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Residents of Summerhill ‘bearing unfair burden’ over mobility plan

ANGER has been expressed by those living on of one of the last remaining residential streets in the centre of Ennis, over the introduction of two-way traffic to facilitate the new mobility plan. Residents of Summerhill have told The Champion that the introduction of two-way traffic for the third time in recent years is the last straw in terms of noise, inconvenience and danger. Nancy O’Brien who has lived in the town since the 1950s said residents are frustrated and in fear. “We have gone along with everything, up to now, for the good of Ennis,” she said. “We had two-way traffic to facilitate works on Parnell Street and two All-Ireland Fleadhs, now we have just had enough. People are speeding through the area and won’t let residents out into the traffic. They’re coming through at all hours and parking and blocking people in all day.” Her son Brendan has made numerous representations to Clare County Council and said residents …

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Ennis at the heart of live-streaming revolution

COUPLES about to tie the knot in these trying times are being invited to consider their virtual options for inviting guests to their nuptials. An Ennis company is at the heart of a digital revolution, prompted by the pandemic, and has been live-streaming events of all kinds since the Covid-19 restrictions curtailed conferences, gigs, workshops and weddings. Crowdcomms, a company founded in Australia by Deirdre Brennick and Peter Hare set up its Irish headquarters in Clare, and prior to the pandemic, had been at the heart of a vibrant conferencing and events industry. The advent of the coronavirus, has prompted them, like so many companies, to pivot and to completely revolutionise their activities. Based in the Carmody Street Business Park, and working with the likes of the EPA, the Irish Cardiac Society and the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), the Irish team, comprised of Stephen McDermott, Stuart Hadden and Elaine O’Loughlin, has been instrumental in offering virtual events, live online. …

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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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Donate your unused bicycles and make a difference

CLARE County Council, in conjunction with Ennis Rotary Club, is bringing the Rotary Ireland School Bikes Africa project to Clare. The Rotary Ireland School Bikes Africa project, with the support of Clare County Council, gives members of the public across Clare the opportunity to bring their unwanted bicycles to the Central Waste Management Facility at Ballyduff Beg, Inagh. From there, Rotary Ireland will deliver the bicycles to the open prisons at Loughan House, County Cavan, and Shelton Abbey, County Wicklow, where they will be refurbished by prisoners. They are then shipped to Africa and distributed to school children, giving them the chance of a better future. To date, Rotary Ireland has delivered 4,000 bikes and therefore helped 4,000 children to get to school each day, but the work is far from done. At a launch event for the Rotary Ireland School Bikes Africa project, at the Central Waste Management Facility in Inagh, the Mayor of Clare, Councillor Mary Howard, welcomed …

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Council issues assurance over Ennis pedestrianisation measures

A STRONGLY-worded statement has been issued by Clare County Council, following concerns in some quarters about pedestrianisation measures in parts of Ennis. The local authority has moved to clarify that the initiative, which has seen the closure to traffic of the town centre’s main arteries, including O’Connell Street and Abbey Street, is a temporary response to the pandemic. In a press release, the council said that the Temporary Covid-19 Town Centre Mobility Plan for Ennis has been introduced “solely in response to Covid-19 and in line with Government guidelines on social distancing”. The statement comes in the wake of the authority’s recent decision to extend emergency road closures until early 2021 – a move which caused alarm in some sections of the town centre business community. The extension provoked criticism from one Abbey Street business owner who said the plans were more appropriate to Las Palmas or Fuengirola than an Irish market town. Noel Tierney of Tierney Cycles on Abbey …

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Sweet smell of success for childhood friends

TWO enterprising Ennis ladies put the long weeks of the lockdown to good use when they learned news skills and started their own business. Danielle Kenneally and Chantell Keane, who are long-time friends, and hail from Waterpark Heights and Hermitage respectively, both have day jobs that they love, but recently found that a shared passion for candle-making has inspired them to work towards building their own business. “We go back a long way,” said Chantell. “We spend a lot of time together and during lockdown, we decided that we would do some online training. We were interested in scented candles because we both love them and saw a gap in the market in terms of providing a great customer service.” The girls were soon putting their training and creativity to good use with the production of a special line of wax melts. “A wax melt is basically a wickless candle,” Danielle explained. “They’re fragranced and you melt them by putting …

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Sunny summer soundtrack on Ennis streets

THE streets of the town have come alive to the sweet sound of music, to the delight of locals and visitors alike, thanks to musician Damien Gormley and some very special friends. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Ennis singer-songwriter is bringing a lively set to the heart of the town, teaming up with the likes of Stockton’s Wing front-man Mike Hanrahan. “When the pubs closed I had two options,” Damien outlined, “sit and get depressed over having no music, or get a live Facebook gig going. I chose ‘option two’. I have played online on Saturday nights for the last 20 weeks and have gained an enormous following, from as far away as Australia tuning in every week. It’s fantastic. The people lifted my spirits and gave me hope.” That support inspired Damien to think beyond the lockdown and, when the economy started to re-open, he decided to get back out performing in real life. “Fast forward to Phase Two, …

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‘We need more dissenting voices,’ says emerging Ennis poet

AT 74-years of age Ennis man Martin Knox admits he left it rather late to start publishing poetry, but the trained chemist is certainly making up for lost time. After a fruitful working life, which took in stints at Syntex, later Roche; as well as teaching at some of the country’s most prestigious educational institutions, Martin made the leap into poetry and has just published his first book. Entitled, Words Without Song: Vignettes of Reflective Dissent and Childhood Reflections, the volume is a collection of over 100 poems which “go against the establishment” and give voice to Martin’s long-standing belief that the purpose of literature is to highlight uncomfortable truths. “Racism, poverty, mental health, corruption, environmental damage, the unequal distribution of wealth, suffering, those are some the main themes of my poems,” he said. “Writers should ask serious questions. For a long time, I didn’t have the time to write. When I retired, I found that time. So many questionable …

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