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New leadership role for Ennis friar

FR Hugh McKenna OFM, Guardian in Ennis Friary, has been elected leader of the Irish Province of Franciscan Friars. Fr McKenna will move to Dublin in August to take up his new post after he was elected the Minister Provincial at a meeting of 90 friars for their provincial chapter in Gormanstown, County Meath recently. Speaking to The Clare Champion about his new appointment, Fr McKenna said, “It’s a great honour and a privilege for me”.The 49-year-old was educated in the Franciscan College, Gormanston and entered the order in 1979, making his First Profession the following year. Ordained to the priesthood in 1989, he has served in a variety of ministries, including as formation director in St Isidore’s College, Rome. Fr McKenna follows in the footsteps of his predecessor Minister Provincial Fr Caoimhín Ó Laoide, also a former Guardian of Ennis Friary.Fr McKenna, a native of Foxrock in Dublin, has been living in Ennis for the past three years. And …

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Council thumbs up for out-of-town development

MEMBERS of Ennis Town Council have given their backing to the development of a large food store on the outskirts of the town.This week, councillors discussed the proposed variation 2 to the Ennis and Environs Development Plan 2008 – 2014. Among the amendments to the plan proposed by councillors were that a development site at the Limerick Road and Clonroadmore be, subject to assessment of retail impact, “a suitable location for a district centre scheme or a new large foodstore”.This was proposed by Councillor Frankie Neylon “in the interests of balanced retail development” and seconded by Councillor Michael Guilfoyle.The site is currently the subject of a planning application by Michael Lynch Ltd for a 7,000m2 retail development with 610 car-parking spaces. It is understood that, if granted planning permission, Tesco would occupy the site. Councillor Brian Meaney raised his concerns about the proposal to amend the development plan, saying, “Large out-of-town developments have been detrimental to towns across the UK …

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Munster stars join in fundraising bid for Cian

MUNSTER Rugby have lent their support to the August Bank Holiday Monday 6km run and walk in Kildysart in aid of the Cian Cleary Benefit Fund. The annual Dermot Power Memorial Run and Walk will start at 12 midday at Kildysart National School on Monday, August 4. “Last week, the fun run committee took a trip to UL where we met rugby players Jerry Flannery, Declan Cusack and Conor Murray,” the committee explained. “They graciously stood for a photo with us to help promote this great cause. We also hope that some of the Munster rugby team will take part in the fun run and walk. Cian’s parents, Jacko and Sheila, had been members of the festival committee for many years and brought so much to the festival. As we are so grateful for their efforts and energy they brought along with them, we would like to give a little back to them by donating the takings for the fun …

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An intercultural feast of sport, food and dancing at St Flannan’s

THE Clare Intercultural Festival will be held once again in Ennis this weekend. This will be the eighth year of the festival, which will take place in St Flannan’s College on Saturday from 11am to 3.30pm. There will be plenty of free activities for all the family to enjoy on the day and organisers are encouraging people to come along and have a go. For the first time in the festival’s history, Gaelic games will be among the activities. According to Alphonse Basogomba of the Clare Intercultural Network, as the festival continues to grow, there are even hopes of hosting the event over more than one day.Alphonse explained, “Every year, the festival is getting bigger and bigger and better and better. We have more and more people coming every year and more and more activities. The festival has been a great success since we started out in 2004. It started out very small and now it’s getting bigger, so much …

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Foundation Ministries offers a new helping hand

THE most vulnerable people in Ennis are being offered a helping hand of friendship as part of a recently launched initiative.On Sunday, Foundation Ministries Ennis launched their Friendship Centre offering support for the lonely, homeless and addicts who want to turn their lives around.The centre was officially launched by Deputy Mayor of Ennis Frankie Neylon as Foundation Ministries celebrated their 10th anniversary in the town.Chinwe Obadeyi of the church explained that in the past year, they have helped between 10 and 15 people through the centre.“This centre is about offering friendship and training to people who are homeless, those battling with alcohol or people who are just lonely for whatever reason. This isn’t an unmanned drop-in centre. We have opening hours and trained volunteers who are here at all times. This is for people who are willing to work with us to add meaning to their lives. We are here for people who want the help, seven days a week …

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Saddest call for Atlantic rower

SURROUNDED by crashing waves, miles from any sign of civilisation, oarsman Sean McGowan made the one call he wished he would never have to make – to tell his wife goodbye. Twenty-three days before, Sean had set out on an epic journey to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean but with his boat taking in water after being caught up in the tail end of a storm, his thoughts were only with his wife and four children. Thankfully, both Sean and his boat, Tess, made it out of the storm in one piece to carry on the exhausting journey and return to his family. This Saturday at the Clarecastle Regatta, Sean will recall just some of his amazing adventures from his time at sea.It is now just over a year since Sean made it to Antigua  in the West Indies after 118 days at sea. He said, “I didn’t mark the anniversary, it just takes so much out of you …

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Water-based amenities sought by 2020

THE development of a ‘Venice in Ennis’ with water-based amenities, a League of Ireland soccer team, pedestrianisation, covered streets and a third-level education campus are just some of the facilities the people of Ennis want to see in their town by 2020, according to a recent project.Earlier this year, researchers from the UL Practicum Programme set out to investigate what vision the people of Ennis have for the town for 2020. This would then be used to support the development of a plan for Ennis as a hub town in line with the National Spatial Strategy.The study, Ennis 2020 People, Place, Potential, was carried out in partnership with Ennis Town Council and the University of Limerick and was supported by Clare Active Citizenship Network.The opinions of over 300 people were accessed during the research, the results of which were outlined at this week’s meeting of Ennis Town Council.Dr Chris McInerney of the University of Limerick explained the study provides perspectives …

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Too late to change Icarus’ location

ICARUS won’t be landing at a new home at the Clareabbey roundabout, despite calls from Councillor Mary Howard to relocate the famous sculpture on the roundabout leading into the town.Speaking at this week’s meeting of Ennis Town Council, Councillor Howard stated, “This sculpture is of incredible importance having been created by John Behan, who has worked in the United Nations among other places. “Ennis has a really nice skyline that is very pleasing to the eye and I believe that if Icarus was nicely lit, it would be lovely to see on the gateway into Ennis.”However, Eddie Power, town clerk explained it is intended to relocate Icarus to the Rocky Road roundabout on the western relief road, as decided by the council previously.“The appointment of a contractor to carry out the necessary supporting foundation for this sculpture has been approved. It is intended that the work to facilitate the relocation of this sculpture is to commence shortly,” he said.Councillor Tommy …

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