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New principal relishing future challenges

FOR Ennis’ newest school principal, the challenge of guiding Ennis Community College into the future is one he is looking forward to. John Cooke, originally from Thurles, last week took the helm of the secondary school, following in the footsteps of Matt Power who recently retired as school principal.Mr Cooke, who lives in Galway, has been teaching since 1995, and was previously principal of Scoil Phobail Mhic Dara in Galway’s Gaeltacht.“I was at Scoil Phobail Mhic Dara for almost three years, it was a much smaller school in a very rural setting. It was very nice but I just wanted a greater challenge and that’s why I am here. I’m really looking forward to the challenge here, particularly with all of the developments in the school and developments in education in the future. But I’m up to the challenge and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.However, the journey of Ennis Community College isn’t the only one Mr Cooke has …

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Putting the brakes on speeding

SPEEDING in the Gort Road Business Park is set to come to a halt with plans by Ennis Town Council to install ramps. Clare County Council and Ennis Town Council have been engaging with representatives of the Gort Road Business Park Action Committee in a bid to address issues at the park, a major employment location in the town.At a recent meeting of Ennis Town Council, councillors were informed of plans to install ramps similar to those recently installed at Ennis Golf Club.Ger Dollard, Ennis Town Manager outlined that the primary issue addressed in meetings between business park representatives and the local authorities related to the Flood Relief Scheme. The scheme was instigated to deal with issues experienced during the severe flooding in November 2009 when overflow from Lough Girroga resulted in severe flooding at the park. It is now complete, has been tested and is operating satisfactorily.Mr Dollard explained, “During the discussions, an issue was raised regarding the speed …

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A touching innovation for childcare

AN Ennis student is behind a business idea, which could revolutionise childcare management. Budding entrepreneurs Orlaith McMahon, from Drimeen, and her business partner, Mary O’Keeffe from Lixnaw, have developed a service allowing childcare staff to record information on a touch screen or tablet computer.

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LIT to set up Ennis faculty

LIMERICK Institute of Technology has set up a third level facility in Ennis. In a significant boost to the delivery of higher education in Clare, LIT has assumed control of the Ennis Regional Learning Centre. The project administrator of the renamed ‘LIT Clare – Ennis Learning Centre’ campus, which is one of three facilities providing third-level education in the county, said the move will help to widen participation in higher education in Clare by providing flexible and local access to third-level programmes.Announcing details of the 2012 Higher Certificate in Business Computing, Anne Griffin said the centre would seek to provide participants with qualifications in a sector that will continue to require suitably qualified graduates in the years ahead.According to Ms Griffin, “The aim of this higher certificate programme is to give students an educational experience that will provide them with a knowledge base in a variety of learning streams related to business studies and computer applications. The programme also will …

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Holy Family’s One Small Voice wins national music award

  TWO local schools struck a chord with the judges of a prestigious music competition taking first and second prize in the national finals this week.Holy Family Senior School was named the winner of the Waltons Music for Schools competition for primary schools after performing their rendition of One Small Voice in Dublin’s National Concert Hall on Monday. And coming in second place with their own original composition Unfinished Seasons was Knockanean National School . Both schools were among 12 finalists, six primary and six secondary, performing at the concert hall in the first annual national competition celebrating music in schools.Holy Family’s 77 strong choir, with 11-year-old soloist Andrea Sheahan, wowed the judges at the finals with director of the Waltons New School of Music John Mardirosian telling The Clare Champion, “We were very impressed by Holy Family Senior School, on behalf of the organisers, I would like to thank them for participating in this competition. To have two Clare …

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Dearbhla’s app takes third place

DEARBHLA Edwards Murphy, a third-year pupil at Kilrush Community School finished third in the Green Dragon Agri Aware Innovation Challenge 2012 final, which was held at Croke Park last week.The competition was a search for Ireland’s most innovative pupils, who exhibited their ideas and concepts for new products and services for the agriculture, food, environment and health and safety sectors.From over 300 entrants to the regional finals in Athlone, Dearbhla’s project was included in the final five in the health and safety section.Dearbhla’s project was a smart phone application alerting users to the presence of carbon monoxide via a bluetooth connection to a wireless network in the home. The app alerted the smart phone user, issued instructions on the emergency of the situation, informed the user of the appropriate immediate action to be taken and contacted emergency services dialling 999.The judges were Jim Power, economist; Ella McSweeney, RTÉ; Hedi Corr, Dublin Innovation Centre and Eugene Heary, winner of the Apprentice …

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Wheeling in coach tourism

ATTRACTING coach-based tourism to Ennis is the key to boosting tourism and job prospects in the town with a possible tourist spend of €500,000 a week, according to a local councillor.Councillor Johnny Flynn has urged Ennis Town Council to push their plans to promote coach tourism and to create even more coach park spaces.It was announced by the local authority last week that additional bus and coach parking spaces have been allocated in the Friars’ Walk area of the town centre, next to the Clare Museum. The move has been widely welcomed by local businesses and coach providers, who expect a boost to the amount of coaches visiting the town.Ennis Town Council are also investigating a number of other capital projects including the development of a dedicated bus park equipped with maintenance facilities for tour operators. The provision of five additional coach spaces at Friars’ Walk is the first in a two-phase tourism strategy by Ennis Town council to attract …

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Ennis law firm nominated for prestigious award

A WELL-known Ennis law firm has been named as a finalist in the National Irish Bank Law Awards 2012. Michael Houlihan & Partners i is up for an award in the Munster Provincial Law Firm category at this year’s event. The inaugural National Irish Bank Irish Law Awards 2012 will take place on Friday, May 4 at an awards luncheon in The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, and will be hosted by leading current affairs broadcaster, Miriam O’Callaghan.Over 100 legal firms, individuals, law schools, and legal departments within the corporate sector were nominated for the National Irish Bank Irish Law Awards 2012.  The nominations were judged, and finalists were selected after deliberation by an adjudication panel of leading national and international legal experts, headed by chairman, Dr Eamonn Hall.  Dr Hall is principal of EG Hall & Co, former chairman of the Law Reporting Council for Ireland and currently a board member of the Irish Centre for European Law and member of …

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