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Fr Flann Responds to Covid Crisis with Online Grief Reflection

A CLARE-born Capuchin priest has produced a series of on-line reflections with messages of support and hope in challenging times. Fr Flann Lynch is a native of Quin and celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his priesthood earlier this month. A member of the Capuchin community, he spent much of his life in ministry overseas and worked with Mother Teresa of Calcutta, before returning to Ireland where he now lives at the Ards Friary in Creeslough, County Donegal. Inspired by the difficulties of the lockdown and ongoing Covid-19 crisis, Fr Lynch has most recently created a meditation for those experiencing grief. “I’ve called it ‘Grief, A Stepping Stone’ and it’s a response to the huge amount of suffering that is in the country at this time,” Fr Lynch said. “We have had a situation where people haven’t been able to be present at the death of loved ones, or to attend funerals in some cases. People have been telling their stories …

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Taking a loop around Gort

  WHILE work on Phase 1 of the Gort River walk has been delayed due to Covid-19, the overseeing development group has been busy planning Phase 2, which includes an upgrade to an old footbridge in Lavally. Phase 1 has been funded by the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS), but Phase 2 is looking to advance planning permission and depending on funds application for match funding using Rural Regeneration or ORIS schemes again. “There is so much potential for this amenity,” highlight ed David Murray, chair of the group. “We have an old walking route of significant heritage and natural value right at our doorstep and with very little investment we could have a 3.4km loop from the centre of Gort along the river” In recent times, the walk was heavily used by the community as it dealt with Covid-19 restrictions and it’s become a very active route at weekends. “We have a plan for Phase 1 to enhance the …

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Son of West Clare emigrants in powerful position on Capitol Hill

Although born and raised in Connecticut, Dr Brian P. Monahan, the physician who recommended the measures to be implemented in Capitol Hill, the seat of the US Government, in the battle to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, has family ties firmly embedded in West Clare. Both his parents emigrated from Clare in the mid 1950s, his mother Mary (Troy) from Doonaha West and his father Martin from Glaunagonee in Lissycasey. Although less that 40 miles separate both villages, the couple actually travelled half way round the world before meeting up, getting married and setting up home in the States. A 59 year-old Navy rear admiral and the attending physician of Congress, Dr Monahan was described as the calm and professional voice of reason during the pandemic. He is known in the halls of the Capitol as much for his meticulous attention to medical detail as he is for his efforts to stay completely out of politics. His first …

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Councillor Paul Murphy “honoured” to be elected new Mayor of Ennis

CLARECASTLE’S Councillor Paul Murphy said he is “honoured” to don the chain of office after his election as the new Mayor of the Ennis Municipal District. The occasion, usually marked with handshakes and hugs of congratulations, was a very different affair this year with social distancing due to Covid-19. Taking the helm of the Ennis Municipal District meeting this week following his election the councillor admitted “Not being able to shake hands, it’s surreal. Hopefully going forward Covid will die down and we can revert back to what we normally are. I miss the warmth of a handshake or an embrace from a friend.” He paid tribute to his predecessor Councillor Johnny Flynn describing him as a “shining beacon for the town, a real townie”. He outlined that there is a lot of work ongoing within the district, including the development of the mobility plan which has proved valuable in adapting to Covid-19. Councillor Murphy believes that the strives made …

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€500 million Shannon LNG project scrapped

The decision by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to sacrifice the long awaited €500 million Shannon LNG project to secure a coalition with the Green Party has been welcomed by environmental groups including Futureproof Clare. Criticism of the proposed Shannon Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal near Tarbert had intensified in recent months, with celebrities like Cher and Mark Ruffalo speaking out over its proposed use of fracked gas. US company New Fortress Energy were promoters of the terminal which would have been the first of its kind in Ireland. Futureproof Clare has welcomed the commitment to scrap the Shannon LNG terminal project and to ban the importation of fracked gas in the proposed Programme for Government, ‘Our Shared Future’. “The ban on all new offshore gas and oil drilling in Ireland’s waters is revolutionary in its commitment to leave fossil fuels behind as we transition to a low-carbon society and economy. Ireland would become the first country in the world …

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New Artistic Director announced for Ennis Book Club Festival

A NEW artistic director has been announced for the Ennis Book Club Festival. Dani Gill’s appointment follows on from Paul Perry who was the artistic director with the festival for the last four years. Dani and the committee will now begin work on programming for the 15th Ennis Book Club Festival which will take place on the first weekend of March in 2021. Dani has a wealth of experience in delivering festivals and is passionate about making literature accessible to all. She is a curator, producer, writer and educator, based in the west of Ireland. She is also the national Audience Development Officer for Words Ireland and was the Director of Cúirt International Festival of Literature from 2010-2016. She is very keen on developing outreach, access to the arts and community development projects. Dani’s first collection of poems was published by Salmon Poetry in 2017 and she has just completed a novel. Her literary hybrid show ‘Mirrors’, was part of the International Literature Festival Dublin, 2019. …

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Young Killaloe fisherman lands first big catch

A young Killaloe fisherman landed his first big catch using a pig shad bait in Lough Derg recently. Rhys Mowat (10), Newtown, Killaloe caught his first big pike measuring about 84 cms in length, which is regarded as a large fish for a child to land. It is estimated the fish weighed nine or ten pounds as it wasn’t weighed in line with catch and release policy. The Killaloe Ballina Fishing club member has been fishing since he was eight years old. His father Johnny told the Clare Champion they fish together very regularly on a fishing boat. “Rhys has really got interested in fishing in recent years. This was the first big fish that he reeled in by himself,” he said. Johnny has been fishing for about more than twenty years since he was about ten after joining a local fishing club. Normally the club would run competitions but these have been deferred due to restrictions imposed by Covid-19. …

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Advance Works Set to Start on Killaloe Bridge and Bypass Project

THE time-line for awarding the contract to build the new multimillion Euro Killaloe Bridge and Bypass has slipped slightly from its original target, The Champion has learned, with the likelihood that the three-part project may not now be completed until 2024. Works to progress the project, which also includes improvements to the R494, have continued despite Covid-19 restrictions, with the Project Steering Group, lead by Clare County Council, meeting remotely in April and May. In response to a query from The Champion, the local authority has outlined a time-frame indicating it expects the contract for the main works to be awarded at the end of March next year, with construction taking a further three years to complete. The most recent update available previously was as briefing to members of the Killaloe Municipal District which indicated that contracts would be awarded before the end of 2020, with a target completion date of late 2022. “The Project Team … are close to …

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