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IW back under the public microscope

Irish Water (IW) is under scrutiny once again following a stream of complaints about sewage overflowing in Shannon last year. A new “damning” report about environmental breaches concerning the Shannon Wastewater Treatment Plant and foul network has prompted renewed pressure on government to sanction an estimated €24 million for a major upgrade of the Shannon plant and foul network. The 2015 Annual Environmental Report for the Shannon Wastewater Treatment Plant outlined a steady flow of complaints about sewage overflows from January 16, 2015 to December 31 last. They included 11 complaints about sewage overflowing from a manhole, six into gardens, one onto a street and one through a wall. All the complaints related to blocked sewers, which required action to unblock manholes. In the case of sewage overflowing into one garden on January 29 last, a CCTV survey was undertaken and repair was scheduled in the first quarter of this year. One of 28 environmental complaints concerning blocks sewers in …

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€30m investment plan in Clare solar power

Plans have been unveiled for the development of six solar farms, which could result in €30 million renewable energy investment in the county over the coming years. County Clare could become a leading generator of solar powered energy with the announcement that the county’s first solar farm is to be located at Ballymorris in Cratloe, just off the N18 Ennis-Limerick road. The 12.4 hectare solar farm will be connected to the national grid and will generate enough electricity to power 1,200 homes over a 25-year period. Following a number of pre-planning meetings with the local authority, Terra Solar will lodge its first planning application to develop a solar farm at its Ballymorris site in the coming weeks. The company has selected six sites that all share certain common characteristics and have applied in each case for grid connection to ESB Networks. Requiring an investment of €5 million apiece, the six sites in the Shannon area will provide enough electricity to …

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St Flannan’s students hoping for blast off

FOUR Clare students have taken one giant leap by coming first in their category for a major international competition ran by NASA. The St Flannan’s students have come top in the senior small team category in the NASA/Ames Space Settlement Design contest. They now have a chance to present their ideas in front of an audience of scientists and those in the space industry at the International Space Development Conference in Puerto Rico next month. Some of the biggest names in space exploration will be at the five-day conference, including astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Eoghan Keane, Kieran Maher, Sean Donnelly and Jason Herbert designed a settlement for thousands of people in the asteroid belt that lies between Mars and Jupiter. Their innovative design, orbiting around the dwarf planet Ceres, features agricultural, residential and industrial areas to support 10,000 people. The students worked with teachers John Conneely and Grainne O’Brien, with support from Michael Horgan, on the project. As well as facing …

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Hayes not canvassing for Seanad seat

ALTHOUGH the name of Pat Hayes will appear on the ballot papers that will issue on Monday for the forthcoming Seanad elections, the Clare county councillor will not be canvassing for election. Speaking to The Clare Champion, Councillor Hayes said that at this point in time and for personal reasons, it does not suit him to go forward. “I was honoured to get the nomination but circumstances this time didn’t allow me to canvass. I am very interested in being a candidate in the future,” he added. Last month, the East Clare councillor sought the nomination to the Seanad’s Agricultural Rural Development panel from the Irish Grain and Feed Association but then had a rethink and decided not to contest the seat. However, as the papers had been lodged, he could not formally withdraw. “I did seek the nomination and I did get a nomination and then I did seek to withdraw it. The system doesn’t allow you to withdraw …

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Snail mail take 45 years to reach Ennis

ENNIS businesswoman Mary Kelly, who operates a stationery and card shop on O’Connell Street, was rather surprised last week when a letter posted in Dublin 45 years ago dropped through her letterbox. The letter was addressed to the late Philip Reidy, the former owner of the premises. Along with his wife, Agnes Henchy Reidy, he ran a newsagency business from the building. Mr Reidy passed away in 1977. “The envelope was perfectly intact and the address was written in a nice fountain pen. The postal mark was April 7, 1971,” Mary told The Clare Champion. “I didn’t open it because there is a son of that man living in Celbridge. He said to me ‘open it’ but I said ‘no, no you have to open it’. It felt like it could have been a relic or a ten shilling note,” Mary mused. Celbridge-based Philip Ó Ríada, who is currently abroad, insisted however that Mary open the letter sent to his …

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Silicon Valley trip for Shannon’s young innovators

Everything from microchips inserted at birth to predict health problems to self-drive cars with workstations were imagined for a world 50 years from now as 700 students competed at the second Young Innovators competition at Shannon Airport. The students representing schools nationwide were set the tasks of imagining the world 50 years from now and coming up with new business ideas for then across six categories – how we Live, Work, Play, Shop, Learn and Travel. Top honours were claimed by St. Patrick’s Comprehensive, Shannon. The Irish Technology Leaders Group (ITLG) event, in association with LIT, saw the students mentored by representatives from some of the world’s leading companies including Dell, Intel, Analog, Johnson and Johnson, Cook Medical, Zagg and Logitech ahead of submitting their project. A short list of six schools – eventual winners St. Patrick’s Comprehensive, Shannon (Work category); Mary Immaculate, Lisdoonvarna (Play category, 2nd place); Patrician Academy, Mallow (Shop category, 3rd place); Salesian College, Limerick (Travel category); Castletroy …

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Young Innovators touch down at Shannon

Some 700 students will touch down in Shannon Airport on Wednesday morning to compete for the The Irish Technology Leaders Group (ITLG) Young Innovators title. The event starts at 10am in the terminal building and will see the students from 15 counties imagine the world 50 years from now in a competition to become Ireland’s ‘Young Innovators’ for 2016. Teams will be tasked with exploring how society will live, work, play, shop, learn and travel half a century away. The winning team will be announced at 4pm following a pitch by a shortlist of finalists and will walk away with not alone the ‘Young Innovators’ title but a dream trip to Silicon Valley, California courtesy of Aer Lingus. Students will have the opportunity over the course of the day to meet with and hear from experts from these companies as well as experts in future technologies from the third level sector. Mentors from industry will work with students on the day …

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Cliffs of Moher go underground

Millions of French commuters are seeing ads for Ireland, featuring the Cliffs of Moher, on large billboard posters as they pass through the busy metro stations of Paris. Tourism Ireland in France has teamed up with a leading online travel agent – Go Voyages – once again this year for a joint promotional campaign. Some 660 billboard ads are prominently displayed in metro stations across the French capital, grabbing the attention of commuters with beautiful images of the Cliffs of Moher and the Causeway Coastal Route and featuring attractive offers for a weekend break – reminding them why they should put the island of Ireland on their holiday wish-list for 2016. The campaign also includes advertising in Direct Matin (free daily newspaper), radio ads on the Chante France radio station, online advertising and a dedicated Ireland page on the Go Voyages website. Elmagh Killeen, Tourism Ireland’s manager for southern Europe, said: “2015 was the third consecutive record-breaking year for French …

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