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Doonbeg marks centenary of double gold Olympian

OLYMPIAN Pat McDonald is being warmly remembered in his native Doonbeg, 100 years after he earned a place in the annals of sporting history, by winning a second gold medal. The Amsterdam Olympics of 1920 saw him reach the pinnacle of a long and illustrious sporting career. At over 40 years of age, when he took part in the world games in Holland, Pat McDonald still holds the honour of being the oldest Olympic track and field champion. Against rivals half his age, the towering 6’ 4’’ West Clare man was capable of throwing a weight of 56 pounds a distance of 11.26 metres, considerably further than his younger competitors. Former teacher Joe Hurley has a huge interest in Pat McDonald’s achievements and legacy, and has researched the story in great detail. The path the young Clare man followed was a well-worn one that took him from the rural west coast to the bustling and brash metropolis of New York, …

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Miltown volunteer on call to help during Level 5 restrictions

A FLEET of volunteer vans will be back out on the roads in West Clare supporting those who may need extra help as Level 5 restrictions return in an effort to control Covid-19. Miltown Malbay man Stephen Downes ran the initiative last March, and said that he hopes once again to support the community over the dark winter evenings. “People face new challenges this time around because we’re hearing into the long nights and cold days,” Mr Downes said. “There’s a lot of fear around and some people don’t like going out if they’re elderly or at risk. Once again, we’re offering to collect shopping for people and deliver it to their doors. We’ll drop around and pick up a list and do our best to help ensure that people are looked after.” The decision to go back out on the roads was prompted by news of the return to Level 5 restrictions. “We really need to try to pull together again,” he said. “People are feeling …

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Ennis councillors tell students they have their backs

THE Ennis Municipal District are being urged to put its back into supporting local students. Councillor Ann Norton has proposed that the local authority meet with students to hear first-hand about their experiences of heavy school bags and the effect it has had on their backs. Speaking at the monthly meeting of the council she stated, “There has been an enormous amount of students already suffer injuries and pains due to this issue and it is exactly this situation that will cause long term damage to our children’s backs. There is a body of international medical and academic research that supports the correlation between weight of school bags and lower back pain in adolescents. Can Ennis Municipal District look at supporting students to highlight this issue to the Department of Education and the Minister of Education? We should invite students in to tell us there experiences and look at the best way forward to look at reducing the weight of …

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Broadband frustrations increase for East Clare residents working from home

FRUSTRATION at poor broadband across large sections of East Clare has intensified as more people try to work and study from home in response to the pandemic. One Tulla resident has told The Champion of her efforts to improve her family’s service which has involved contacting ten different providers, to no avail. The women, who lives just a few kilometres from the town, is a customer with Eir and uses a mobile broadband dongle. “I originally had broadband through the phone line and the service was very poor,” she explained. “The mobile device is supposed to provide wireless internet for up to ten devices, but if you have any more than two connected, it is a disaster. I’m working from home and my daughter was in Leaving Cert, so her studies had to take priority. At best, the service is okay, but that’s all. It is affected by bad weather too, which doesn’t help.” After trying ten different service providers …

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Migraine suffers offered online support

THE devastating impact of migraine has prompted a West Clare woman to appeal to the public and the medical community to educate themselves about the condition, and to highlight the situation of those on public waiting lists who can face waiting up to two years to access diagnostic tests. Michelle is 36 years of age and has suffered debilitating migraines since her late teens. Her condition is so severe that she can have migraines for up to 25 days a month. She also experiences what are known as hemiplegic migraines. These cause symptoms similar to stroke and can involve inability to speak, loss of vision and partial paralysis. She has urged fellow sufferers to seek support from the likes of the Migraine Association of Ireland (MAI) and to advocate for treatment in cases where their GP or other medical professionals write off their symptoms as ‘just a headache’. Over the years, Michelle has been prescribed multiple kinds of treatments, none …

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Tulla employer pioneers staff wellness projects

OVER 400 employees at Beckman Coulter in Tulla, can look forward to adding an extra spring in their step – the company just opened a beautiful 5k nature trail and walkway at its farmland site. The biomedical device maker is situated on an 85 hectare farm that includes a number of lakes and the ruins of an old castle can be viewed– as well as a walled garden and hardwood forest. The site is also home to bees, bats and a wormery that helps to recycle water. The walkway was completed in time for World Mental Health Day, last Saturday, and Mental Health Week. Commenting, Site Director Orlaith Lawler said, “Our engineering and facilities team worked with our Environmental Health and Safety officers to put this in place. It offers all our employees a stunning new amenity where they can enjoy some relaxation, exercise and mindfulness.” The trail is part of a range of innovative new measures designed to help …

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Shannon food bank running out of supplies

A SHANNON food bank is set to close for most of the last two months of the year, because the demand for what it offers is too great. Feed Clare has been operating at the Kincora building in the Town Centre for some time, but last Friday was the first time it opened in three weeks, as it had run out of food to distribute. Local woman Karen Cassidy is involved in running Feed Clare and she explained why it hadn’t been open. “We ran out of supplies, we just have a bigger number of people coming in, so obviously we’ve been going through our supplies more quickly, so we had to close until our next delivery was due. We’re with Food Cloud and we’re allotted a certain amount every year, now we’ve applied for more credit from them, but we have to wait and see.” While a fresh delivery last week allowed it to reopen on Friday, she says …

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Quin residents say Knappogue and Craggaunowen have been ‘abandoned’

CONCERN in the Quin area over the ongoing closure of two local Shannon Heritage sites has prompted a call for an action committee to ensure their future. With the advent of the pandemic last March, five sites in Clare and Limerick faced an uncertain future, due to the collapse in overseas visitor numbers. Only Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and King John’s Castle in Limerick have managed to stay open after intense campaigns involving staff, unions and politicians, and a promise of funding from government – the exact details of which are still being ironed out. Ger O’Halloran of Quin, a businessman and former local election candidate, has pleaded with those responsible not to abandon Knappogue Castle and Craggaunowen, and called for a local action committee to be established. “To look at Knappogue now, it is locked up and unkempt looking,” he remarked. “The longer it is closed, the more it will cost to get it open again. To maintain …

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