preparing to re-open at different stages in July and August, only to have their hopes dashed at the end of last month. “I don’t think they’re going to let us open at all this year,” said Mr Butler. “It’s desperately unfair. Every pub …

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North Clare woman’s ‘living nightmare’ in crumbling home

A NORTH Clare woman has outlined how she is in “a living nightmare” after serious problems were discovered with the structure of her home, because of defective building materials – most likely pyrite and/or mica. The woman, who spoke to The Clare Champion on condition of anonymity, said she has now found herself saddled with a large mortgage on a property she will be unable to sell in its current state. “I lie awake at night and feel like I am listening to the house crack and creak,” she said. “My understanding is that there could be many others in Clare who have the same problem and I’m calling for us to come together to see what we can do.” The house is a detached property and was bought by the woman in the late 2000s. “At the end of last year, I started to see horizontal cracks on the external gable and on the front facade of the house,” she …

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Growing demand for Red Cross Community Transport Support in Clare

COVID-19 may have resulted in lock-down and the cancellation of events throughout the county, however the Clare branch of the Irish Red Cross has continued its vital support of the community. Even with the pandemic, the branch’s community transport service, which brings people from all over the county to medical appointments, has helped more people than it did in 2018. In order to support the organisation’s work, the need for a second community support vehicle has been identified with the numbers currently being turned away greater than those being helped. James Lafferty, Treasurer and Community Support Officer explains, “The amount of people we have been helping has been unreal, we’ve been a lot busier since Covid.” However in order to achieve this the Clare branch have to raise funds and they are urging the people of the county to support the effort. James explains that due to Covid-19 the popular Tour of Clare fundraiser had to be postponed, and has …

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Thirty healthcare staff reassigned to other duties in UL Hospitals’ Group

ABOUT 30 staff who are considered vulnerable workers are being reassigned to other duties in the UL Hospitals’ Group, it emerged this week. The reassignment was completed in compliance with the Return to Work Safely Protocol produced by the Health and Safety Authority, HSE and the Department of Health, and in accordance with human resources and occupational health guidance. In an overview of Covid-19 circulated for county councillors, UL Hospitals’ Group chief executive officer, Colette Cowan revealed local laboratory testing for Covid-19 at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) reached a new high of 280 tests in a single day recently. The group’s microbiology team and medical scientists have worked extremely hard to scale up testing and they are now at the limits of what can be achieved with existing equipment. The group are sourcing new test instruments that will allow it to further increase and enhance local testing capacity at UHL. Stocks of Personal Protective Equipment within the group are currently …

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Clare to receive funding for LGBTI+ services

CLARE has been selected as one of eight counties in the country to receive funding for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) services under the Dormant Accounts Fund. In November 2019, Seán Canney TD, Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, published the Dormant Accounts Action Plan 2020 providing funding to address disadvantage across the country. This includes the provision of €200k to support LGBTI+ community organisations. County Clare was selected as one of eight organisations nationwide and has been awarded €35,000 from the Dormant Accounts Fund. The funding is based on proposals received from organisations around the county who are seeking to complete projects which ensure that existing community infrastructure is inclusive and welcoming to LGBTI+ people. Following a countywide call for expressions of interest, 10 organisations across the county will benefit from the funding, including: Clare Women’s Network, Clare Haven, Clare Youth Service, North West Clare Family Resource Centre, Ennis Musical Society, Fishbowl Youth, Burren Art Gallery, …

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McNamara sharply critical of Covid restrictions

THE head of the Dáil’s Covid-19 committee has questioned whether those who set the rules on curbing the virus understand how people really live their lives, insisting that the current approach is not working. In a sharp attack on government and the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), Deputy Michael McNamara said a greater focus must be placed on educating people about how to live alongside the virus. Reacting to news that Gardaí are to be given enhanced powers to shut down pubs in breach of regulations, the Scariff man was highly critical of the government’s current policies. “We’ve had inspection, after inspection, after inspection,” he said. “On one weekend alone, Gardaí inspected 6,000 premises. At the same time, our infection rates continue to rise. In other countries, all pubs have been open all summer and yet we now have higher rates of Covid-19 than Sweden who avoided a lockdown. The policy seems to be that the beatings will continue …

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New taskforce to tackle desecration and damage at Clare Abbey

GRAVE desecration and damage alongside ongoing flytipping at one of Clare’s most historic sites has prompted the establishment of a new taskforce. The Clare Abbey Taskforce are due meet for the first time next month and calls are being made for the installation of CCTV cameras at the national monument. A meeting of the Ennis Municipal District also heard this week that efforts are being made to have the Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works to visit Clare Abbey and hear first hand the concerns of locals. Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy urged that the council convene the taskforce and adopt measures including CCTV to tackle flytipping which is “continuously being highlighted by the Clarecastle Tidy Towns” and “the ongoing risk of repeated damage and desecration to the graves located within the abbey”. She called on the council to support Clarecastle Tidy Towns request for a “much more thorough” analysis of flytipping material found in Clareabbey …

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