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Funding appeal to reopen Kilkee playground

Kilkee Community Playground will remain closed indefinitely unless the committee can come up with the funding to completely overhaul the public amenity. The schedule of works required to bring the facility up to an acceptable safety standard will cost in excess of €20,000 and a community fundraiser has been launched in the hope that through their GoFundMe appeal the committee will succeed in hitting their financial target. Fortunately, the committee has already received two generous donations, leaving a shortfall of €14,000. Local county councillor, Cillian Murphy has pledged €5,000 from his General Municipal Allowance which is a discretionary fund for elected representatives who can put it towards projects in their areas while €2,000 has been committed by Loop Head Windfarm. The committee will also be making applications with Clare County Council for funding under the Clár Programme and the Town and Village Renewal Scheme. Estimates received to upgrade the facility to a satisfactory standard are priced at in excess of …

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‘I am not that person’ – Edna O’Brien rejects New Yorker profile

EDNA O’Brien has broken her silence on an interview with The New Yorker magazine, published at the end of last year and described by some literary experts as “a hatchet job”. The profile of the Tuamgraney-born author generated considerable controversy and prompted a number of critics and academics here to reject the profile as unflattering, sexist and overly critical. Last weekend, in an interview with RTÉ, Ms O’Brien said the article, by Ian Parker, had hurt and outraged her. The acclaimed writer joined broadcaster Brendan O’Connor to discuss an award for the latest novel Girl. “I was hurt and I was outraged,” she said of the piece. “I was hurt because it is not a truthful piece. If the tapes were taken of the three-and-a-half days I spent with that journalist. I don’t think the tapes and what I spoke into them would tally with what appeared in those 9,000 words. They would not. They would be a big contradiction. I …

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Pandemic puts brakes on Matt’s cycling bow

August was to have been a memorable month for young Matt Griffin. The 15 year-old Ennistymon teenager was to have made his national bow at a major cycling event in Austria but the Covid-19 pandemic has put the brakes on that happening. “It’s a pity. We were looking forward to the event and its very disappointing that the Austrian cycling event has been cancelled. I suppose health comes first in situations like that,” concedes his father, Matthew. The youngster’s metoric rise in cycling circles is driven by desire and a dedication which sees him make a 220 round trip to Kanturk in North Cork for training spins with the local youth cycling club. But distance is no barrier as his father Matthew fulfils the taxi driver role, ferrying him to and from the training sessions. Before the pandemic brought travel to a halt, Matt would make the trip a couple of time each week. “He can be a bit lazy …

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No mad dash to Lahinch on Monday

THERE was no mad dash into the water at Lahinch on Monday, when a further easing on the Covid-19 restrictions allowed people to travel within their own county. Local hotelier Michael Vaughan said there was increased activity at the resort, but not too much. From his perch at Vaughan Lodge Hotel he could observe a quiet golf course, in stark contrast to last year when numbers were good, and the Irish Open in July was the highlight. Michael said on Monday people were essentially coming to Lahinch “to watch”. He described as “eerie” the atmosphere around Lahinch, with people there but no restaurants, pubs or hotels open to cater for them. He said some people might even be “spooked” at the idea of travelling too far from home, having been confined to 5k. Michael intends to reopen on July but doesn’t expect this 22-bed hotel to be sold out. “I should have one-third occupancy and my target for the season …

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‘No health and safety issues’ at direct provision centre

NO health and safety issues were identified during an unannounced visit by a senior official from the Department of Justice and Equality to the Direct Provision centre in Miltown Malbay last week, it has been revealed. “I am advised that there was no evidence of any rodent activity or water leaking on the day my official visited,” Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan stated in briefing note seen by The Clare Champion. Mr Flanagan commissioned the report following concerns raised in correspondence and Parliamentary Questions relating to the emergency accommodation premises for international protection applicants at the Central Hostel in Miltown Malbay. Hostel owner Pat Kelly did not wish to make any comment but said to contact the Department of Justice on the issue. Last Thursday (June 4), officials from the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) held a clinic via video call with residents of the centre, which was attended by 12 of the 19 residents. The clinic was …

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Killaloe councillors seek briefing on East Clare windfarm

KILLALOE councillors are to seek a briefing from the developers of a multi-million euro wind farm development planned for a site on the slopes of Slieve Bernagh, just over two kilometres from Bodyke. Earlier this month, Coillte confirmed that it is to lodge an application shortly, to An Bord Pleanála, under the Strategic Infrastructure Act. Raising the proposed Carrownagowan Wind Farm at the May meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District, Councillor Pat Hayes asked for details of communications and correspondence between officials and the developer. “I would like those details to be revealed,” the Caher-based member said. “The lack of consultation has been very remiss of Coillte.” The Fianna Fáil councillor insisted that communication with officials was not sufficient and ignored the role of elected members. “This day last year, we were re-elected and have never had personal communication [with Coillte],” he said. “Consultation behind the scenes with different departments is one thing, but we are the voice of the …

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World tennis ace backs Killaloe man’s fund-raising campaign

RAFAEL Nadal is among the international sports stars supporting a Killaloe man to raise funds for a refugee camp in Greece. Tennis coach Wesley O’Brien is a regular volunteer at the Ritsona Refugee Camp, north of Athens. Two years ago, he started up a programme for residents, thanks to donations of rackets, balls and nets from clubs around the region, including his own in Killaloe-Ballina. As part of a bid to raise funds for a defibrillator for the camp, which is now home to 4000 people, Wesley has secured jerseys signed by some high profile individuals and teams. To-date, these include Nadal, the Munster Rugby Team, Usain Bolt, Rory McIlroy and Franz Beckenbaur. Wesley, who volunteers with Lighthouse Relief, now hopes to be able to sell these rare items in order to generate vital funding support for refugees. “I had raised funds for a defibrillator for the Killaloe-Ballina Tennis Club, so I decided to do the same again for Ritsona …

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‘Out of the difficulties and sadness of this pandemic, it has brought us closer together as a community.’

IN recent weeks, debate has been raging over the Covid-19 death toll in residential facilities across Ireland. Despite the differing political opinions, there is little doubt that those living and working in nursing homes were at the forgotten front line for a number of crucial weeks as the pandemic took hold. Keeping coronavirus out involves a heroic struggle against an ever-present enemy. St Theresa’s Nursing Home in Kilrush, is one of the facilities that has managed to avoid an outbreak, while as many a quarter of homes in Clare have been affected to-date, according to the Health Service Executive (HSE). “My heart goes out to those who have had outbreaks,” said Yvonne Moroney, Director of Nursing at the family run facility on the Kilkee Road. “They have done everything in their power, but there is a constant risk and we are all living with that risk.” Yvonne, who is on call 24/7 at St Theresa’s, has seen an already demanding …

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