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Young Killaloe fisherman lands first big catch

A young Killaloe fisherman landed his first big catch using a pig shad bait in Lough Derg recently. Rhys Mowat (10), Newtown, Killaloe caught his first big pike measuring about 84 cms in length, which is regarded as a large fish for a child to land. It is estimated the fish weighed nine or ten pounds as it wasn’t weighed in line with catch and release policy. The Killaloe Ballina Fishing club member has been fishing since he was eight years old. His father Johnny told the Clare Champion they fish together very regularly on a fishing boat. “Rhys has really got interested in fishing in recent years. This was the first big fish that he reeled in by himself,” he said. Johnny has been fishing for about more than twenty years since he was about ten after joining a local fishing club. Normally the club would run competitions but these have been deferred due to restrictions imposed by Covid-19. …

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Advance Works Set to Start on Killaloe Bridge and Bypass Project

THE time-line for awarding the contract to build the new multimillion Euro Killaloe Bridge and Bypass has slipped slightly from its original target, The Champion has learned, with the likelihood that the three-part project may not now be completed until 2024. Works to progress the project, which also includes improvements to the R494, have continued despite Covid-19 restrictions, with the Project Steering Group, lead by Clare County Council, meeting remotely in April and May. In response to a query from The Champion, the local authority has outlined a time-frame indicating it expects the contract for the main works to be awarded at the end of March next year, with construction taking a further three years to complete. The most recent update available previously was as briefing to members of the Killaloe Municipal District which indicated that contracts would be awarded before the end of 2020, with a target completion date of late 2022. “The Project Team … are close to …

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Further Delay With Flood Defences for Springfield, Clonlara

DISAPPOINTMENT has been expressed in Springfield, Clonlara, after a further delay with relief works designed to save residents from a repeat of devastating flooding that has forced them out of their homes multiple times over the last 15 years. Planning for flood protection works began in early 2016, after more than 10 families had to evacuate their properties and a further five had their access roads completely cut off. Since then, the proposed €1.2 million works have hit a number of hurdles, and it has now been confirmed that rather than going through an internal local authority adjudication process, the plans will now go to An Bord Pleanála. Senior Engineer with Clare County Council, Seán Lenihan told authority members this month that the nature of the works could not be contained, as had been anticipated, within a Part Eight application. “They require an EIAR (Environmental Impact Assessment Report) and an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement),” he explained, adding that the application …

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World tennis ace backs Killaloe man’s fund-raising campaign

RAFAEL Nadal is among the international sports stars supporting a Killaloe man to raise funds for a refugee camp in Greece. Tennis coach Wesley O’Brien is a regular volunteer at the Ritsona Refugee Camp, north of Athens. Two years ago, he started up a programme for residents, thanks to donations of rackets, balls and nets from clubs around the region, including his own in Killaloe-Ballina. As part of a bid to raise funds for a defibrillator for the camp, which is now home to 4000 people, Wesley has secured jerseys signed by some high profile individuals and teams. To-date, these include Nadal, the Munster Rugby Team, Usain Bolt, Rory McIlroy and Franz Beckenbaur. Wesley, who volunteers with Lighthouse Relief, now hopes to be able to sell these rare items in order to generate vital funding support for refugees. “I had raised funds for a defibrillator for the Killaloe-Ballina Tennis Club, so I decided to do the same again for Ritsona …

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Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council Michael Begley. Photograph by John Kelly.

council prepare application for Springfield Flood Embankment

CLARE County Council are on target to lodge an application for a long-awaited flood embankment on the outskirts of Clonlara in mid to late April, according to a local councillor. Councillor Michael Begley has told the Clare Champion the council are on track to lodge a Part Eight application for the Springfield Flood Embankment, which is estimated to cost in excess of €1.2 million. This follows a video conference meeting between council officials and the Office of Public Works last week following a submission of the final report by consultants employed by the local authority to assess issues concerning the flood embankment. While flood waters have disappeared, and residents who were evacuated have returned to their homes, sandbags still remain outside some dwellings. Councillor Begley said some residents have to undertake a major clean up operation due to overflows in septic tanks and other remedial works. One of the main access roads going through Springfield was damaged by flood water …

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Post-Covid ‘staycation’ hopes for East Clare tourism

TOURISM operators in East Clare have said they remain cautiously optimistic in the face of the ongoing Covid-19 lock-down, which has brought the sector to a standstill for now. The season would normally begin around Easter, and tourism providers are currently coping with a raft of cancelled tour bookings, as well as the shelving of key events and activities. Hope is being drawn, however, from the anticipated demand for ‘staycation’ breaks once the restrictions on movement are lifted, and from the development of key projects including the River Shannon Tourism Master Plan 2020-2030, which is currently in draft form and open for public submissions. “A good season in East Clare would be starting around Easter,” noted Arlene White, Chairperson of Tourism East Clare. “What we are now seeing instead is the cancellation of bookings for months ahead. It’s very tough for everyone, but we understand the need for the restrictions and we are hoping that 2020 won’t be a complete …

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Ogonnello comes together ‘virtually’ to remember 1916

THE community of Ogonnelloe have vowed not to be beaten in their efforts to celebrate the anniversary of the 1916 Rising this weekend. While the ongoing lock-down means that a production of a commemorative show entitled ‘O’Gonnelloe Remembers’ could not be publicly performed, the feast of music, song and poetry will now be released on Facebook next Sunday night at 8pm. The show sees people from around the parish taking on the roles of leading revolutionary figures in what is described as an “emotionally-charged” remembrance of the Rising. All week long, amateur actors have been getting into costume and capturing themselves on camera phone. Their performances are now being edited alongside archival and drone footage by Tubber man Brian Ruane, a professional videographer and editor. Sunday night’s release is eagerly anticipated locally and is set to bring back happy memories of a major commemorative event which took place locally in 2016 to mark the Rising’s centenary. Director Louise Donnellan said …

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Killaloe Tennis club serves up €740,000 development

A LOCAL tennis club look set to make their own piece of history by becoming the first committee outside of Dublin to provide a permanent covered tennis courts as part of a major development estimated to cost in excess of €740,000. Killaloe Ballina Tennis Club has served up an impressive volley in terms of new facilities with a plan that will make them the envy of clubs throughout Munster once they come to fruition. Officers have already won a number of key matches, having secured planning permission as well as raising a massive €480,00 through fundraising, grants, club funds and donations. The club currently has four tennis courts and this will be increased by another two courts. The club currently has about 250 memberships, which includes a lot of family memberships that allows two adults and two children to use facilities. Club chairman, Patrick Seymour told the Clare Champion once the development is fully completed, it will provide the only …

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