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Eugene O’Kelly appointed circuit court judge

Kilrush man, Judge Eugene O’Kelly has been nominated by the Government for appointment by the President to the circuit court. He is one of seven new appointees announced today (Thursday) to fill vacancies arising from a judge’s retirement, the appointment of a judge to the Court of Appeal and the appointment of five serving circuit court judges to the High Court, among them Mr Justice Caroll Moran. Judge O’Kelly, who currently presides over the Limerick District Court area, began his legal career as a solicitor in Kilrush. His practice covered all of Clare and far beyond. . Prior to his elevation to the bench, he was senior partner in the firm of O’Kelly Moylan Solicitors, with offices in Kilrush and Ennis. With wide experience in criminal law and civil litigation, he has been involved in a number of high-profile cases. In 2009 he was a solicitor to The Commission of Enquiry into the death of Gary Douch. Judge Eugene O’Kelly …

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Getting US tourists to ‘jump into Ireland’

Tourism Ireland, together with a delegation of 20 tourism enterprises, including Killaloe-based Secret Ireland Escapes, is undertaking a three-city trade and media blitz in the United States this week. The last of the 2014 Jump into Ireland (JITI) events is taking in the key cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. The Jump into Ireland schedule includes a B2B event in each city, showcasing the island of Ireland via a special travel TV show format to the influential American travel professionals in attendance. The events also include an opportunity for networking with influential travel and lifestyle media. Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America, said, “The United States is one of the most important markets for tourism to the island of Ireland and Tourism Ireland has undertaken a busy programme of promotions throughout 2014, to grow American visitor numbers. Our Jump into Ireland sales blitz to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle this week provides an excellent platform …

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Ennis bridge winter closure

Drehidnagower Bridge, near Drumcliffe, on the outskirts of Ennis, is likely to be closed to the public for the winter months due to rising river levels and the requirement to undertake structural remediation works. In making the announcement, Clare County Council said the temporary closure of the bridge to vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians on the Local Road L4587, located north west of the town, is being enforced due to safety reasons while river levels remain elevated. The bridge, which crosses the River Fergus, dates back to the early 19th century and has been the subject of a 30km/hr for a number of months. A council spokesperson said, “The council recently conducted a routine survey of the bridge which determined the requirement for strengthening works to be carried out on the structure’s undercarriage. With water levels rising on the River Fergus, the council has deemed it appropriate for public safety reasons to enforce a temporary closure, which is likely to continue …

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RDS beckons for Clare’s young scientists

Students from seven Clare schools will exhibit 22 projects in the 2015 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition at the RDS, Dublin in January. Leading the way, with 10 entries, is Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna, followed by Scoil Mhuire, Ennistymon and Meanscoil na mBráithre, Ennistymon, with three each; St John Bosco Community College, Kildysart and Gaelcholáiste an Chláir, Ennis, with two each, and Rice College, Ennis and Kilrush Community College with one each. Among the Galway schools an interest in the Young Scientist competition are Seamount College in Kinvara, with one project, and Portumna Community College, with three. At the 51st annual event from January 7 to 10, there are over 120 awards to be won, including the prestigious BT Young Scientist & Technologist of the Year. The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is organised by BT Ireland, one of the country’s leading communications and networked IT service providers, and is supported by a number of valued partners …

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Noirin Hegarty

Noirín not Lonely in North Clare

Noirín Hegarty may be in the business of world travel as Managing Destination Editor with Lonely Planet but the well-known journalist considers her family’s holiday home in Liscannor her ‘refuge’. Her mother Carmel Vaughan and her father Sean Hegarty hail from the West and North of the county and although reared in Dublin, Noirín spent many happy holidays here as a child visiting her 60 cousins. Not only are her ancestral roots here, it was also in Clare that the seeds of her interest in journalism were planted. “My uncle Martin Vaughan still lives in Miltown Malbay. He was always involved in what was going on in the community. He knew what was happening around and that sparked my initial curiosity for journalism,” she said. “I remember when I was a child and Martin was in the civil defence and he would be out looking for bodies after a bad storm and I thought this was fascinating and that goes …

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Alec steps into the Chamber

FORMER Clare county manager, Alec Fleming has taken over as interim CEO with Ennis Chamber of Commerce, while Rita McInerney takes a year’s career break. Paddy Darmody, president of Ennis Chamber, welcomed the new interim CEO and said he is looking forward to working with Alec, in what promises to be a very busy year for the Chamber. “Ennis is recovering from a very deep recession and I am confident that Alec’s experience and expertise will be of great benefit to the Chamber and the town in the challenging year ahead” said Paddy. “I’m delighted to step in as interim CEO, while Rita is away,” Mr Fleming said. A public servant for 30 years, he retired from the top Clare public service job in 2009 and has been working in private industry as a consultant. A Tipperary native, Alec received his second-level education in St Flannan’s, before beginning his public service career, and has been living in Ennis since 2002, …

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Report identifies 18 peninsula heritage sites

A comprehensive report on the proposed marketing of the Loop Head and Kilkee Heritage Trail on the Wild Atlantic Way, has identified 18 heritage sites in the peninsula area. The report on the pilot project, a collaboration between Clare County Council Heritage Officer, Congella Maguire, the Heritage Council, Fáilte Ireland and Loop Head Tourism, will be launched later this month. The project was community-based with the aim to develop a local heritage trail along this 60km section of the 2,500km Wild Atlantic Way. A total of 18 heritage trail sites were deemed to be worthy of inclusion in the final list, which includes the four Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Points. One of the key recommendations in the report is that consideration be given to locating information on Carrigaholt Castle in the village which is within sight and walking distance of the historic building. “Due to the prominence of Carrigaholt Castle in the local landscape it is recommended that dialogue be …

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Councillors distribute €50k at ‘secret’ meeting

CLARE County Council is to seek legal advice on the status of a behind-closed-doors in-committee meeting, held by West Clare county councillors, at which €50,000 of public money was allocated to two disability projects in Kilrush and Kildysart. Both projects were granted €25,000 and details of the meeting and the decision made at it only emerged publicly at a West Clare Municipal District meeting this week.Since then, Clare County Council has said they are not in a position to release the minutes of the in-committee meeting until they receive “legal clarification on the status of the minutes”. At Tuesday’s meeting, Councillor Richard Nagle, who was unable to attend the contentious meeting on October 20, described the holding of the meeting as “reprehensible and regrettable”. He queried why the meeting was held in private with the media absent. “Why was that meeting held in-committee? It was an issue deciding on the allocation of public money,” he stated. Municipal area chairman, Councillor …

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