Mma Sey

has learned that €6,/97.94 was paid to the court poor box by various defendants who were brought before the courts in Clare last year. Just €1,250 of this was paid out to charitable organisations or Support groups.

At the start of 2004, <€20,850 which amounted over the previous few years, was carried over and this brought the total re- maining in the poor box to €26,397.94 at the end of last year. This has now grown to more than €30,000. On occasions, Judge Joseph Mangan dis- misses various cases under the Probation of Offenders Act and orders defendants to pay a sum of money to the court poor box. Cahercalla Hospice spokeswoman Mary Moloney said she would welcome “with Open arms” funding towards the hospice, which is moving to a new building, as part of a major €2 million development, the plan- ning application of which is being submitted WNL oo) © “Even a whiff of it [the €30,000] would be welcome. I certainly didn’t know it was there. My understanding was if there was money paid in, it would be paid out immedi- ately,” said Ms Moloney. Fundraising co-ordinator of Clare Haven Services — which offers support to women coping with domestic violence — Eileen Murphy, said her organisation would be “delighted to receive anything from it.” She said, “I will write to the court clerk and see what happens, now that that kind of money is there. “We would love to see it distributed among the services which deal with domestic abuse.” Another support group, Clarecare, would also welcome funding from the court’s poor lfe).@ ‘We would never say no to money in this type of business. We are not against getting it. We would have no problem spending all that money tomorrow. The question is where would it best serve,’ said Clarecare General Manager Fiacre Hensey. A spokesman for the Courts Service said it is up to each judge to decide where the proceeds of the poor box actually goes - the decision in Clare rests with Judge Joseph Mangan. “Some judges clear it out at the end of every year [for example Killarney, Listowel, Ballinasloe, Tuam, Naas and Sligo], while others let it build up over time and make large donations to groups or organisations. A decision will have to be made at some stage about what will be done with it,” he said.


Don’t panic – there is an answer

ANYONE who _ proclaimed that cars should run on vege- table oil, or batteries was nor- mally regarded as at best ‘al- ternative, at worst eccentric.

But these are anything but normal times.

With fist fights on the filling station forecourts and flood waters swirling as we melt the planet, the days when we can rely on fossil fuels for power and transport are surely num- bered.

So will the ‘green’ car idea finally have its day and, first and foremost, does it actually exist?

The good news is_ that whereas five years ago these issues were hardly on the in- dustrial radar screen, now all the world’s major motor man- ufacturers have huge ‘green’ programmes and boast senior executives with titles such as ‘vice-president, environment.’

The prize for the company which cracks the formula for the green car of the future, before its rivals, will be meas- ured in trillions of dollars.

The prize for the human race will be cleaner air.

The bad news is that those same companies have found that solving the technology problem of alternative fuels is taking more time and money than they expected.

With petrol prices going through the roof, motorists are understandably looking for an instant solution to rising fuel eyeN KS

Even the most ambitious automobile §manufacturer’s admit that it will be late 2007 before hydrogen cars appear in showrooms and even then there probably won’t be any- where to re-fill them.

SUC Kmoormalunes off it seems, with significant implications for motorists not expected for another ten years Or SO.

So what is the solution?

The first and most straight- forward route is to join the droves of Irish motorists and convert to a diesel engine –

diesel models now represent 42 per cent of all new car sales in the Republic.

Alternatively, manufactur- er’s like Toyota and Honda offer hybrid petrol-electric models which again use less fuel than conventional petrol eran Nee

More and more manufactur- er’s look set to follow this ex- ample with Mercedes promis-

ing to unveil models in their showrooms come January 2007.

Significantly these models will reduce consumption by anything up to 25 per cent.

If you are determined enough you could really slash your fuel bill by going elec- tric. That is if you don’t mind also cutting your top speed to about 40 miles an hour.

The Reva G-Wiz, which is manufactured in India and is distributed in the UK by is the only mass production and afford- able electric car on offer in Europe at the moment.

Fully-charged (which can take about six hours) the G- Wiz can manage about 40 miles. This however can also depend on temperature and driving conditions.

Although this doesn’t sound too encouraging at first, con- sidering the following – this electric model will still run at about one third the cost of a normal petrol car. have en- joyed significant interest in the G-Wiz since they launched the vehicle in May, 2004.

They have already sold 250 and have a further 50 on order at a nominal cost of £8,000.

For those who still want the bit of power, performance, prestige, electric windows, comfortable seating and the ability to travel decent jour- ney without having to seek out a handy road side socket, then maybe converting your car to run on liquid petroleum gas (LPG) might be just the thing for you.

