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John flies to world-champion status

A SHANNON man became World Master’s Swimming Champion at 100m fly in Gothenburg earlier this month, in the 40-44 age group.He also took silver in the 50m fly and two eighth places in the 100m and 50m freestyle. All of these four times were national records for the age group. John Cunningham’s time of 58:55 in the 100m was just two hundredths of a second off his personal best (pb), which he set in 1990 when he was a member of the Irish team, while his time in the 50m was a new personal best.He is the son of Jean and Bert Cunningham  but now lives in Hertfordshire in the South of England, while he works as a programme manager with an investment bank.John said that he had been targeting the World Master’s Championships for some time. “I decided about two years ago that I’d be working towards them,” he said.He had drifted away from swimming, until he started taking …

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TV3 presenter exposes her Facebook experience

SHANNON TV star Aisling O’Loughlin has said that she won’t be going to the gardaí in relation to a Facebook page, which urged people to support a campaign to have her removed from her position on TV3’s Xposé. “It seems to be gone now and once it’s gone, I don’t care about it. The main thing was to get it off the internet,” she told The Clare Champion.Ms O’Loughlin said she was disappointed that Facebook hadn’t moved quickly to remove the page, which she said showed a tacit endorsement of putting up hate-filled pages.She said she has her own Facebook account but will be deactivating it now. “I’m getting out of it, I’m closing it down. It was an experiment, I wanted to see why everyone was on it. Now I’ve done it and I realised that it’s really a bit of a waste of time. I have an email address and I don’t particularly want to share my pictures …

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Company takes on 22 staff

SHANNON has been hit hard by job losses since 2008 and while a decisive economic recovery might be some way off, one company is having a glorious summer, having taken on 22 staff in the last seven weeks.Star Elm Ltd, which is based in Smithstown, took on five new people in the past week alone.

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A change in outlook following Ecuadorian experience

FATHER Colm Hogan left Shannon for the extreme weather and severe poverty of Ecuador in 2007 and earlier this summer, he returned to Ireland, having learned a lot from his three years in South America.Speaking to The Clare Champion, he said that his time there had changed his outlook. “It was a life-changing experience in the sense that it puts everything into perspective about what people don’t have and how they can get on with so little. If something happens you after coming home, you’d look and say to yourself that the people you were with for the last three years had nothing and they were able to deal with it. They still had a smile on their face even if they didn’t know where their next dollar or their next meal was coming from.”Expectations and standards of living in Ecuador are very different to those in Ireland, with very basic diets and access to education is hugely restricted. “They …

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Meeting over historical cottage

THE future of Hastings Cottage was the item for discussion at a meeting held between representatives of Shannon Development, Clare County Council and Dúchas na Sionna, held last week.Hastings Cottage is a site of some historical interest, as it is shown on the 1840 Ordinance Survey map of the area and may have actually been built long before that.The map in question shows the cottage and outbuildings at the end of Slí na Mara, the only routeway into Tullyvarraga at that time.During the War of Independence, Brigadier General Lucas, a high-ranking British officer, was taken captive and imprisoned there. He was guarded by Major General Michael Brennan, who subsequently led the East Clare Brigade of the IRA.Greg Duff of Dúchas na Sionna said that there was likely to be a need for a change to zoning. “The council official representing the planning department explained that because Hastings Cottage is in the process of becoming a protected structure, any works to …

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Flynn looking for boycott of tunnel

THE Limerick Tunnel may be a huge addition to the Mid-West’s infrastructure but Shannon Councillor Gerry Flynn is calling for it to be boycotted in protest at the charges.The independent councillor is also calling for the public to fight against the imposition of a €6 charge at the Cliffs of Moher.Councillor Flynn claims the charge at the Limerick Tunnel is too much of a burden on already struggling people. “It’s absolutely crazy. People are already hard-pressed and now they’re being asked to pay another €1.80 for a car and €5.70 for a truck. It’s crazy stuff.”He said that the charges in Limerick are in contrast to the Jack Lynch tunnel in Cork, which is free to motorists.Councillor Flynn claimed that Clare people have suffered significant losses of services and that if they withhold money by not using the tunnel it might focus some attention on the county’s requirements. “It’s time that someone shouted stop, things have gone mad. Look at …

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