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Short-term lets creating ‘stark’ housing situation in Clare

THE housing crisis in West Clare, and elsewhere, is being worsened by short-term letting, a meeting of the Council has heard. A motion was tabled, at the December meeting, by Councillors Cillian Murphy, Tony O’Brien, Alan O’Callaghan and Pat Hayes calling on the Minister for Finance to look at a tax policy solution to encourage a switch from short-term to long-term rental. Outlining the situation, Councillor Cillian Murphy said that a search of Daft.ie had shown a total of 1,830 properties to rent nationwide. Of these, four were in Ennis and its environs; one in Lahinch; none in Ennistymon or Lisdoonvarna; two in Kilrush and its surrounds; none in Kilkee and six in the Shannon area. The Fianna Fáil member contrasted that situation with short-term letting, as revealed by the ‘Inside Airbnb’ research. “Across the whole country, there are 15,851 entire homes or apartments available for short term let on Airbnb,” he explained. “6,420 of those are operated by hosts …

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Clare hotel looks to change game for hospitality staff

WITH a €3 million redevelopment of the Armada Hotel in Spanish Point coming, owner John Burke is looking to fill 100 positions and is also trying to offer his staff working conditions far better than what one normally sees in the sector.  While the hospitality industry has often been associated with tough working environments, modest pay and unsociable hours, Mr Burke, who famously climbed Mount Everest in 2017, says he wants to offer his workers some of the perks that are associated with certain multinational companies. “A lot of multinationals have brought certain conditions and perks to the employment scene in Ireland and maybe it’s time for the hospitality sector to start looking to them, seeing what they’re providing and wherever possible to try and introduce that.” “That’s where we’re at now, looking at the best employers that are out there, what are they doing and how can we bring that into the hospitality sector,” he said this week. In …

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Clare hotel leads jobs drive as part of €3m redevelopment

A WEST Clare hotel has today announced its intention to create more than 100 new jobs to be filled by February 2022 as part of €3m redevelopment plan. To fill the roles, in a sector hampered by difficulties attracting staff, the Armada Hotel in Spanish Point has set up a recruitment agency, complete with its own beach hut. The renovation project which was placed on hold last year due to the pandemic will see the delivery of a large extension housing ‘Aileens’ – a brand new 90 seater restaurant with its own 100% sustainable energy kitchen. There will also be a new ocean bar with an “interactive cocktail space”; a private dining area for parties of up to 12 guests; and a dedicated space for wedding arrivals with feature bar and panoramic views. The remainder of the renovation works will take place in January when the hotel is closed to guests. To facilitate the work, the hotel has launched a …

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Two days of disruption to supply over water works in Clare communities

IRISH Water has warned of disruption to supply due to essential works over two days next week in parts of West Clare. On Monday, February 22 and Wednesday February 24 the water supply will be disrupted due to essential works progressing the water main upgrade between Mullagh and Milltown Malbay. On Monday, February 22 from 9am to 6pm, the entire Old Doolough Water Supply Zone, including Milltown Malbay, Mullagh, Corraclare, Creegh and all surrounding areas will experience disruption. These works will also impact on all group schemes fed from the supply. On Wednesday, February 24,the works will impact supply from 9am to 5pm primarily to Mullagh village; but will also impact on Milltown Malbay, Spanish Point and surrounding areas. These works will also impact on all group schemes fed from the supply. It may take two to three hours for normal water supply to return to all customers but it is important, notes the utility, to continue to follow the HSE …

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Call for council apology over role at Kilrush mother and baby home

CLARE County Council has been urged to apologise for the role it played, in the 1920s and ‘30s, in the running of the County Clare Nursery in Kilrush. Last week, in the Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, the high infant mortality rate there was revealed. The deaths of so-called “illegitimate” infants is recorded as 168 during a ten-year period from 1922 to 1932. The commission concluded that the vast majority of those children died at the home. The facility was owned and financed by Clare County Council. At the outset of this week’s meeting of the West Clare Municipal District, Councillor Shane Talty proposed that an apology would be issued by the council at its February meeting.  He said the council was proud of its history but added, “We should acknowledge our dark chapters and if the local authority had a role in that, albeit nobody today can take responsibility, I think at a …

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‘No health and safety issues’ at direct provision centre

NO health and safety issues were identified during an unannounced visit by a senior official from the Department of Justice and Equality to the Direct Provision centre in Miltown Malbay last week, it has been revealed. “I am advised that there was no evidence of any rodent activity or water leaking on the day my official visited,” Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan stated in briefing note seen by The Clare Champion. Mr Flanagan commissioned the report following concerns raised in correspondence and Parliamentary Questions relating to the emergency accommodation premises for international protection applicants at the Central Hostel in Miltown Malbay. Hostel owner Pat Kelly did not wish to make any comment but said to contact the Department of Justice on the issue. Last Thursday (June 4), officials from the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) held a clinic via video call with residents of the centre, which was attended by 12 of the 19 residents. The clinic was …

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Loophead phone coverage ‘virtually non-existent’

THE plight of the farming community in accessing mobile phone and broadband services in West Clare has been highlighted by a Loop Head man who estimates that his family have paid more than €1,000 over a six-month period when they have virtually no coverage. John Keane, who lives half way between Cross and Kilbaha, is a dairy farmer, milking over 200 cows a day. He outlined how, since last November, five members of his family have had worsening problems in accessing a phone signal, and said the issue is also affecting the wider community. The situation is now so bad that Mr Keane fears that in the event of him having an accident or a heart attack in his milking parlour, he would be unable to use his phone to raise the alarm. “I would die in the milking parlour, if, God forbid, I had a heart attack,” he said. “As a farmer, the mobile phone is a safety net. …

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Kilkee coast guard unit further down-graded

ACROSS the May Bank Holiday weekend, Kilkee had no coast guard service available in the event of an emergency. A source has told The Clare Champion that the limited service the Kilkee unit of the Irish Coast Guard had been providing was further down-graded, following a recent training incident. It has also been claimed that the current coast guard crew have not recently passed an Operational Readiness Assessment (ORA) in more than two years. The Clare Champion contacted the Department of Transport on Wednesday for a comment on the claims, but it had not responded at the time of going to press. “The coast guard will say that they have a boat. We all know they have a boat but they don’t have a crew. Every time they need to go in the water, they need to bring an instructor down from Maritime SAR to even get on the water to do the training. There are about six people who …

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