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Wheels turning for West Clare Railway expansion

AN Bórd Pleanála has given the go ahead to plans that include the expansion of the museum at the West Clare Railway in Moyasta. Jackie Whelan, who is behind the establishment of the facility, said this week’s news is the culmination of a 16 year battle. “We got the news on Monday. Since we started looking for planning permission, including a road crossing and lights, it has taken 16 years to get this far,” he confirmed. “It means that we’re going building a new museum there now. It will be 180ft x 100ft. We have the largest fleet of railway antique vehicles in the country. It will on the other side of the road, towards Kilkee and Kilrush. We have full planning permission for a road crossing,” Mr Whelan added. The government closed the loss-making West Clare Railway in 1961. In 2010, An Bórd Pleanála rejected the expansion of the museum on grounds concerning road safety.

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Killaloe centre shortlisted for award

A dementia specific respite and daycare centre in Ballina/Killaloe, has been shortlisted for a prestigious Irish Healthcare Award, 2015. Waterman’s Lodge, which has been nominated under the Specialist Centre of the Year category, is one of two national respite centres run by the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland. A former hotel, the premises was acquired by the Alzheimer Society of Ireland in 2008 and extensively modernised and converted into a dementia specific care centre. The purpose of the respite centre is to provide dementia specific person-centred care to the person with dementia and their carers in the community. The centre can accommodate up to 11 respite clients per week. Currently there is 35 staff employed at Waterman’s Lodge all of whom have received dementia specific training. The Irish Healthcare Centre Awards 2015 will be presented on March 27.

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Fr Des appointed Killaloe diocese administrator

Fr Des Hillery, a native of Miltown Malbay, has been elected as Administrator of the Diocese of Killaloe. This follows the installation of Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly as Archbishop of Cashel and Emly on Sunday last, when the Diocese of Killaloe officially became vacant. At a meeting of the College of Consultors of the Diocese Fr Hillery, who is parish priest in Nenagh, was elected to his new post. A diocesan administrator has responsibility for administering the day-to-day affairs of the diocese while a new bishop is awaited. On Wednesday evening, Fr Hillery, a member of a well-known West Clare family, said, “I am privileged to accept this new role and hope to continue the good work of Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly and Bishop Willie Walsh in encouraging us to respond to the challenges of the Gospel. I hope to do all that I can to facilitate the continued implementation of the Pastoral Plan for the Diocese of Killaloe, which recognises our …

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Prison term for indecent assaults increased

A 71-year-old man has been returned to prison for one year following a finding by the Court of Appeal that his two-year prison sentence for indecently assaulting two boys in the 1980s was too lenient. However, in its decision delivered today (Tuesday), the court found that the maximum penalty for indecently assaulting a male in the 1980s was two years in prison and not 10, as had been suggested. James (Tony) Maher of Clonroad Beg, Ennis, had pleaded guilty to 18 sample counts of indecently assaulting two boys in the county between January 1982 and April 1985. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment on each count to run concurrently by Judge Carroll Moran at Ennis Circuit Criminal Court on January 14 2013. The Director of Public Prosecutions successfully applied for a review of Maher’s sentence on grounds that it was unduly lenient. The Court of Appeal agreed and increased Maher’s sentence by one year. President of the Court of …

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Clare man charged with rape in Galway

A 20-year-old County Clare man has been charged with the rape of a woman in a Galway city apartment last year. The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared before Galway District Court on Monday where he  denied two counts of raping the woman on the night of July 23-24, last year, contrary to Section 4 and Section 21 of the Criminal Law Rape Amendment Act, 1990. Garda Conor Barrett gave evidence of going to the man’s home earlier that morning and arresting him. He took him to Galway Garda Station and charged him there. He said the man replied “not guilty” to both charges. Garda Barrett said he had no objection to bail provided conditions were attached. Judge Aeneas McCarthy remanded the man on his own bail of €1,000 with no lodgement required, to appear before the court again on March 11 for service of a Book of Evidence. Bail was granted on condition he surrender his passport …

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Walk or bike it to the Coláiste

Coláiste Muire in Ennis will launch its ‘Fresh Air Friday’ initiative this Friday, as part of efforts to secure a Green-Schools Travel Flag. The Travel Flag encourages students, parents and teachers to walk, cycle, car-pool, Park N’ Stride or use public transport on the school run. Staff , as well as parents of students being driven to school, will be leaving the car at home or a distance away to participate in the initiative, which is being facilitated by An Taisce Green-Schools and supported by Clare County Council. Having saved 2,650,000 litres of water from 2011 to 2014 while working on the Green-Schools Water Flag, one of three Flags held by Coláiste Muire, the school is now working on securing the Travel Flag. “At present over 65% of their 860 pupils at Coláiste Muire are arriving to school in a car, so the school has taken on the Green-Schools Travel flag with great enthusiasm,” commented Róisín Garvey, travel education officer …

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Contact signed for Ennis water mains upgrade

Irish Water, in conjunction with Clare County Council, has signed a contract for the replacement of around 17km of water mains that are in poor condition in Ennis and surrounding areas. The work to be undertaken by Ward and Burke Construction is part of the Clare Water Conservation Water Main Rehabilitation Strategy. The project will involve the installation of 11.8km of new polyethylene and ductile iron water mains at various locations around Ennis town. Additionally, works will include the replacement of 95 backyard and 978 front of house service connections (which includes replacement of 230 lead service connections) and the transfer of 44 service connections to a recently laid water main in Clarecastle, delivering improved levels of water pressure for customers there. A ring water main between Claureen Roundabout, Lahinch Road and Kilrush Road will also be re-commissioned to improve water pressure in those areas. The project will deliver financial savings over the medium and long term, with reduced maintenance …

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Howard backs new alcohol bill proposals

An Ennis councilllor, whose family was involved in the drinks industry for many years, has welcomed the proposals contained in the heads of The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015. These proposals are long overdue and the bill contains far reaching measures to tackle the widespread problem of alcohol misuse in this country, according to Coucillor Mary Howard. Ms Howard is very familiar with the licensed trade, as a daughter of the late Senator Michael Howard, who owned and operated the One Mile Inn in Ennis for many years. Senator Howard was also a past president of the Vintners Federation of Ireland. “I particularly welcome the proposal to make it illegal to sell alcohol at a price below a set minimum price. The minimum unit price will be set at a level which evidence shows will reduce the burden of harm from alcohol. “This is the most far-reaching legislation on the matter of alcohol. This legislation addresses alcohol as a public health measure. …

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