Conversion companies can

charge anything up to €2,000 to carry out the required work on your vehicle, but it might well be worth it with LPG costs per litre running at about 40 per cent of typical petrol costs.

It’s worth noting though that this advantage is purely down the difference in VAT charges.

The British Motoring As-

sociation estimate that there are 100-125,000 vehicles in the UK running on LPG, and thankfully this fuel also cuts down on carbon dioxide emis- sions by twenty per cent when compared with petrol. Con- venient availability of LPG can prove a problem however.

On the continent LPG is widely available, particularly in Italy, Holland, Germany and France.

As usual, in Ireland, we’re well behind.

If you’d prefer to escape de- pendence on dissipating fossil fuels and third party suppli- ers entirely, you can then join

the growing ranks of people running their diesel cars on biodiesel.

Biodiesel is made from crops such as oilseed rape and sunflower seeds.

In the UK at the moment, biodiesel is currently being sold as a five per cent blend with conventional diesel at a growing number of supplier stations. Some motorists how-

ever are concocting their own 100 per cent blend, or buying it from independent manufac- turers to run their own vehi- cles. Few problems have thus far been reported.

Green Fuels, a_ biodiesel technology specialist, have been selling DIY biodiesel kits for about the last eighteen months in the UK.

James Hygate, Green Fuels MD, has been running his Audi A6 on biodiesel for over a year now.

Biodiesel DIY kits start at £4,106. The kit can produce biodiesel in batches of 150 litres. The process involves

mixing heated vegetable oil with other chemicals and then filtering off the end product.

In comparison to current petrol prices, you should once again save yourself about 60 per cent on your fuel bill.

Be warned however. If you do decide to switch to biodie- sel it could affect your vehicle Wee ETO ATe

Many car manufacturer’s are, as of yet, completely hap- py to endorse this fuel alterna- tive completely.

Despite this manufacturer reticence don’t be surprised if in a few years you look out your car window and see acre upon acre of golden oilseed rape.

These will become the 21st century oil fields and farmers will become oil barons as cli- mate changes and diminishing oil reserves turn plants like oilseed into a wonder fuel.

The above was once the fan- tastic vision of biofuel lobby, but now its closer to reality than we first suspected.

Technically there are two kinds of biofuel.

One is made from plant oils and the other, bioethanol, is made by fermenting grains.

Both can be used in unmodi- fied diesel and petrol engines When blended with conven- tional diesel and petrol.

Last month the EU increased pressure on Ireland to meet its biofuel targets – a request of course the coalition govern- ment have largely ignored.

In the UK the number of garage forecourts stocking biodiesel and bioethanol fuels while car manufacturer’s may also be converted.

Early this summer in Swe- den Saab released its first flex- ible fuel model and it is an- ticipated that more will follow this example.

Right now the dream of a clean biofuel future may be just that, but with the momen- tum created by the EU and the public the vision may become increasingly plausible with every field in Ireland becom- ing a practical oil field.


CeO GCM le ye

A MAN and three young children were dragged out of their burning home in Shannon after it was set alight in suspicious circumstances in the early hours of Sunday.

George O’Shaughnessy (30), seven-year-old twin boys Evan and Lee and three-year-old tod- dler Sophie were asleep in upstairs bedrooms when the fire broke out at the bottom of the stairs at their home at Purcell Park, at around 6am.

Gardai and rescue services were on the scene within minutes, after a neighbour heard the fire alarm going off. Gardai Stephen Ryan and Gerry Flaherty from Shannon Garda Station — which is a stone throw away from the home — attempted to gain access through the ground floor of the house, but they were beaten back by the flames. They managed to get a ladder from a neighbour, to reach the family and carry them out through an upstairs window at the back of the privately-owned house.

All four were taken to the Mid-Western Re- gional Hospital, Ennis, as a precautionary meas- ure. They were treated for smoke inhalation, before being discharged a short time later. The young children are currently living with their peau WeKebaelOlssCoMBDOMNyercvIveLe)IE

Two units of the fire brigade from Shannon brought the blaze under control within an hour.

There was extensive smoke damage to the inside of the home, particularly to the hallway, stairs and landing. The Clare Scenes of Crime unit has examined the O’Shaughnessy home and the results of this examination will be sent for

forensic analysis to Garda Headquarters in Dub- thee

The results of that will determine exactly how the fire started, according to gardai. Mr O’Shaughnessy works locally in Shannon, and has lived there with his family for the past year- and-a-half, having previously lived in another part of the town.

