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The late PJ Mara

The death has occurred of PJ Mara, one of the best-known figures in the Irish political arena. A public affairs consultant and former senator, Mr Mara was married to the late Breda Brogan from Kinvara, whose family owned the landmark Brogan’s pub in Ennis. Tributes have been paid to Mr Mara by Toaiseach Enda Kenny, Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin and many other politicans abd friends. Mr Mara is probably best remembered as a political adviser to former Taoiseach Charles Haughey. He served briefly in the Seanad on two separate occasions, in 1981 and 1982, on the nomination of Mr Haughey. A flamboyant  figure, he was press secretary for Fianna Fáil between 1983 and 1987. In 1987 he was appointed Government Press Secretary, and he held this position until February 1992, when he left the public service to move into the private sector. Mr Mara came back to Fianna Fáil as director of elections for the 1997, 2002, and 2007 general elections.  

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Polish ambassador lauds Ennis people’s compassion

THE Ambassador of Poland to Ireland has expressed his “sincere gratitude” to the people of Ennis for the “support, compassion and generosity” shown to Marek Skiba, the 51-year-old man who was found dead on Christmas Day and was buried this week. The funeral of Polish native Mr Skiba, who had experienced homelessness, took place in Ennis Cathedral on Monday, just days after local campaigner for the homeless Josie O’Brien made an appeal for help with the funeral expenses. Ennis undertaker Cyril Cusack stepped in to offer his services for free, with comedian Brendan O’Carroll later promising to cover the costs. As well as Mr Skiba’s friends, many local people who did not know him but were touched by his story attended the funeral. Musicians and singers offered to perform for free and flowers were donated for the service. Clare County Council provided a burial plot for the deceased. Ryszard Sarkowicz, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland to …

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Mary Howard joins Dáil race

  Clare County Councillor, Mary Howard has been officially declared as the third Fine Gael (FG) candidate to contest the forthcoming General Election in the county. Last week, speculation was rife that Councillor Howard would be added by the Fine Gael National Executive Council to the party ticket in Clare at the weekend and has proved to be correct. The former Ennis Town Councillor stated it is a “huge honour” to be asked and also to be considered capable of being part of the local FG team. Despite her late entry into the race, she is looking forward to working with her running mates outgoing FG deputies Pat Breen and Joe Carey to maximise the party’s vote in Clare. “I love my job and my county and I would really love to take it to the next level. I have a proven track record of a strong work ethic and I am a team player thus I would love for …

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IW dampens discolouration claims

Irish Water has dampened claims about water discolouration in the South East Clare area saying there are no issues with water quality. Councillor Cathal Crowe had requested Irish Water to test the quality of water coming into homes in South-East Clare from the Castletroy Reservoir in Limerick, following complaints about discolouration. Several thousand residents’ water is piped through Limerick City to homes in Meelick, Parteen, Ardnacrusha, Westbury, Shannon Banks, Carraig Midhe and parts of Cratloe. According to Councillor Crowe, residents have complained of discolouration in the water for the past few months. “I saw this discolouration in my own tap water on Tuesday, December 29. There was a yellow tinge to the water as it flowed and it took some time for the dirty sediments in the water to fully settle. I poured a glass of bottled spring water to compare and contrast the two – the difference was very obvious. “With a lot of the administrative staff in Irish Water on …

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Scariff centenarian attributes longevity to enjoying life

A Scariff centenarian has attributed her longevity to enjoying life and avoiding stress as much as possible. Nellie Rodgers, Clonusker  recently received a letter from President Michael D Higgins and the statutory €2,540 cheque after turning 100. Still enjoying very good health, Nellie, who was born in New York on November 13, 1915, reads the newspaper every day and duly informs her son, Andrew and daughter-in-law, Geraldine, about all the main news at local and national level. According to Geraldine, Nellie’s advice for a long life is “not to worry too much, enjoy life and avoid stress”. Apart from a reduction in her hearing, Nellie has only been hospitalised twice – last April she fell and broke her hip when she was out weeding in the garden and she previously had a minor operation. Geraldine says her mother-in-law can still remember her boat journey from New York to Clare as if it only happened last week. She left New York …

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‘Our life’s work is gone and nobody cares’

A SOUTH Galway man, whose farmyard and milking parlour are under water, has described the “terrible mental strain” he feels from the loss of his livelihood and his efforts to keep his herd of 95 cows alive. “Two days after Christmas, the water came into the yard. It was like the tide coming in on top of us,” Micheál Flaherty recalled. “I don’t know what I will do, to be honest,” the Tierneevin dairy farmer admitted, “because the parlour will cost a lot of money. We will have to rewire it completely. It is all under water. It will take months for the water to even go away. If it stopped rising today, it would still take three months for the water to recede. That is my income. I have nothing else. All our life’s work is gone and nobody cares. “I genuinely thought we could keep the water out. I had two good pumps from the council. It came …

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No Dáil bid for Flynn

Shannon-based county councillor Gerry Flynn has decided against running for the Dáil. The independent councillor said he made the decision with a heavy heart but had concluded that it wasn’t possible for him to win a seat, particularly with support for Fine Gael rising. He predicted that the electorate will punish Labour but that Fine Gael will perform well and will probably hold onto their two Clare seats. Councillor Flynn said finance is part of the reason for not running. “I have thought long and hard about it, I’ve looked at the opinion polls. I have also costed how much I would need. I’d have to have approximately €30,000 at my disposal to even think about it. The parties are funded by the taxpayer but, for me, it would be like climbing Mount Everest 10 times. There was no way Gerry Flynn was going to enter any race unless I thought I was going to win. From an economic perspective, …

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Council seeks plan for unfinished Clarecastle development

Clare County Council has formally asked Grant Thornton, the receivers of the unfinished development at Cois Fhorgais in Clarecastle village, to furnish their plans for the site. The development, which is known locally as Devine’s Field, has been in a state of disrepair for several years. Local Fine Gael Deputy Joe Carey has been advised by the council’s planning department that they recently carried out an inspection of the unfinished development at Cois Fhorgais, Clarecastle and had written to the receivers, Grant Thornton, with reference to the long-term resolution of the site and current issues therein which require immediate attention. “As you are aware, the above site is listed on the Register of Unfinished Housing Developments and it is noted that little or no recent works have been carried out on the site to rectify the situation. There is currently a live extension of planning permission on the site, which will expire in April 2016. Consequently, the planning authority has requested the …

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