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Ennis seeks Purple Flag for a safer town

MOVES are underway to make Ennis the first town outside of the UK to be awarded a Purple Flag, recognising excellence in the management of safe town centres at night.While applications for the accreditation scheme are not currently being accepted from Ireland, the initiative has been the subject of discussion by members of Ennis Town Council. Public representatives, Ennis Chamber of Commerce and members of the business community have now come out in support of the Purple Flag accreditation process to achieve a safe, appealing, well-managed town centre.Ennis town councillors and officials recently undertook a project to find out what the views and concerns of Ennis residents were, with safety being one issue highlighted.This visioning initiative, called Ennis 2020, was supported and executed by the staff and volunteers from the University of Limerick. In addition, Ennis people asked for greater variety of night-time activities. The detailed findings of that community visioning project were presented to the Municipal Policy Committee and …

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Celebrating Ned’s 30-year service to community

NED Keane is a well-known name across East Clare, with most people familiar with the great work he has done for Raheen Hospital as chairman of the hospital support group but now, in his 93rd year, he has decided to step down from the position.The Flagmount man is a founder member of the Raheen Hospital Support Group. He has been chairman for 30 years. In that time he, together with his active committee, has delivered on a day centre, a short-term stay unit, a bus service and specialised respite beds, to name a few projects, for the East Clare facility.Ned has been named as honorary president of the support group as he hands over the reins as chairman to his friend and co-founder of the organisation, William McLysaght.His time as chairman will be celebrated this Friday as Ned prepares to celebrate another milestone in his life, that of his 93rd birthday.Speaking to The Clare Champion this week, Ned recalled the …

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Council looks to attract tourists by the coachload

ENNIS Town Council is engaging with local tourism operators and the Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC) to identify the need for coach-parking facilities in the town.Eamon O’Dea, town engineer confirmed talks are ongoing between the local authority and the operators to determine whether additional facilities are needed in Ennis.This comes after concerns that Ennis is losing out to other tourist towns when it comes to attracting visitors. At a recent meeting of the council, Councillor Johnny Flynn called for the urgent provision of a number of coach drop-off points in the town. He also urged that coach parking be provided at the Temple Gate car park, that facilities be provided for coach drivers to maintain the coaches, rest facilities for drivers and that the local authority work with other groups in a bid to increase coach based tourism.According to Councillor Flynn, “This is such a great town, the town centre was voted in the top 60 in …

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John’s high-vis message goes online

TWO lucky escapes on the county’s roads have prompted local business man, John O’Connor to put safety first, and he is encouraging others to follow suit.John, from Custy’s Music Shop has just launched a new website www.safeandseen.net, showcasing a variety of innovative equipment sourced from all over the world designed to help walkers and cyclists be safe.He has also begun speaking to schools about the importance of being safe on the roads, especially with the evenings drawing in. “I have four kids and everybody wants their kids to be able to walk safely and be seen, especially in winter. And kids pass the safety message onto their parents so hopefully it will spread,” he said.This isn’t the first time John has branched out from the music business to promote safety. Last year, he sourced a novel shoe cover, which allowed locals to get to grips with the icy conditions.“This new venture is really a progression on that safety theme. And …

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Fears over flood risk areas

UP to 10 areas around Ennis have not been included as probable areas for further assessment as flood-risk zones in a new national assessment, Clare County Councillor, Johnny Flynn has claimed.The Office of Public Works (OPW) has issued its Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA) to Clare County Council for public consultation, which is regarded as an important first step in determining how flood risk will be assessed and managed in the future.Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) is an OPW-led  programme to identify areas of potentially significant flood risk and consult with the public in 2011, prepare flood maps by 2013 and flood risk management plans by 2015.From analysis of the PFRA draft flood risk map, Ennis has been included as a probable area for further assessment (AFA) as flood risk.  Councillor Flynn has claimed the extent of areas at risk identified are inadequate as the designation of Ennis appears to be for river and/or tidal flooding only. “The …

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