“But for the swift actions of the two gardai, all four people who were in the house could

have died. I cannot commend the gardai highly enough,’ said Supt John Kerin.

‘The fire at the bottom of the stairs prevented rescue services from going in through the door so they had to get the children out through the back window,” he added.

A garda investigation has been launched and Supt Kerin said that gardai were “following a particular line of enquiry” in relation to the in- cident.


Report shows AHL ALL good shape

THE Annual Competitiveness Report 2005, produced by Forfas, contains a wealth of information on key indicators for Irish busi- ness and industry.

GNP (Gross National Product) per capita in 2004 was €25,704, and GDP (Gross Domestic Prod- uct) was €30,691. Real GDP erowth was 4.9 per cent, while that for GNP was 5.5 per cent.

For the same year, labour force participation was 71 per cent. This refers to the portion of the population aged between 15 and 64 years that was either in em- ployment or actively seeking it.

The labour force is projected to grow by 1.3 per cent this year. There has been a substantial in- crease in employment in Ireland over the last decade, from 1.3 million in 1995 to 1.9 million this year.

With over one hundred pages of these and other statistics, the

report is well worth reading. It is wide-ranging, covering factors from quality of life to taxation and regulation, from environ- mental sustainability to entrepre- neurship and innovation.

According to Don Thornhill, chairman of the National Com- petitiveness Council, GDP is expected to grow by 5.3 per cent this year, more than double the OECD average of 2.6 per cent.

“The rate of economic growth is an important signal of com- petitiveness,’ Dr Thornhill stated. “Using this criterion, Ire- land is one of the most competi- tive economies in the developed world.”

He points out that there are challenges, however. Our rate of growth, while still high, has slowed down compared with previous years, and we are fall- ing behind our peers in North America and Continental Eu- rope in terms of prices and costs competitiveness. Costs are par-

ticularly high in the energy and waste management areas.

“Higher costs and the current weakness of the US dollar are making Ireland an expensive production location relative to our trading partners,” he com- ments.

In a foreword, An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says that competi- tiveness is a key focus of govern- ment policy.

“The Government is_ deter- mined that the conditions for enterprises operating in Ireland should be as favourable as possi- ble,’ Mr Ahern stated. “This en- compasses policies on the skills needs of the population, the knowledge capital in the econo- my, the physical infrastructure, the costs that businesses face, the utilities and services that businesses need, the regulatory environment and other factors.”

Many of these aspects are benchmarked in the report.


Majority of hand-me-down businesses Tall

MORE than seven in ten family businesses go to the wall when they are passed on from parent to child, people attending a business seminar in Ennis were told.

Ennis Chamber of Commerce played host to a workshop in associ- ation with Ernst and Young, aimed at addressing and combatting the

high failure rate of businesses in County Clare as they transfer to the next generation or to a third party. Outlining the importance of the workshop, President John Galvin said, “a large proportion of Ireland’s indigenous businesses are owned or managed at family level, but 72 per cent of these companies fail once their founder hands over the busi- ness according to research by the

IMI. This is mainly due to poor or no succession planning.”

Lisa Doyle, a specialist in succes- sion planning with Ernst & Young told the business people attending the event at the Temple Gate Ho- tel that “most small business own- ers in County Clare will eventually face the challenge of transferring or selling their business to family members or third parties. We con-

sistently find that business owners with succession strategies have a significant tax advantage, maxim- ise their company value and enjoy the re-assurance that their business will continue to thrive.”

At the Breakfast Briefing work- shop, attendees were given advice on how to achieve a successful transfer to the next generation, capi- talise on the opportunities available

and avoid loss of control and the de- mise of their family business.

Topics covered included the re- tirement of the business owner /manager, planning an exit strat- egy, the recruitment of a successor, taxation for succession and legal and financial aspects of succession. Attendees will also be advised on the sale of equity and takeovers and buyouts.


{0 man convicted of assault

THE security company operated by convicted Ennis man, Kevin Cooper has received almost €100,000 from Ennis Town Council for carrying out security- related activities over the past five years.

Mr Cooper recently received a three-month jail term after being convicted of assault and Ennis Town May- or, Cllr Frankie Neylon (Ind) confirmed that the coun- cillors and officials would discuss the arrangement entered into with Mr Cooper’s company, if his appeal against his conviction fails.

