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Fears expressed over €7m council housing scheme

CLARE County Council are set to spend more than €7 million (before VAT) on building affordable housing in Cluain Airne and, despite the ongoing correction in the property market, they expect the scheme to sell out.At this week’s meeting of Shannon Town Council, Councillor Cathy McCafferty put forward a motion asking for the unit cost of an affordable home at the site. In response, town manager Bernadette Kinsella said, “The contract construction prices is €7,005,236.59, exclusive of VAT, for the total scheme of 60 houses. This figure will be adjusted to reflect the type of house and to include consultants’ fees, legal fees and any other associated costs to arrive at a final unit cost.”She said that 135 applicants have sought affordable housing in the scheme. “Having regard to the existing database and current enquiries, it is expected that the number of qualifying applicants will exceed the number of units available.”Councillor McCafferty said that there is already “an abundance of …

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Centenarian promises to stand one for the house

IT’S not easy to rattle Timmy Ryan. Last Friday, the day after his 100th birthday, Timmy’s great grandchildren did their best. Quiet as a mini horde of mice initially, it emerged that the trio were conspiring to blow a few party poppers, which made a fair din but they didn’t shake the man of the house. One of the Knockalough man’s favourite pastimes, along with cross-country running, was shooting wild game. So he’s not unused to the odd outbreak of noise.His actual birthday, last Thursday, brought a fair bit of excitement with it. The first thing Timmy had to do was collect 110 birthday cards from Seán Killeen when the postman called. Then his phone started to ring. President McAleese was at the other end of the line giving a buzz to congratulate Timmy. He also heard from Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny. “He’s sending me a bottle of whiskey he said,” Timmy laughed, sitting in front of the fire …

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Report requested on ‘lavish’ UL president’s house

EDUCATION Minister Batt O’Keeffe has ordered an independent report into the source of funding for a president’s house on the University of Limerick’s Clare campus, costing in the region of €1.1 million.Concern has been expressed about the university’s decision to spend the large sum on what Minister O’Keeffe described as a “lavish” three-storey building, at a time when the university has debts of about €3m.The minister requested the report despite assurances that the second home for the university president was entirely funded from leading United States philanthropist, Chuck Feeney. University Students’ Union (USI) president, Peter Mannion told The Clare Champion that UL’s decision to spend over €1m on a house for its president sends out the wrong message at a time when students’ registration fees have increased dramatically.Mr Mannion alleged it is unlikely some private benefactor approached the university and offered to build a new house for the president.“According to a recent study, only half of the CAO applicants will …

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Council grants permission to retain Killaloe marina berths

CLARE County Council has granted planning approval to retain a marina development in Killaloe near a protected area after the applicant addressed a number of concerns expressed by the planning authority. Additional information and revised plans concerning the controversial marina development were sought by the council amid concern from local residents about compliance for existing planning permission.It expressed concern that the site layout plan as received from Ian Symington, c/o Neil Bennett MRAI, 3 Riverfront, Howley’s for the retention of nine existing berths was not an accurate illustration of the existing marina layout at this site.An application submitted by the same applicant last year to reorganise a previously permitted inland marina, provision of 48 new berths within the marina and retention of nine existing berths at Harbour Village was refused by the county council.On inspection of the marina, the council claimed the site layout plan differed from the actual situation on site, which has a wooden walkway at the side …

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Council and OPW to discuss flood barrier relocation

CLARE County Council has agreed to discuss the possible relocation of the flood protection barrier at Shannon Banks with the Office of Public Works following a request from a local county councillor.Councillor Pascal Fitzgerald requested the council to move the barrier beyond the footpath in Shannon Banks at a Killaloe Electoral Area meeting in Westbury last week. Up to 22 families in Shannon Banks had to leave their homes during the flooding last November.The new section of earthen embankment includes a substantial amount of stone wraps around the rear of houses in Hamstead Park, which was one of the areas worst hit by the flooding. The OPW has built up lower parts of the existing riverbank further up the Shannon Banks estate at College View Drive and Riverside Drive.Resident Mike Mooney said there was three to four feet of water outside his house, which, thankfully, didn’t get in. This was the third time this area was flooded after the River …

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Fears expressed over €7m council housing scheme

CLARE County Council are set to spend more than €7 million (before VAT) on building affordable housing in Cluain Airne and, despite the ongoing correction in the property market, they expect the scheme to sell out.At this week’s meeting of Shannon Town Council, Councillor Cathy McCafferty put forward a motion asking for the unit cost of an affordable home at the site. In response, town manager Bernadette Kinsella said, “The contract construction prices is €7,005,236.59, exclusive of VAT, for the total scheme of 60 houses. This figure will be adjusted to reflect the type of house and to include consultants’ fees, legal fees and any other associated costs to arrive at a final unit cost.”She said that 135 applicants have sought affordable housing in the scheme. “Having regard to the existing database and current enquiries, it is expected that the number of qualifying applicants will exceed the number of units available.”Councillor McCafferty said that there is already “an abundance of …

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Water charges should be resisted, says councillor

THE introduction of water charges should be strongly resisted, possibly through civil disobedience, according to Councillor Gerry Flynn.The Independent TD said that the Irish people are too compliant and that it may be a legacy of centuries of oppression. “Maybe it comes from hundreds of years of British rule, that we go along with whatever our lords and masters in Dublin tell us.”He said that John Gormley should be told to “shove it where he likes to shove it” and to “go off in his green machine somewhere else”.Councillor Michael Fleming also voiced his opposition to water charges. “I think it’s ridiculous, a lot of senior citizens will be affected,” he said.While Councillor Tony McMahon said that he agreed with the concept of metered charging, it couldn’t possibly be introduced, given the amount of water that is lost. “Forty to 50% of water is being lost and it’s ridiculous to impose charges on the public.”He said that the public already …

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No date set for Kilkee library redevelopment

CLARE County Council has described the planned development of the Sweeney Memorial Library in Kilkee as at the “brief development stage”.The long-term plan is to redevelop the library into an enhanced library and theatre. “This stage is about formulating requirements, objectives and accommodation and working with ideas ahead of the formal appointment of a design team,” county librarian Helen Walsh explained in a written reply to Councillor Gabriel Keating at the January meeting of Kilrush area county councillors in Labasheeda. The completed building will consist of two floors, accessible through lifts. The theatre will incorporate proposed seating for 100 people and it will include a facility for showing films. Further consultations are to be sought from the public through the arts forum, arts@clarelibrary.ie, while postal submissions will also be accepted by the County Arts Office in Ennis. However the reply didn’t contain any information with regard to when the redevelopment work is likely to take place.

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