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West Clare

Remembering Kevin Stapleton

By Peter O’Connell ONE of Clare’s best-known GAA supporters passed away recently. Kevin Stapleton, who was 92, was born in Limerick and reared in Kilkee but lived and worked for 46 years in England. Resident in Ennis since his return to Ireland in 1989, he was a regular at Clare hurling and football games. He was also a colourful contributor to The Clare Champion letters page. In an interview with The Clare Champion in October 2012, Kevin recalled growing up in West Clare. “I was born in Limerick but I was in Kilkee at nine weeks old. My mother died at birth, so I never saw her,” he recounted sadly. Kevin and his twin brother, Thomas, were reared by their grandmother, Bridget Stapleton, whom they treated as their mother. She was a woman with straightforward convictions, as evidenced by Kevin’s name change around the time of his confirmation. It turns out his name was not actually Kevin. “When I was christened, …

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Road works start in Kilbaha

WHAT a difference a week has made in Kilbaha. Early last week frustrated locals were protesting at the perceived inaction of Clare County Council in repairing the badly damaged R487, which is the main route through the most westerly village in the county. The road was badly damaged during storms in January and February, leaving some people in the village cut off from the main route out of Kilbaha. “There’s more work done than in the last six weeks in Kilbaha,” local publican Bernie Keating told The Clare Champion on Tuesday. “You’d get knocked down with the amount of trucks in Kilbaha at the moment. I can’t put into the words the response that we have got,” he marvelled. Last week Mr Keating has told The Clare Champion that locals would launch a further protest in the village this Monday if promised council works on the R487 did not commence. Locals opened the 80metre stretch of the regional road last …

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Kilbaha exit strategy for baby’s delivery day

KILBAHA woman Yvonne McNamara has been keeping a relentless eye on recent weather forecasts as the orange alerts mount up. She has particular reason to. Yvonne and her husband, Fergal are due their third child come the end of February. However, before they drive 70 miles to Limerick they first have to negotiate the leaving of Kilbaha. An 80 metre stretch of the main road in the village remains closed, although Clare County Council is due to start remedial work on Monday. On top of that the McNamaras live in Fodra, which is west of Kilbaha. The beach there regularly spits stones onto the access road, sometimes making it impassable. “It’s Peig Sayers time really,” Yvonne laughed. “You’d think you wouldn’t have to be thinking of that as well as the difficulty of being so far from Limerick. You’re going 70 miles from here as it is. It’s an added headache you don’t really need,” she said, as the wind …

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Clare needs “comfort letter” on storm funds

CLARE TD Michael McNamara has requested the Government to issue a “letter of comfort” to Clare County Council to provide reassurance that funding will be available for necessary repairs following the disastrous storms. The Labour deputy said the scale of destruction on the Clare coast and in the Shannon Estuary was underlined at Monday’s meeting of the local authority when members were told that the total estimate for repairs now stands at €36.8m. “Clare County Council has already spent €720,000 in temporary repairs and the need for further considerable expenditure is urgent. The council has spent this money without receiving any letter from the Government stating that the local authority will be reimbursed. County manager, Tom Coughlan has pointed out that further spending without written authorisation raises the issue of good corporate governance. Clearly the Council is caught between a rock and a hard place. “The scale of what has happened on the Clare coast is truly shocking and there …

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Anger in Kilbaha at road closure

RESIDENTS in Kilbaha are angry that the main access road to the Loop Head village has been cut off. An 80 metre stretch of the road has been badly damaged in the recent storms and floods. The Kilrush Area Office of Clare County Council closed the road on Saturday morning February 1 in the immediate aftermath of Storm Bridget. The council said this was “to safeguard the wellbeing of the general public and motorists.” Bollards were put in place to provide pedestrian access along the seafront. An alternative route has been put in place to provide access to the Loop Head Peninsula west of Kilbaha. The road in Kilbaha was extensively damaged by Storms Christine and Bridget. “On Saturday evening it appears a member of the local community removed concrete bollards that had been put in place by the council. The council this morning once again closed off the road in the interests of public safety,” a county council statement issued on Monday …

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Terence Mangan

Mangan’s building gifted to council and community

By Peter O’Connell A landmark building in Kilmihil has been handed over to Clare County Council and the local community. It is now up to the local authority and the Kilmihil community to come up with ideas to best utilise the former Mangan’s building, which is located in the centre of the West Clare village. Mangan’s moved from Kilmihil to Ennis in 1972. At one point, approximately 40 people were employed at the West Clare plant, with seven of the Kilmihil panel that reached the 1968 county final employed there. Company director Terence Mangan said he is hopeful the building will be used to generate local employment but that it can be used for whatever purpose is deemed fit.  “That’s not our decision. That’s up to the community and up to the council in terms of how they structure whatever they do. We’ve offered it to the community and to the council. Obviously, there will have to be some money …

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Clare’s Blue Flag beaches under threat

THE damage caused to coastal areas by the recent  storms may leave a question mark over the future status of Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards locations, it has emerged. Clare’s Blue Flag beaches are Cappa, near Kilrush; Kilkee,  White Strand, Doonbeg; Fanore, in addition to Ballycuggeran and Mountshannon on Lough Derg. The issue will be high on the agenda  will be discussed at the annual Blue Flag and Green Coast Award conference in Dublin, on Wednesday. The conference will be attended by coastal  local authority representatives, as well as Blue Flag and Green Coast Award jury members. Annabel FitzGerald, coastal programmes manager, An Taisce said, “There are some serious concerns for some candidate Blue Flag and Green Coast Award beaches that have been left devastated by the recent storms particularly where infrastructure such as access roads, carparks and other amenities have been destroyed.” These are among the 32 imperative criteria required to achieve Blue Flag status. She added, “Local Authorities work …

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Towards a better Kilkee in 10 years

IN a somewhat ironic twist in view of the devastation caused by the weekend’s storm,  “Towards a Better Kilkee: A Town Improvement & Economic Development Strategy 2014-2024,” was launched last night at the Culturlann Sweeney Library. Prepared by Clare County Council, in association with Kilkee Town Council and various community groups, the  key focus of the 10-year strategy is to generate new employment opportunities in a town that has a 36% unemployment rate, promote the local tourism product and enhance the physical appearance of Kilkee. The latter presents a huge challenge, now that the much core element of the seaside infrastructure has been so badly damaged. The short and medium-term priorities outlined in the strategy include carrying out a branding and marketing exercise for Kilkee, establishing contact with owners of all opportunity sites, promote the existing coastal walks by upgrading signage and information, conducting a survey of derelict sites in the town, carrying out upgrading works to the bandstand, producing a comprehensive …

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