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East Clare

Scariff Bay Community Radio awarded second 100-day licence

AFTER outstanding service to the communities of East Clare during the lockdown, Scariff Bay Community Radio has been awarded a second one hundred day FM licence by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). The station is also pursuing plans to open new studios in O’Callaghan’s Mills, Tulla and Killaloe in the near future. The licence came into effect last Monday, and once again allows the station to broadcast on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am on both 88.3FM and 92.7FM, throughout the east of the county. The station will also continue to stream all shows on-line and on its website scariffbayradio.com, as well as on the Tune In app for smart devices and phones. Led by Chairman Jim Collins, the roster of 30 volunteers has continued to present its shows during the Covid-19 crisis. Using a range of remote working technologies, they have broadcast to the local communities and a wide diaspora abroad. Hosting shows and interviewing guests using social media including WhatsApp, Zoom, Facebook and …

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Call for Council to Take Over Craggaunowen Vistor Centre

ONE of the pioneers of tourism in Clare would be “turning in his grave” at the decision to curtail access to Shannon Heritage facilities, a local authority member has said. Councillor Pat Hayes has slammed the decision to keep Knappogue Castle and Craggaunowen closed until further notice, in response to the pandemic, and to limit the season for Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. He said the situation flew in the face of the legacy of Dr Brendan O’Regan, who was instrumental in developing the amenities. “Given how important domestic tourism will be this year, and the fact that people are looking for facilities close to home, the decision is very disappointing,” he said. “As well as their importance to tourism in the midwest, these are vital facilities in terms of Irish history and heritage. Dr Brendan O’Regan would be turning in his grave over this.” The Fianna Fáil member there is now a strong case for a local authority take-over …

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East Clare Buddhist Centre Reaches Community Online

THE woodlands nestled along the The 12 O’Clock Hills, in East Clare, might seem a world away from the tropical forests of Thailand, but both provide inspiration for reflection and retreat from the world. And, tucked away along the woodland trails, a stone’s throw from Kilkishen, the Sunyata Buddhist Centre is dedicated to teaching a form of meditation associated with the Thai Forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism. As well as welcoming a growing community of Irish Buddhists, in pre-pandemic times, the centre regularly welcomed Buddhist monks from South East Asia on retreat during the rainy season from July to October. Like all places of religious practice, the centre shut down in response to the coronavirus and has also succeeded in reaching its community and keeping activities going on-line. “In ordinary times, people would be welcome to visit the centre at any time, outside of the dates when retreats would be going on,” explained Heike Griffin, a member of the Sunyata …

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Clare Bus Hope Covid Restrictions Won’t Impact on Tender Plans

LIMITS on the number of passengers who can safely use public transport could have implications for the ability of Clare Bus to tender for nine local transport routes. Earlier this month, the National Transport Authority (NTA) sought Expressions of Interest for the routes, which had been operated by Clare Bus until the end of March. Due to a funding dispute, the Feakle-based accessible transport service lost a total of 12 routes and is hopeful of being able to tender again for nine of them. The chairperson of Clare Accessible Transport (CAT), which trades as Clare Bus, told The Champion the board would have to examine the tender documents in detail before making an application. “We have expressed our interest and the next step is that the NTA will issue nine individual tender calls,” he said. “We expect to receive those this week, but until we look at them, we don’t know exactly what will be required. Once the management team …

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Locals Raise Concerns Over East Clare Wind Farm Consultations

CONCERNS are being voiced in Bodyke about the nature of the consultation process surrounding a multimillion Euro wind farm proposed for the slopes of Slieve Bernagh in East Clare. In recent weeks, a Facebook page, called ‘Bodyke Voice on Wind Farm’ has been set up by people in the community to facilitate discussion. One of those raising awareness of the project, Susan McMahon of the Cobbler’s Rest, has used the page to publish responses from the developer, Coillte, to a series of detailed questions, some of which focus on a perceived lack of consultation with the wider community. “I have no agenda on this,” Ms McMahon told The Champion. “I’m not trying to rally the forces or influence people one way or another on this project. I’m not against green energy, I’m in favour of it, but, I do feel we have been brushed aside in terms of consultation.” The publican outlined how she had learned, by word of mouth, …

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Fr Flann Responds to Covid Crisis with Online Grief Reflection

A CLARE-born Capuchin priest has produced a series of on-line reflections with messages of support and hope in challenging times. Fr Flann Lynch is a native of Quin and celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his priesthood earlier this month. A member of the Capuchin community, he spent much of his life in ministry overseas and worked with Mother Teresa of Calcutta, before returning to Ireland where he now lives at the Ards Friary in Creeslough, County Donegal. Inspired by the difficulties of the lockdown and ongoing Covid-19 crisis, Fr Lynch has most recently created a meditation for those experiencing grief. “I’ve called it ‘Grief, A Stepping Stone’ and it’s a response to the huge amount of suffering that is in the country at this time,” Fr Lynch said. “We have had a situation where people haven’t been able to be present at the death of loved ones, or to attend funerals in some cases. People have been telling their stories …

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Killaloe woman takes top photo prize at ‘wireless’ Mountshannon Arts Festival

A KILLALOE-based photography enthusiast has taken the top prize in a competition run as part of this year’s Mountshannon Arts Festival. The event ran over the June Bank Holiday in an alternative format, taking to the airwaves of Scariff Bay Community Radio, as well as YouTube, to ensure continuity on its 25th anniversary. The “wireless” festival also included the highly popular annual photography competition. Entries were invited on the theme of ‘Identity’ and an exhibition is currently in situ on the windows of Keane’s Bar. First place went to Siobhán Cahill for her award-winning picture of the late Willie Connors at the Black Bull Threshing Festival in County Offaly. Siobhán, who is a native of County Cavan described herself as “absolutely thrilled” with the win. “I’m a huge fan of agricultural shows,” she explained. “My father was President of the Virginia Show, and I know the huge amount of work that local committees do. My partner, Robert, and I love to …

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‘I am not that person’ – Edna O’Brien rejects New Yorker profile

EDNA O’Brien has broken her silence on an interview with The New Yorker magazine, published at the end of last year and described by some literary experts as “a hatchet job”. The profile of the Tuamgraney-born author generated considerable controversy and prompted a number of critics and academics here to reject the profile as unflattering, sexist and overly critical. Last weekend, in an interview with RTÉ, Ms O’Brien said the article, by Ian Parker, had hurt and outraged her. The acclaimed writer joined broadcaster Brendan O’Connor to discuss an award for the latest novel Girl. “I was hurt and I was outraged,” she said of the piece. “I was hurt because it is not a truthful piece. If the tapes were taken of the three-and-a-half days I spent with that journalist. I don’t think the tapes and what I spoke into them would tally with what appeared in those 9,000 words. They would not. They would be a big contradiction. I …

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