Two other Council members, Donal O’Bearra (GP) and Johnny Flynn (FG) also stated this week that the Council engaging the services of Mr Cooper’s com- pany must be discussed if Mr Cooper’s appeal is un- SECC AUN

At a recent special sitting of Ennis District Court, Mr Cooper (43) of Loughville, Ennis received a three month jail for assault. Mr Cooper is currently on bail pending an appeal of the conviction to Ennis Circuit Court, which is due to sit next month.

Along with carrying out security work for Ennis Town Council, Mr Cooper’s company, Avalon Securi- ty Services provides security for a number of licensed premises across Ennis.

Clare County Council this week confirmed that Mr Cooper’s company has not been engaged by the Coun- cil for a number of years, however a company oper- ated by Mr Cooper, Ennis Security Services, was paid €175,000 by the County Council in 2000.

Ennis Town Clerk, Eddie Power confirmed this week that the company of which Mr Cooper is a director,

Avalon Security Ltd has been paid a total of €85,970 in respect of years 2001-2005.

Asked would the council now be reviewing its con- tract with Mr Cooper’s company in the light of the convictions, Mr Power said that the council had no further comment to make.

The recent district court sitting was also told that Mr Cooper had two previous convictions for assault, though the most recent was 15 years ago. The court was told that he was fined €63 at Tulla District Court in 1990 and fined €63 at Kilkee District Court in 1986.

Prior to sentencing Mr Cooper, Judge Mangan asked was it correct that Mr Cooper had two previous convictions for assault and was still the director of a security company which supervises doormen. Inspec- tor Tom Kennedy replied that this was the case. “Ill make no further comment,’ responded the judge.

aN) Coren Oh)


Harty Cup returns

WHAT do Seanie McMahon, Stephen McNamara and Colin Lynch have in common? Not a ten marker when eve- ry hurling aficionado knows that they are All-Ireland men.

The ten-marker is that they are all All-Ireland men who went to Rice Col- lege in Ennis, but who never played Dr Harty Cup hurling with the renowned Christian Brothers academy.

All because, during their school days top flight Harty hurling ceased to be in the school hugging the Fergus River in Ennis. Indeed, it ceased to be there for 30 years, a three-decade gap that will be bridged this Wednesday when the school once again toes the Harty hurl- ing line against Kilmallock.

The last Dr. Harty Cup game the CBS played was in 1975 when they went down heavily to a Pat Horgan inspired North Monastery from Cork. The Mon went on to win the title — the CBS went down to the lesser grades of colleges hurling.

Now, their re-emergence as a top flight hurling school will re-kindle memories of a great association with the blue riband of colleges hurling in the province. That association reached its zenith on a March day in ’62 when the CBS boys crossed the Fergus wa- ters to Cusack Park and slayed mighty St. Flannan’s by 4-2 to 2-7 in the fi- ee

St. Flannan’s are still mighty as last

season’s 21st Harty Cup success and subsequent Croke Cup triumph proved. They open the defence of their titles against once mighty North Monastery and nothing other than a big win will be expected from the James O’Connor and Con Woods coached side.

Completing the triumvirate of Clare schools contesting the Harty Cup are St. Caimin’s from Shannon. And, if Rice College’s return to the top flight after a 30-year hiatus is noteworthy, the same can be said of St. Caimin’s.

This will be their maiden voyage, a journey first undertaken by a Shan- non school in the late eighties when St. Patrick’s Comprehensive were new kids on the Dr. Harty block.

St. Pat’s famously reached the final in 1989, only to go down by 0-9 to 0-5 to St. Flannan’s in what was only the second all-Clare final in the 90 year history of the competition.

In recent years, St. Caimin’s have amalgamated with St. Pat’s for Harty Cup purposes — this year they are go- ing it alone and face Ballingarry in Nenagh.


Fianna Fail goes to the dogs

THE Fianna Fail A4 stake first round heats at the Galway track on Thursday and Friday night created much interest for Banner owners. There 1s €1,/50 on offer to the winner and with four dogs qualifying from first round heats, most of the Clare entries are still standing.

Glengal Lad, owned by Joe Longe of Ballyea, was the only Clare dog to win a heat. This was in race eight on Friday night. Running from trap four he had a winning time of 29.56 seconds. It was another good night for the Longe family with White Tip Dream, owned by Joe’s brother Gerry, winning the bumper race after coming in as a reserve.

Other Clare winners on Friday night were Drinking Solid for Sean Allen of Shannon, Cricket Player for Janet Downes of Killaloe and Knappogue Risk for Martin McDermott of Kilrush.

