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East Clare

SPA for birds raises concerns for tourism growth

TOURISM-related developments in areas such as Holy Island on Lough Derg could be adversely affected by a re-designation of a Special Protection Area (SPA) for birds, Mayor of Clare, Councillor Pat Hayes has warned.Councillor Hayes has expressed concern that the classification of all of Lough Derg as a SPA for birds will impose even more restrictions and obstacles for people who want to seek planning permission for new tourism enterprises on the shores of the lake.The mayor said people in West Clare were extremely concerned the SPA designation would hinder development on the Shannon Estuary.“Lough Derg is the equivalent of the Shannon Estuary for people in East Clare. I am not happy to see all of Lough Derg designated as an SPA. We don’t have too many areas open in East Clare for new projects and I don’t want to see any more obstacles being put in front of local residents and business people,” he said.He proposed at a recent …

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Up up and away for seaplane airport

All routes lead to Mountshannon from this week as it is the site of Ireland’s newest fully licensed airport, a development with multimillion euro potential for the region.  The Mountshannon base will be the primary location of operations for Harbour Flights Ireland seaplane operation, which is also Europe’s first European Aviation Safety Agency-approved float plane training facility. The Irish Aviation Authority presented the four-team partnership that makes up Harbour Flights Ireland with their licence at an event held at their base in Mountshannon on Tuesday. It is now expected that in three years’ time Harbour Flights will employ up to 60 people nationally. Ronan Connolly, a director with the company, has indicated that how much the seaplane operations is worth to the region depends on the level of support it gets locally. “It is speculative to come up with a figure but multi-million would not be an exaggeration,” he said. It took four years to get the idea off the …

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Literary award for O’Brien

Tuamgraney-born author Edna O’Brien has scooped the top prize at one of the world’s largest international short story awards this week for her book Saints and Sinners. O’Brien’s publication came out on top from the six shortlisted authors for the 2011 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award announced at a ceremony in the Metropole Hotel in Cork on Sunday. She is the first Irish author to scoop the €35,000 prize fund since it was established in 2005.The East Clare woman was one of two Irish authors shortlisted for the prestigious award, Colm Tóibín being the other, and she was up against American resident and Beijing-born Yiyun Li, Canadian debutante Alexander MacLeod, American debutante Suzanne Rivecca, and American author Valerie Trueblood. Born and raised in Tuamgraney, she has lived in London for many years.Since her debut novel The Country Girls, O’Brien has written over 20 works of fiction along with a biography of James Joyce and Lord Byron. She now adds …

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