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Ennis to host biggest book club festival yet

SOME of the most recognisable names in Irish and international literature will participate in next year’s Ennis Book Club Festival, the largest event of its kind anywhere in Ireland and the UK.Supported by Clare County Library, the three-day programme of events from March 5 to March 7 is expected to attract hundreds of book club members and book lovers from all over Europe and North America. The festival will also feature Ireland’s first ‘Book Club of the Year Award’ and a professional development workshop for library staff.Among the contributors to the festival will be Lionel Shriver, prolific journalist and Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin and The Post-Birthday World; Joseph O’Connor, journalist, screenwriter and author of 10 Irish number one bestsellers including Cowboys and Indians, Desperadoes, The Salesman and Inishowen; Tim Pat Coogan, biographer, historian, journalist and writer of Michael Collins and Ireland in the Twentieth Century; and Fiona Looney, columnist, playwright, scriptwriter and media personality.Other …

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Business gold rush predicted for the town

ENNIS retailers are hoping to benefit from an anticipated gold strike in the county town in the coming weeks.The launch this week, by Ennis Chamber, of the Ennis Gold gift voucher project is being welcomed by the nearly 60 local businesses that are participating in the scheme. It’s seen as a perfect way to create additional local spending at time when it is expected that the traditional Christmas spree will be somewhat curtailed due to the economic downturn.Chamber president Guy Flouch has urged local people to back the scheme. “Consider that every time you buy one of these vouchers, you are ensuring that money is spent with local retailers and not returned to the coffers of a company with its base in Dublin or further afield. Shop local and save local jobs,” he said.He added, “Another important dimension of the scheme is that members of the Clare diaspora, currently living in London or Boston or Sydney, can buy the vouchers …

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Smithstown planning decision appealed

A DECISION made by Clare County Council in relation to a planning application at Smithstown has been appealed to An Bord Pleanála.Greenband Investments had sought permission for a mixed-use development that would include a number of retail units and a neighbourhood centre, a discount foodstore, motor showroom, business centre and medical centre.The neighbourhood centre would have a number of retail outlets but planners refused permission for this aspect of the development earlier this year. In the appeal to An Bord Pleanála, Greenband gave a number of reasons why the neighbourhood centre should be allowed to go ahead.“While the council notes that the uses proposed within the neighbourhood centre are considered appropriate, they assert that the centre would have an adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre. The planning official’s report notes that ‘while the uses as proposed within the neighbourhood centre area considered appropriate uses for a neighbourhood centre, the location of this neighbourhood centre in …

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