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Mountshannon man funds leading edge research on marine microplastics

A MOUNTSHANNON man’s innovative start-up company is funding ground-breaking research on marine microplastics, with a view to proving how prevalent the issue is. Dr Alvin Orbaek White, who works at Swansea University, has pioneered a technology that changes waste plastic into valuable compounds for the energy industries, reducing plastics pollution in the process. The research will be instrumental in addressing the global transition to more efficient, cleaner energy resources and providing a new life for waste plastics, keeping them out of land and sea. Dr Orbaek White’s company TrimTabs is supporting research currently underway in Barcelona where artist and boat builder Mark Reddan is working with marine scientists to look at how plastics are entering the food chain. “Part of what we want to do is to get our technology out of the lab and addressing the issue of microplastics which are in everything from our tea to our washing machines,” Dr Orbaek White said. “There’s an annual currach festival …

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‘Boom back’ for roads funding in East Clare

A KILLALOE area councillor has welcomed the return to “the era of Bertie Ahern” in terms of spending on roads in Clare, following a significant increase in funds for the 2021 Schedule of Municipal District Works. At last week’s meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District, Senior Engineer John Leahy outlined how a total of €5.6m will be spent on roads in the area and noted an increase of 15% on the figure for 2020. An additional €4m will go towards the Killaloe bypass and crossing project. After Mr Leahy unveiled the total budget of €34.5m for Clare, €28m of which will go on the existing roads network, the senior engineer noted that for this was the first time the total annual allocation had significantly increased on the figure for 2008. “We had €31m at that time,” he said. “2008 was the end of the Celtic Tiger and the last time we had substantial grant funding, so we take that as …

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Action needed on ‘disgraceful’ activities at 12 O’Clock Hills

An East Clare councillor has branded as “disgraceful and outrageous” the situation at The 12 O’Clock Hills in terms of illegal dumping and anti-social behaviour. Councillor Joe Cooney made his comments at the recent meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District when he called for a barrier to be erected to address issues including fly-tipping, theft, bike-scrambling and other unauthorised and illegal activities in the area. The Fine Gael member proposed that the barrier might be put in place on the link road between at Torpey Hurleys and the R471 at Oatfield Church. He stressed that this would only be done after consultation with householders, landowners, The 12 O’Clock Hills committee and Coillte. “There is a major issue with unlawful dumping and anti-social behaviour,” he said. “There’s a lot of concern over what’s going on at The 12 O’Clock Hills. A number of different groups have approached us and made an appeal to stop these illegal activities.” Councillor Cooney outlined how …

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Thriller stars share love of North Clare landscape

STARS of RTÉ’s hit drama Smother have shared their impressions of the rugged North Clare coastline, and its role in creating the atmosphere for what has been described as a ‘Celtic Noir’ thriller. Thomas Levin and Hazel Doupe, who play father and daughter Carl and Ingrid Jensen, were among the stellar cast involved in RTÉ’S Smother which was shot last year in the Lahinch area. The six-part series follows the fortunes of the Ahern family in the aftermath of the suspicious death of patriarch Denis. His wife Val (Dervla Kirwan) is in a new relationship with Carl, but Denis seems to be able to keep his grudge against them going from beyond the grave. After being cast as Carl, Thomas, whose TV credits include the Danish hit Borgen and Channel 4’s Norskov, travelled to Ireland to join the cast. “It was my first time in Ireland and North Clare and it was fantastic waking up and going to work there …

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Tourism businesses in North Clare hit back over Facebook furore

BUSINESSES in Doolin have sought to distance themselves from a tourism website that caused anger with an ill-judged April Fools Facebook post on the topic of suicide. A co-operative of local businesses called Doolin Tourism has stated it has nothing to do with the Visit Doolin website which caused an outcry on social media that has grown over two days. The group also outlined how several attempts to have Facebook take the Visit Doolin site down have fallen on deaf ears. In a statement Doolin Tourism said it was the only official organisation that promotes Doolin as a destination and has no connection with the Visit Doolin page whatsoever. “Doolin Tourism is the only page that represents Doolin and its businesses and strongly condemns the words and actions of the imposter,” the statement read. “It has been a long, continuous battle for Doolin Tourism and our community to get the offending page and its other associated pages removed permanently, as …

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Stumbling block for Scariff social homes scheme

A MULTI-MILLION euro social housing development for Scariff has hit a hitch, after questions were raised over its proposed density by the Department of Housing. Councillor Pat Burke sought an update on the status of the project at the recent meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District. Director of Services Ann Haugh, who also heads up the Social Development Directorate, outlined the current situation with the planned development at Ballyminogue. “We have encountered a slight delay,” she told the meeting. “We made a Stage 2 application to the department, but it was return to us not approved. We have had to go back and look at densities and other issues. There are certain aspects of the plans which will have to be reviewed.” Councillor Burke asked if any questions had been raised of the number of units in the estate, which was to 18 under the original plans. “Reducing the density and the overall footprint of the development might be conditions …

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Easter commemorations by order of The Peaky Blinders

This Sunday, the East Clare Memorial Committee will honour Fr. Seán Clancy, who in War of Independence, stood with his parishioners in Scariff. Historian Dr Tomás Mac Conmara reflects on his story and its connection to a famous British crime drama series. In season five of The Peaky Blinders, the main antagonist is a British politician called Oswald Mosley. It is the late 1920s and Mosely’s covert plans for a fascist revolution have been noted at the upper echelons of British power. Thomas Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy), has been approached by Winston Churchill, to eliminate the increasingly influential Mosley. This peculiar dramatization of real historical figures connects a global television phenomenon, to east Clare in 1921. In May that year, then twenty-five-year-old MP, Oswald Mosely spoke at length about the town of Scariff in the British House of Commons. He underlined reports that the local Catholic Priest, Fr Seán Clancy had been denied the right to celebrate mass for …

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Clare boutiques make Old Ground their catwalk on RTÉ show

ENNIS boutiques had their day in the sun this week when a fashion piece for the Today Show shot in the county town was aired. Celia Holman Lee and models Asta and Anne were in the Old Ground Hotel with an RTE crew last Friday showcasing clothes and footwear from The County Boutique and Nozomi Shoe Boutique. All the style is available from their online boutiques, as shops are still shut during the pandemic. “We were delighted to welcome Celia to Ennis, as we have worked with her over the past 30 years or more,” said Gwen Culligan of the County Boutique. “She is such a positive person and definitely brought her glamour to Ennis for the day.” Of the location Gwen remarked that the Old Ground Hotel would normally be too busy for a fashion shoot and they were glad of the opportunity to showcase the hotel and garden, in the very heart of Ennis. “We are so looking …

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