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Sheepdogs demonstrate social distancing in the Burren

WITH strict Covid-19 social distancing guidelines still in place, John Davoren has trained his famous sheepdogs at Caherconnell cashel fort in the Burren to demonstrate the concept. It makes for interesting viewing in an online Facebook video for those who might be contemplating visiting the award-winning visitor attraction after it reopens next week. The Border collies separate the sheep into small groups and get them to stay there no matter what distractions there might be. Farming in an area where his family has lived for centuries, John began training dogs, teaching a variety of dogs to work with both sheep and cattle when he was a teenager. Unable to open for 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic put the country into lockdown, John now has everything at the ready to allow visitors walk through the ancient stone fort and see the sheepdog demonstrations without any worries of being too close to anybody else but family members. His unique enterprise attracts people …

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East Clare Buddhist Centre Reaches Community Online

THE woodlands nestled along the The 12 O’Clock Hills, in East Clare, might seem a world away from the tropical forests of Thailand, but both provide inspiration for reflection and retreat from the world. And, tucked away along the woodland trails, a stone’s throw from Kilkishen, the Sunyata Buddhist Centre is dedicated to teaching a form of meditation associated with the Thai Forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism. As well as welcoming a growing community of Irish Buddhists, in pre-pandemic times, the centre regularly welcomed Buddhist monks from South East Asia on retreat during the rainy season from July to October. Like all places of religious practice, the centre shut down in response to the coronavirus and has also succeeded in reaching its community and keeping activities going on-line. “In ordinary times, people would be welcome to visit the centre at any time, outside of the dates when retreats would be going on,” explained Heike Griffin, a member of the Sunyata …

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New West Clare Cathaoirleach Optimistic About Region’s Recovery

WEST Clare must stand ready to capitalise on the opportunities coming its way, despite the challenges of Covid-19, according to the new Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District. Councillor Joe Garrihy said that while 2020 would be a difficult one, in light of the pandemic, there was strong potential to develop West Clare if members work together on strategically important projects. “It is a challenging time for the district in terms of tourism, agriculture and the overall recovery from the impact of Covid-19,” the Fine Gael member noted. “We have a great team, but we will need help from central government and strong representation. We will also need to diversify and end our over-reliance on tourism.” Councillor Garrihy, who was elected last year as a first-time member of the local authority, identified opportunities in the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the investment in climate change projects. “Sustainable energy projects will be possible across West Clare,” he noted. “A new town …

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Clare Bus Hope Covid Restrictions Won’t Impact on Tender Plans

LIMITS on the number of passengers who can safely use public transport could have implications for the ability of Clare Bus to tender for nine local transport routes. Earlier this month, the National Transport Authority (NTA) sought Expressions of Interest for the routes, which had been operated by Clare Bus until the end of March. Due to a funding dispute, the Feakle-based accessible transport service lost a total of 12 routes and is hopeful of being able to tender again for nine of them. The chairperson of Clare Accessible Transport (CAT), which trades as Clare Bus, told The Champion the board would have to examine the tender documents in detail before making an application. “We have expressed our interest and the next step is that the NTA will issue nine individual tender calls,” he said. “We expect to receive those this week, but until we look at them, we don’t know exactly what will be required. Once the management team …

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Investment in walking and cycling will have a positive impact says Better Ennis

A NEW Ennis based community group advocating for “healthy and happy streets” believe investment in walking and cycling infrastructure in the proposed Programme for Government will have a positive impact on public health and the local economy. The proposed Programme for Government includes a ring-fenced investment of €360m in walking and cycling infrastructure throughout Ireland. Better Ennis have welcomed what it describes as a “serious investment” in active travel infrastructure. The Programme for Government includes the commitment to develop a national network of greenways – not only as tourist amenities, but designed and implemented so that they can be used by students, commuters and people enjoying cycling as their daily physical exercise. There is a focus on increasing the numbers of children walking and cycling to school and Better Ennis say will have a “huge positive impact” in reducing traffic within Ennis town. “It is important that the active travel infrastructure is well designed, implemented, and maintained, and in that …

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Calls for ‘socially distant’ community space at Ennis Market

ENNIS’ Market Building could be used to create a ‘socially distant’ community space where locals and visitors can sit down and enjoy food and beverages, it has been suggested. Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council Councillor Clare Colleran-Molloy believes that the building could be used to support efforts within the town to promote social distancing in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The transformation of the Ennis Market would also provide a boost to local restaurants by providing additional seating. The idea is now set to be brought to the stakeholders group involved in the Temporary Ennis Town Centre Mobility Plan for review. Councillor Colleran-Molloy proposed the idea for developing a seating area in the market at a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District. She explained, “As it will be a while before we will be back up and running, and based on contributions received from the public, I would ask that the Market Building be utilised as a …

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Locals Raise Concerns Over East Clare Wind Farm Consultations

CONCERNS are being voiced in Bodyke about the nature of the consultation process surrounding a multimillion Euro wind farm proposed for the slopes of Slieve Bernagh in East Clare. In recent weeks, a Facebook page, called ‘Bodyke Voice on Wind Farm’ has been set up by people in the community to facilitate discussion. One of those raising awareness of the project, Susan McMahon of the Cobbler’s Rest, has used the page to publish responses from the developer, Coillte, to a series of detailed questions, some of which focus on a perceived lack of consultation with the wider community. “I have no agenda on this,” Ms McMahon told The Champion. “I’m not trying to rally the forces or influence people one way or another on this project. I’m not against green energy, I’m in favour of it, but, I do feel we have been brushed aside in terms of consultation.” The publican outlined how she had learned, by word of mouth, …

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CCTV cameras needed at Drumcliff Cemetery due to “demented and disrespectful” behaviour

GRIEVING families are “distraught” and feel their deceased loved ones are being “forgotten about” after being buried in part of Drumcliff cemetery. While reports of items disappearing from graves in the older section of the cemetery has been condemned as “appalling and upsetting” sparking calls for CCTV cameras to be installed. Councillor Mark Nestor, speaking at a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, urged works are needed to improve the layout of the burial ground and provide greater connectivity between the old and new sections. He pointed out that there is a row of trees acting as a barrier between two sections. He outlined that people who have family members buried in Drumcliff are “in a very, very bad way and are very distraught at the layout of the graveyard.” He said, “Those who have people buried in the new section feel very much they have been forgotten about and left out. If you look at the whole row of …

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