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Gaelcholáiste’s future at a critical juncture

A survey on the future of Gaelcholáiste an Chláir, which stands on the campus of Ennis Community College, indicates very strong support for the availability of Irish-medium education at second-level.It also indicates strong support for moving the Gaelcholáiste to its own campus, while a minority favours either independent status and remaining on the current campus or staying as it is, a unit operating within the community college.The survey was conducted by County Clare Vocational Education Committee, with the assistance of an external researcher, to assess the demand in the county for second-level education entirely through Irish.As a unit of the community college, the latter a DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) status school in the centre of Ennis, the Gaelcholáiste has 137 pupils and an average yearly intake of 30, three-quarters of whom transfer from the Gaelscoileanna throughout the county.The survey report was presented to the October meeting of the VEC but a decision on the matter was deferred …

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Trading business between punches

This time last year, Michael O’Halloran and Mark Sillman were two of the boxers training for the first Clare Conquest fight night.  Both men had previously boxed and found the return to the sport motivating, energising and familiar. They enjoyed the training, the camaraderie and the welcome return to a fitness they had let slide in recent times.   In fact, they had never met and had no idea that in their efforts to support local causes, they would form a friendship that would become a business partnership within months.  As they trained, they recognised that many of their fellow boxers were interested in continuing the training after the charity event, that it was a lifestyle choice that all ages could enjoy and that boxing for fitness was here to stay.  The seed of a business proposition was sown between punches and after an exciting fight night last November Fitness Boxing Ireland (FBI) came into existence. Mark and Michael undertook a …

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Ballyea rallies to help child with rare disorder

THE community of Ballyea have come together in a bid to raise funds to help a local six-year-old with a rare genetic disorder. Little Eimear Power, who attends Ballyea National School, was diagnosed with a chromosomal abnormality when she was two-and-a-half. It is hoped that money raised from a greyhound night at Limerick Greyhound Stadium this Friday will allow Eimear access therapies that would lead to a better quality of life for her.Eimear’s mother Teresa, the family, husband, Gerry, and their two other daughters, have been “overwhelmed” with the support Eimear has received from the local community.She explained her daughter’s condition is very rare, with the initial signs there when she was just a few hours old. Teresa recalled, “When she was born, within 24 hours there were things wrong but nobody could tell us the cause until she was two-and-a-half and the geneticist in Crumlin gave us a diagnosis. Her condition is very rare. There were children out there …

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Trad Festival – good for business but all about the music

THE Ennis Trad Festival is set to bring a welcome €1 million boost to the region when it kicks off this November. Tens of thousands of music lovers are set to descend on Ennis next month for the festival.According to John Rynne, Ennis Trad Festival director, “I’ve been talking to publicans and hoteliers here about figures and the festival is definitely worth a million plus to the region every year. This would be between accommodation, drink sales, food, taxis, everything factored in. We have an enormous number of people flying in from abroad and a lot of these people would be coming for a week to the region. And what they might spend at the festival isn’t the entirety of what they would spend in the region as a result of the festival.”He added, “From a commercial point of view, the pub trade and hotels have all been hit with the recession and with winter coming in and November, with …

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Window shopping with a difference this weekend

THERE will be plenty of model behaviour in Ennis this Saturday with shoppers having the chance to go window shopping with a difference as part of an innovative plan to showcase some of the town’s fashionable flair.A number of local boutiques have come together to display their styles in a very different way. A shop window on O’Connell Street will be transformed this Saturday with live mannequins modelling outfits from boutiques throughout the town.The event has been organised by Nicola Danagher along with Fiona Allen. Nicola explained, “We were just trying to come up with something a bit different that would attract people to come into Ennis and see just what this town has to offer, to get people to come back onto the streets and shop here. We have a wide range of styles and ages and something to suit all. We think this is a unique event and a change from the norm. This is a non-profit event, …

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Keeping safe this Hallowe’en

LOCAL schoolchildren were given some important lessons in Hallowe’en safety by members of Ennis Gardaí and Clare Fire Service in the lead-up to the holiday weekend.Pupils in schools across Ennis and its environs were told about the dangers and the laws surrounding fireworks and bonfires as part of Operation Tombola 2011. Gardaí and members of the fire service visited a number of schools, including Barefield National School, Inch National School, Coláiste Muire and CBS.Community Garda Deirdre O’Doherty explained, “This was about educating them about the dangers associated with fireworks and bonfires. This is a very important message for the children. We want people to be able to have fun at Hallowe’en but to do so safely and to consider others and to remember the laws in relation to using any fire or explosive item.”The students were shown a DVD and photographs of injuries that have been received as a result of fireworks and bonfires and urged to be careful.Both the …

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Tidy Towns to join Fr John in Ecuador

FORMER Ennis priest, Fr John Molloy will be welcoming some of his old friends from the town to his new home in Monte Sinai, Ecuador in the coming days.Donal Griffin, Noel Crowley, JJ and Ann Counihan  from Ennis Tidy Towns will be heading off to South America where they will be helping Fr John with his ongoing work helping the poorest of the poor. It’s been a busy few weeks for Fr John. Bishop of Killaloe Kieran O’Reilly has just visited his Ecuador parish, while he has also welcomed his friend, Fr Malachy Murphy from Armagh. He has just said goodbye to Pat Collins, from Shanaway Road, who has been assisting Fr John with different work in the parish including construction work.In the latest of his ’Champion updates on his time at the parish of El Bautismo de Jesus, Fr John recalls the “good memories” of the time he spent in Ennis and County Clare during his visit home over …

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Traffic pilot programme may be extended

A PILOT programme that has resulted in motorists slowing down on the Tulla Road could be extended to other parts of Ennis. At this week’s meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC), which outlined that crime figures for Ennis have decreased, town manager Ger Dollard spoke about the success of the traffic management pilot scheme.Electronic displays showing the speed at which cars are travelling were installed at four points on the Tulla Road by Ennis Town Council earlier this year.The data collected is to be forwarded to the gardaí, along with being used by the town council for road design. At the meeting, Mr Dollard confirmed the pilot scheme has been a success and consideration is now being made to extend the scheme to other areas of Ennis.At the JPC meeting, Chief Superintendent Peter Duff outlined that, in general, gardaí have seen a drop in reported crime levels in comparison to the same time period last year.The number of assaults …

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