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Housing and jobs key to survival of shops in East Clare

THE lack of housing and employment have emerged as key issues to safeguard the future viability of rural shops in East Clare. O’Meara’s grocery and agri-business supplier is the only retail outlet in Flagmont village, operating out of the same premises since 1897. It was all started by John O’Meara. His great grandson, Thomas O’Meara, has been managing the shop since 2010, with valuable assistance from his mother, Annette. It provides a valuable service to people in East Clare from 9am to 8pm, six days a week and 9am to 1pm on Sunday. The key to its success is it provides, in the words of Thomas, a “bit of everything”, grocery, fuel, convenience goods and a large variety of agricultural supplies. The long hours in a rural shop mean it is very much a “vocation” for this family-run business. Asked if there is a magic wand solution to keep rural shops alive, Thomas says there is no quick-fix solution, but …

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GAA needs a new model for small clubs

A NEW model is required to keep small rural clubs alive, according to GAA coaching officer, Peter Casey. The Lisdoonvarna native, who is living in Fanore for the past 15 years, argues the GAA’s one-size-fits-all approach isn’t suitable for some clubs, particularly those on the periphery in the west, north and east of the county. The former Clare U-21 hurling selector proposes one model for an urban club with enough playing resources and another for those struggling due to a lack of numbers. In the first group, he includes the likes of Éire Óg, Sixmilebridge, Doora-Barefield, Ballyea and Clarecastle, who usually can field two teams in most underage grades most years. He places Cratloe, Tulla, Broadford, Ennistymon and Corofin in a middle group that can comfortably field teams in most grades. Clubs on the Loop Head Peninsula, such as Naomh Eoin and O’Curry’s, and teams in isolated parts of North and East Clare, however, require amalgamations at underage level. Stressing …

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