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Puca artist says Clare council’s emoji-based survey will benefit naysayers

THE creator of the controversial Púca statue has expressed concerns that a Council online survey over the artwork “will give the naysayers an effective veto”, writes Gordon Deegan. Aidan Harte was commenting after Clare County Council launched the online survey to get the views mainly of the people of Ennistymon as to whether the Púca should be installed in the north Clare town. In launching the survey that comprises five questions about the Púca and its location, the Council state that its results “will guide Clare County Council and Fáilte Ireland in a final decision in relation to the proposed artwork”. In May of this year, the project was paused after a local outcry including parish priest, Fr Willie Cummins denouncing the bronze two metre high Púca from the altar at Sunday mass. The Council survey includes an option for participants to say how much they like or dislike the Púca by sliding a smiley face across a page. If …

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Toxic working environment at Coast Guard, claim Clare TDs

A TOXIC culture of bullying faces volunteers with the Irish Coastguard, two Clare TDs have claimed in the wake of the decision last week to stand down the Doolin unit. Six members of the north Clare unit resigned early last week, causing the unit to be benched. One source that is close to the Doolin Coastguard said that claims of “bullying and harassment” that led to the departure of the six volunteers from the unit was not caused by the 12 remaining members. Speaking in the Dáil, independent Michael McNamara said, “We need to get the Doolin Coast Guard unit reinstated but we need to address the issues that led us to where we are because the reality is there is a toxic working environment in the Coast Guard station in Doolin and there has been for some time. “Unfortunately it is not unique to Doolin; it exists the length and breadth of this country. There is a lack of …

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Pressure on minister to probe Doolin Coast Guard ban

PRESSURE is growing on Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to conduct an independent investigation into the reasons that resulted in the suspension of Doolin Coast Guard amid claims of “severe bullying and harassment” in the service, writes Dan Danaher. Doolin Coast Guard can no longer provide marine cover and medical assistance to casualties that get into difficulty in inaccessible locations from South Galway to Doonbeg after it was controversially stood down. Minister Ryan has been warned by Senator Martin Conway that “lives are being put at risk” over the “unacceptable decision” to stand down the unit, despite the expertise and experience of 12 remaining members. There has already been an emergency callout in the area, on Wednesday night, when the rescue helicopter 115 was tasked to a search in the north Clare area. That search resumed Thursday with the Kilkee unit tasked to assist. I wonder if the family of this woman are happy with the “eggs you’re breaking in order …

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Clare community launches biodiversity trail

SAINT FACHTNA’S holy well in Kilfenora is at the centre of a new biodiversity trail created to promote and showcase the area’s rich natural heritage. The trail, which was officially launched last week, has become a busy focal point for young and old, and is credited with bringing local people together to celebrate their history and heritage. Thanks to a successful funding application on the part of the Development Group, the Tidy Towns committee has been able to lead on the creation of the trail. “Kilfenora Tidy Towns group is very much a team effort and everyone contributes,” explained Donegal native Dena McGrath, who has made the North Clare village her home over the last two years. “The main umbrella group who has allowed us to access the funding is the Kilfenora Development Group, who themselves are newly established. “Niamh Wiley our North Clare Rural Development Officer has been a huge support to us in accessing funding and submitting our …

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Gardai renew appeal on identifying bodies found off Clare coast

GARDAÍ at Kilrush are renewing their appeals to the public for assistance in identifying the remains of three people whose bodies were recovered in recent years off the coast of County Clare. The first case concerns the body of a female recovered on August 14 2016, near Doolin by a member of the Burren sub-aqua unit in the course of a training exercise. The deceased was removed to the mortuary at University Hospital Limerick where a post-mortem was carried out. Following examination foul play was ruled out and a DNA sample was harvested. Partial clothing on the body included denim jeans bearing the label Esmara and another item of clothing which was purple in colour bearing a size tag 40/42. A black belt with a woven pattern was also recovered. The deceased has never been identified and was buried on January 3 2018 at Drumcliffe Cemetery in Ennis. In the second case, on July 30 2010, the body of man …

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Walking breaks prize for Lisdoonvarna hotel

A NORTH Clare hotel has scooped a top prize in the Good Hotel Guide 2022, and been recognised for excellence in promoting walking holidays. Sheedy’s Hotel in Lisdoonvarna has been awarded the ‘Editor’s Choice award for Walking Breaks’. It is the second time the hotel has received the award in the past two years. Sheedy’s is boutique four star hotel in the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark owned by John and Martina Sheedy. It is the only hotel in Ireland to receive the award for its two night walking break. Martina Sheedy who travelled to London to pick up the award on Monday said, “This award means so much to us, especially this year, with all the challenges we have faced due to the impact of the pandemic.” “We are delighted that we have won the award twice now; the first time was in 2020 and now again for 2022. What makes it even more special for …

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Clare food producers score at Blas na hÉireann awards

TWO Clare food producers tasted success on the national stage at the weekend landing awards in the prestigious Blas na hÉireann competition. The Burren Butcher, from Lisdoonvarna, won gold and best in county awards for their six ounce steak burger. The Hawes, Neil and Paula, who trade as The Burren Butcher, expressed their delight at being best in their category which is a competitive space. “We’re in nice company there,” Paula told The Champion, “with the likes of James Whelan and Dunnes Stores. “They’re a great award to get, very high-profile, so we’re thrilled. Hopefully this Gold Blas award and the award of Best in Co Clare will be a major boost to us , we are after all a busy family micro business and every little helps” Neil Hawes Craft Butchers began trading in 2008 and was a multi award-winning butcher based in Lisdoonvarna specialising in locally sourced Burren beef and lamb. The win, says Paula, is confirmation that …

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Strong showing by Doolin hotelier in short story contest

A DOOLIN hotelier has been honoured in a prestigious short story competition organised by RTÉ. Dónal Minihane, General Manager of Hotel Doolin, was named on Monday night as joint runner-up in the competition which honours the memory of the late writer, Francis MacManus. “It’s absolutely amazing to be recognised like this,” Dónal told The Champion. “It’s really great that people will read and hear the story. When writers sit down to write, we don’t expect many people to read our work, but still we do it. This is something that’ll help me to keep going when I’m up early on the dark winter mornings while everyone else is in bed.” ‘Windsea’ was unveiled on RTÉ Radio’s Arena on Monday night as joint runner-up and Dónal said he was delighted to get the call from producers to give him the good news. The piece was read on RTÉ by actor Aaron Monaghan on Wednesday night last, and the story is available …

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