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Ghostly goings on as Ennis National School children visit Clare Champion

THE Clare Champion was a very scary place on Thursday morning when dozens of children from Ennis National School visited to mark Halloween. The pupils were themselves dressed very scarily for the occasion, while Clare Champion staff were transformed into witches, ghosts and skeletons. While it was an exceptionally scary scene, the children were delighted when they heard that there was plenty of chocolate, sweets and taytos to help them come to terms with their ghostly surroundings.  

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New Site For St Joseph’s Hospital

A SITE has been secured for the construction of a new €25 million St Joseph’s Hospital in Ennis. The construction of the 100-bed, community nursing unit on five acres of Diocesan lands located near the Turnpike in Ennis will ensure that elderly care services remain at the heart of the county town, according to Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen. Deputy Breen said, “I am delighted that a site has been secured at this central location in Ennis for the construction of the new €25 million St Joseph’s Hospital. The sale of the 5.09 acres of land remains subject to planning permission for the development of the 100 bed Community Nursing Unit, but I believe the site provides the best option following the appraisal of a number of sites in the Ennis environs by the HSE. “The new state-of-the-art St Joseph’s Hospital building has been prioritised in the HSE Capital …

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Champion Ladies take the honours

TWO Clare Champion journalists were winners at the Local Ireland media awards last week, Jessica Quinn winning the best news story category and Carol Byrne taking the National Lottery Best Community story award. The awards ceremony took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Athlone last Thursday night and was hosted by RTÉ personality and Clareman Marty Morrissey. The awards were open to all 43 member titles of Local Ireland and their staff and it attracted hundreds of entries across the country. Cork newspaper The Southern Star was the only other newspaper to win two awards on the night. Jessica’s award came for a story on the proposed Supermacs development close to Clarecastle, which appeared in August of last year headlined ‘Bogus letters shocking’. In the story, Anne Marie Russell told The Clare Champion that she had received a letter in the post from Clare County Council addressed to her father, with a receipt for €20 paid for a planning …

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HPV campaigner Laura Brennan dies

HPV vaccine campaigner Laura Brennan has lost her battle with terminal cancer on Wednesday. The Ennis woman who had become one of Ireland’s leading patient advocates and campaigners for the HPV vaccine passed away on Wednesday at University Hospital Limerick. In a statement the Brennan family said, “Laura was a light in the life of everyone who knew her; a wonderful daughter, sister and friend. We are lost without her. “We are all incredibly proud of the work she did in the last 18 months to help protect other young women like herself from the cancer that has taken her life today. Laura used her voice, her generosity and her energy to help parents to make informed choices and protect their daughters from cervical cancer. She wanted to make a difference, and use the time that she had to right what she felt was a great wrong.” The family have appealed for privacy. Funeral arrangements are yet to be finalised. …

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New LIT campus for Ennis

LIT has confirmed its plans to open a new campus in Ennis on foot of a proposed capital investment of €0.75 million by Clare County Council. Located on Bindon Street in the town’s historic core, the new facility will enable a substantial increase in higher education activity in the town. Reflecting LIT’s regional development remit, the LIT Ennis campus will join LIT’s existing campuses at Clonmel and Thurles in County Tipperary; Moylish and Clare Street in Limerick City; and a new engineering-focused campus currently under development at Coonagh in Limerick. A total of six degree programmes in Social Care, Early Childhood Care and Education, and Marketing and Management are now available through the CAO at LIT in Ennis for September commencement. Possibilities for evening and professional learning will also be opened up. Commenting on the news, LIT President, Professor Vincent Cunnane said, “We are delighted to be able to progress our plans in Ennis. We intend to provide an expanded …

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‘Champion team up with Ennis Book Club festival for window display competition

AS part of the upcoming Ennis Book Club Festival (01-03 March) the organising committee and The Clare Champion have teamed up to run a window display competition for Ennis based businesses. Entrants are asked to create a book festival themed window display from Friday February 22 until the conclusion of the festival on Sunday March 3. Every business that enters will be given two free tickets to an event during the Ennis Book Club Festival. A judging committee, comprising of representatives from the Ennis Book Club Festival and The Clare Champion, will select a winner. Furthermore a 2019 window display winner will be selected at the end of the year, following two additional window display competitions, which are planned for later this year. Entry forms will be available at the 2019 Ennis Book Club Festival launch on Thursday January 31 at 7pm in the Rowan Tree Café.

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Estlin’s light shines on this Christmas

EVEN in the darkest days a gesture of kindness can bring some light. An Ennistymon family who tragically lost their daughter last year, are helping to make this Christmas a little bit brighter for others in an amazing act of generosity. Amy Dutil-Wall and her partner Vincent Wall from Ennistymon have endured the deepest of tragedies with the loss of Estlin Luna just before her fourth birthday in a car crash last year that also left Vincent fighting for his life. In honour of Estlin, the family have decided to donate some Christmas gifts to two worthy young girls around her age. Amy explains that she got the idea after seeing a number of offers of help to those in need on the Clare Free to a Good Home site. “It was something I was thinking of doing for a while, to give a gift in honour of Estlin and I thought why not this year. The holidays can be …

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Peter O’Connell appointed new Clare Champion editor

PETER O’Connell has been appointed as editor of The Clare Champion and will take up the position on Thursday next, May 31. Mr O’Connell succeeds Austin Hobbs, who has held the position since 2006 and will remain on in the newsroom. Mr O’Connell is married with two daughters and lives in his native Kilmurry McMahon. He is a past pupil of Drumdigus National School and Kilrush CBS. His media career began with Midlands Radio in 1996, while he worked at Clare FM from 1999 to 2002, before joining The Clare Champion. In his 16 years as a reporter with The Champion, he has covered both news and sport. Four years ago, Mr O’Connell found himself at the centre of a significant story himself. He and the then Clare hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald clashed publicly in Cusack Park, with the Sixmilebridge man angered by some opinion pieces that had been written by Mr O’Connell. This week, Mr O’Connell said the newspaper …

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