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Clare publican: ‘It is time to lift all the doom and gloom’

RELIEF was palpable in Bodyke last weekend with the easing of pandemic restrictions and the return of customers to the long bar at The Cobbler’s Rest.  Like thousands of so-called ‘wet pubs’, the venue was hit hard by the pandemic, enduring months of complete closure. The pub, which had never served food, chose not to provide the now infamous €9 meal in an effort to keep the doors open. The result was that it remained shut down between March and September of 2020 and worked around various waves of restrictions in the 15 months that followed. “It’s like a cloud has been lifted over Bodyke last weekend,” said Susan McMahon, who runs the popular rural venue alongside Martin Butler. “The relief was palpable and there was a great sense of excitement on Saturday night. Ironically, I’d say a lot of people chose to go to a restaurant that night, so we were fairly quiet, but it was great for that …

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Gardai probe potential arson attack in east Clare

CLARE gardai are appealing for information about a potential arson attack in an east Clare community last week. On Wednesday night, January 5, a caravan and mobile home parked at Ballydonaghan, Bodyke were set on fire and both were totally burnt out. A garda spokesperson noted that this is a rural area in Bodyke and said, “If there was anyone in the area of Balydonaghan between 11pm and 11.30pm last Wednesday and saw anything suspicious we would ask them to contact Scariff Garda Station on 061 922790.

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East Clare windfarm application open for submissions

COMMUNITIES from Feakle to Killaloe are being urged to make themselves aware of the details of a planning application for a 19-turbine windfarm which have just been lodged with An Bord Pleanála. Along with reports detailing the potential impact on the environment and on wildlife habitats on the 749 hectare site, the Coillte application outlines the full specification for the Carrownagowan Windfarm, which is earmarked for the northern slopes of Slieve Bernagh. “I would strongly urge all of the communities of East Clare to make themselves aware of what is proposed,” said Chairperson of the Killaloe Municipal District, Councillor Pat Hayes. “People need to be satisfied about the impact this development might have on the quality of life for this generation and generations to come. People need to inform themselves and make their views known.” Because the project has been designated as ‘strategic infrastructure,’ it has gone directly to the planning appeal’s board. Submissions are being accepted up to February …

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Coillte defend track record on East Clare wind farm consultation

THE developers of a multimillion euro wind farm planned for a site in East Clare have defended their track record in consulting with the local community. At a presentation to local councillors, Coillte outlined a detailed Community Engagement plan, which includes more than 2,000 house calls to those likely to be affected by the Carrownagowan Wind Farm, proposed for the north west slopes of Slieve Bearnagh, around a mile-and-a-half from the village of Bodyke. The meeting between representatives of the forestry service, who own the 750 hectare site, and propose to build 19 turbines, with a maximum tip height of 169m, took place at the request of Cathaoirleach of the Killaloe Municipal District, Councillor Pat Hayes who questioned the adequacy of the communication process. Responding to these concerns, a representative of Coillte explained that a process of engagement with the community had started in March of 2018, focusing on those living within 2km of the development site and involving over 2,000 …

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Locals Raise Concerns Over East Clare Wind Farm Consultations

CONCERNS are being voiced in Bodyke about the nature of the consultation process surrounding a multimillion Euro wind farm proposed for the slopes of Slieve Bernagh in East Clare. In recent weeks, a Facebook page, called ‘Bodyke Voice on Wind Farm’ has been set up by people in the community to facilitate discussion. One of those raising awareness of the project, Susan McMahon of the Cobbler’s Rest, has used the page to publish responses from the developer, Coillte, to a series of detailed questions, some of which focus on a perceived lack of consultation with the wider community. “I have no agenda on this,” Ms McMahon told The Champion. “I’m not trying to rally the forces or influence people one way or another on this project. I’m not against green energy, I’m in favour of it, but, I do feel we have been brushed aside in terms of consultation.” The publican outlined how she had learned, by word of mouth, …

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Killaloe councillors seek briefing on East Clare windfarm

KILLALOE councillors are to seek a briefing from the developers of a multi-million euro wind farm development planned for a site on the slopes of Slieve Bernagh, just over two kilometres from Bodyke. Earlier this month, Coillte confirmed that it is to lodge an application shortly, to An Bord Pleanála, under the Strategic Infrastructure Act. Raising the proposed Carrownagowan Wind Farm at the May meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District, Councillor Pat Hayes asked for details of communications and correspondence between officials and the developer. “I would like those details to be revealed,” the Caher-based member said. “The lack of consultation has been very remiss of Coillte.” The Fianna Fáil councillor insisted that communication with officials was not sufficient and ignored the role of elected members. “This day last year, we were re-elected and have never had personal communication [with Coillte],” he said. “Consultation behind the scenes with different departments is one thing, but we are the voice of the …

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Féile Brían Ború called off as Covid-19 restrictions continue

THE latest East Clare festival to fall foul of the Covid-19 restrictions is the hugely popular Féile Brían Ború, which organisers have decided to call off in the interests of public health and safety. Chairperson of East Clare Tourism and member of the organising committee, Arlene White, said that while the decision had been a tough one to make, hopes had been gradually fading over the last couple of weeks. The 2019 festival took place on the second week in July, and in the context of the roadmap for re-opening the economy, organisers couldn’t envisage a similar gathering on the shores of Lough Derg in just over five week’s time. “Last year, we had 2,000 people for the fireworks display, and we just couldn’t have crowds of that size in the context of the coronavirus restrictions,” Ms White explained. “Our organising committee also arranges the Killaloe St Patrick’s Day parade, and once we had to call that off, we started …

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Hats off to top milliner Ailish

IMAGINE a “sweet shop for grown women” crossed with Aladdin’s Cave of colour, and nestled in the rolling hills of East Clare. It’s a far cry from her native Rathfarnham, but this is where millinery designer Ailish McElroy has made her home and found her passion. Working from her studio and show room in Annaghneal, a stone’s throw from Bodyke, Ailish has been grabbing headlines recently, and award nominations, for her highly creative and environmentally sustainable approach to fashion. The Dubliner made the leap into self-employment after a downturn the graphic design sector, where she previously worked for a number of international companies, and has never looked back. Her bravery and creativity were rewarded when she was recently chosen to compete with the very best in the creative sector as part of the forthcoming Irish Fashion Innovation Awards  later this year. “I was notified back in January and it was as complete surprise and an honour,” Ailish explained. “It’s one …

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