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East Clare

Ennis Chamber survey reveals business concerns over Covid-19

A NEW survey carried out by Ennis Chamber of Commerce has provided a localised view of how businesses across Clare have been impacted by COVID-19. The COVID-19 Business Survey, conducted in conjunction with Clare FM, also gauges reaction to the suggestion that the town centre be pedestrianised to facilitate social distancing. Ennis Chamber CEO, Margaret O’Brien said the response reveals just how stressed and anxious business owners are. “Although we now have a government roadmap for reopening our economy,” she said, “the level of uncertainty evident from the responses by business owners in County Clare, suggests that those fears, rooted in uncertainty, are set to continue. Shops, cafés, pubs, hotels, hairdressers and beauticians now know when they can open, but that knowledge does little to quell the fear that co-existing with COVID-19 restrictions could mean trading to break even, as opposed to turning a profit.” The strongest sectoral response to the survey, came from retail, representing 42% of all respondents, with hospitality and tourism accounting …

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Tuamgraney man takes lead role in hit TV drama

THE Banner county is well represented in a new television series which has taken audiences by storm since it was unveiled at the end of last month. The BBC3 adaptation of Sally Rooney’s award nominated novel ‘Normal People’ stars Paul Mescal whose father comes from Cree and whose late grandfather Michael was a prominent figure in the local drama scene in West Clare. The show, which is directed by Oscar nominee Lenny Abrahamson also features Tuamgraney actor Frank Blake in the prominent role of Alan, brother of the lead character, Marianne. Frank is the son of Michael and Mary Blake of East Clare Equestrian Training Centre at Drewboro. Since graduating from the prestigious Lir National Academy of Dramatic Art, which runs in association with RADA and Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Frank has been quick to be selected for hit productions including ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘The Frankenstein Chronicles’. His theatrical work includes the stage adaptation of ‘Asking for It’ from …

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Blow to East Clare as Feakle Festival is cancelled

THE festival calendar for East Clare has suffered another major blow with the cancellation of the Feakle Festival, due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Organisers said they decided to cut this year’s event – which would ordinarily attract thousands to the region at the height of the summer season – “with deep regret,” in order to minimise the risk to the general public. Already, the legendary Spancilhill Fair has been called off, with organisers deciding that they could not guarantee social distancing at the event which draws thousands annually on the now immortalised date of June 23. A number of smaller community festivals, including the Bodyke May Bank Holiday Weekend, have also been shelved, with hopes of postponing some of them as the government’s road map for the re-opening of public life begins to unfold. In Feakle, a world-class programme of traditional music had been under wraps since February and there is widespread disappointment that the hugely popular festival won’t go ahead …

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Tulla Teen in Barretstown ‘Virtual Hug’ Campaign

BEING locked down and having to work and learn at home are challenges for everyone at the moment, but for one young East Clare native, who is battling a brain tumour, these are part of normal life. Sixteen-year-old Labhaoise Fitzgerald has had brain surgery twice, as well as gruelling rounds of follow-up treatment. As well as cocooning and keeping up with her studies, Labhaoise is undergoing chemotherapy at her home in Tulla. She is also taking time out to raise funds for the Barretstown charity, which runs medically-supported holiday camps for sick children at its base in Kildare. Like all charities, Barretstown is facing a major shortfall in its funding and urging people to send a ‘virtual hug’ donating €2 in the process. Labhaoise was recently chosen as the Clare ambassador for the initiative and took part in a video with fellow ‘campers’ sending their virtual hugs to friends, family and frontline medical staff. “Barretstown picked a camper from every …

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Spike in Illegal Dumping and Littering in East Clare

DUMPING and littering in East Clare have prompted calls from community organisations for more to be done to tackle the issues. While the Tidy Towns competition has been called off for this year, community leaders say they are still determined to address persistent littering in their areas. In Mountshannon, which scooped a national Tidy Towns title in 1981 and a Bronze Medal last year, large-scale dumping of household waste has been a recurrent issue. Joanne Dunphy-Allen, Co-Chairperson of Mountshannon Community Council said that a recent incident had generated anger locally. “It is very maddening, particularly because the Scariff Recycling Centre is just down the road,” she pointed out. “We’ve had refuse scattered around the pier and someone even managed to dump a significant amount in at the back of the bottle banks. That would not be an easy thing to do. The community has been very quick to go in an clear up, but this shouldn’t be happening in the …

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Helpline Launched to Support Those Cocooning in East Clare

A DEDICATED helpline to support those cocooning and self-isolating in East Clare has been established. The service, which can be reached at 085-8659889 from 9am to 4pm, is designed to ensure anyone in need of help can access it through the East Clare Covid-19 Community Response Group. The group, which works in collaboration with Clare County Council, is made up of volunteers from Flagmount, Killanena, Feakle, Scariff, Tuamgraney, Ogonnelloe, Bodyke, Mountshannon and Whitegate, and the helpline has been set up to ensure greater coordination and a faster response for those in need. Jim Collins from Mountshannon, who is one of those responding to helpline calls, told The Champion there is now “an army of volunteers” in place. “The support has really been overwhelming,” he noted. “There has been an amazing willingness to help and we have members from every sports and social club as well as the community sector.” To-date, the volume of calls to the helpline has been manageable, …

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Cocaine seizure in Kilkishen

A quantity of cocaine was recovered by gardaí during a search of a house in the Kilkishen area last Friday. Gardaí carried out a search under warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act in a house and during the course of this search the drug, with an approximate value of €2,300, was recovered. Gardai in Clare have also reported since Monday of last week seven incidents of possession and one of cultivation or manufacture of drugs were detected. A total of 33 searches were carried out from Monday, April 20 to Monday, April 27.  

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Appeal over development planned for ‘landmark’ Tulla site

THE developers of a landmark site in Tulla have taken issue with a number of conditions imposed by county planners on a mixed-use residential, retail and commercial project proposed for one of the main approaches to the town. The €4.5 million development is one of a number of housing projects in prospect for Tulla, but the company behind it is now asking the planning appeals board to remove two conditions, which it considers to be overly restrictive. Woodhaven Developments Ltd. secured permission, last February, to develop the site of the former St Joseph’s Secondary School, which has been vacant for several years. The lands, which are just under three acres, and are owned by Woodhaven, are zoned for mixed use and identified by Clare County Council as an “opportunity site” on the outskirts of the town at the junction of Chapel Street and the R462. The Ennis-based company is proposing to construct a mixed-use building with two shops and two …

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