Race nine on Thursday night’s card was heat two of the Buster A5 stake worth €1,900 to the winner. Baby Leyton, owned by Bertie and Mary O’Doherty of Clarecastle booked his place in the next round winning here in a time of 29.09 seconds.

Tiermana Hill, owned by Noel Mo- roney and Pat O’Connor of Ennis, took second spot. Inagh Hero, owned by Michael McGuane of Inagh was also a winner in this stake recording a time of 29.02 seconds. Race four on Thursday

night was won by Tullagower Dream owned by Sean Crowley of kilrush. Carhue Kewell, woned by Ann Carey of Kilrush got Clare owners off the mark on Saturday night winning race one in a time of 29.92 seconds. Ennisman Frankie Sheehan continued his good run with Joint Cottage winning race ten in a time of 29.35 seconds.

Loclar Johnny, owned by Pat O’Connor of Miltown Malbay, went to traps for the final of the Irish Cam- bridgeshire Open 700 yards at Limerick on Saturday having recorded the fastest winning time in the semi-finals.

On Monday night hopes high that the West clare dog could win here, however he was out of luck on this occassion.



SHANNON Swimming and Lei- sure Centre looks set to make losses for the third year running, prompt- ing a centre director to call on the Government to match local author- ity funding for the facility.

Accounts filed to the companies office by the centre show that the facility has made losses in 2003 and 2004. Company director, Cllr Patricia McCarthy (Ind), confirmed that the centre is on course to make a loss again this year.

She said, “Government should match the €55,000 that the council contributed to the centre last year. This would allow us plan ahead. The Government talks a lot about the need for a healthy lifestyle, but it needs to back that up by support- ing centres such as the Shannon je.Nos 0 BUR VA

The accounts recently filed with the Companies Office show that to the end of October, 2004, the centre made a loss of €47,000 and this fol- lowed a loss of €33,000 sustained in 2003. At the end of October 2004, the centre had an accumulat- ed loss of €60,624. However, this is much smaller when compared to the €469,000 accumulated loss at Lahinch Seaworld.

Last year, the centre had a turno- ver of €461,000 with a wage bill of €243,000. Cllr McCarthy said this week, “The centre has been through several bad patches since it opened in 1973 and has closed down on a number of occasions.

She said, “By the mid-1980s, it was decided to treat the centre as a business and the leisure centre was added and opened by President Mary Robinson in 1994.”

Cllr McCarthy said that the earn- ings from the pool and leisure cen- tre supplemented each other.

“The centre provides a vital serv- ice and is essential for the com- munity, employing 11 full-time employees.

“We run a very tight ship and we stay sharp and focused. The centre is willing to try any activity once. For example, it has the only climb- ing wall in the region.

“The increasing cost of oil and heating 1s not making it easy, but the Board — whose work is volun- tary — are very diligent. I would like to see more people using the centre. The centre itself is a total non-profit facility.”

Cllr McCarthy said that, without the annual contribution from the County Council, the financial situ- ation would be worse. The centre last made a profit in 2002.


Ele elem talem ely

SOME 200 Macra na Feirme County Officers attend Leader- ship Training Weekend in Ennis last week and showing leader- ship in their community was high on their agenda. Speaking at the training weekend, which took place in the West County Hotel, Macra na Feirme national president Colm Markey said that too many people are adopting a ‘leave it to somebody else’ atti- tude when it came to getting in- volved in clubs or organisations UOMO elo) Dur-busreb

“While people are happy to enjoy the benefits provided by organisations, many are slow to take on positions of responsibil- ity,’ said Mr Markey. “Many vol- untary organisations have been depending on the same people to run them for years.

“The organisations themselves needed to do more to attract peo-

ple into voluntary positions of re- sponsibility,” he continued. “Most organisations have too many long-winded and boring meeting and that needs to change.”

The Clare branch of Macra re- sumed their activities last week- end with a host of activities. On Friday night the members spent an evening at the dogs at the Gal- way Greyhound Track and many were present for the training evening on Saturday evening.

Claire O’Callaghan of Kincora Macra and Mairéad Meehan, Joe Carrig and Pat Carrig (all from the Newmarket Macra) re- ceived Bank of Ireland leadership awards from Colm Markey at the banquet.

On September 23 the Clare Macra will holding the regional bowling competition at Funworld in Limerick. All clubs are asked to participate and contact Fiona Treacy on 061 926970 for more Cle NU hse