UO ie Cy ready for off

IRELAND’S first ever Euro- pean style outdoor Christmas market opens in Ballyvaughan this weekend with a host of activities, shopping and cheer which is sure to warm the hearts of locals and visitors alike.

The idea of an outdoor Christ- mas market has been popular in Germany and Austria for Several centuries, but the Bal- lyvaughan market is the first of it’s kind in this country.

The market will allow people to shop from a range of out- door stalls at a leisurely pace and enjoy an occasional glass of mulled wine and some local delicacies.

Last year the Ballyvaughan Christmas market started out aS a spontaneous idea born only two months before the Ste tiserheer here

This year however, the organ- isers have gone one step further with the purchase of traditional wooden huts which will be erected in St John’s Hall.

The stalls will sell a wide range of products and serve food and drink from _ these nutty

They will be decorated with fir garlands and chains of lights while inside the hall there will be a large array of crafts, gifts and food.

This year there will be 28 traders, the majority of which will be local craftsmen, as well as horse trap rides around he village and some traditional carol singing.

A number of stalls will also be filled by farmers from the Ballyvaughan farmer’s market which completed it’s second year of trading last weekend.

Aside from the market visi- tors to Ballyvaughan will be able to take in performances from Galway’s award-winning Cois Cladaigh Chamber Choir and John Spillane.

As-well-as_ these concerts there will also be a series of workshops on topics such as Christmas entertainments, and Christmas decorations using natural materials and floral decorations.

The Christmas market will run from 10am to 6pm on De- cember 3, 4, 8, 10, 17 and 18.

For more information:


welcomes spillane

POPULAR Cork singer/songwriter John Spillane will be in the Burren College of Art on December 10 as part of he college’s ongoing New- town Nights series of concerts.

This concert is part of efforts being made within the college to provide a venue for locals and tourist alike to enjoy all kinds of art in a unique Burren setting. With the opening of its new gallery earlier this year, the Burren College’s director Mary Greene hopes that the college now has a venue which can really open it up to the local community.

“We see all different kinds of art interwoven into what we do here,’ said Mrs Greene. “I want it to be alive. Now that we have the new gal- lery we will have much more of an opportunity to run events for the lo- cal community.”

John’s first solo album “The Wells of The World’ was described by Hot Press as ‘not only a striking and in- dividual musical statement, but one of the albums of this, or any other year’.

He has gained a reputation over the years for performances in the Irish language, collaborating with gaelic poet Louis de Paor and artists such as Sinead Lohan.

On April 1 of this year John re-

leased his third and most successful album to date “Hey Dreamer”. The album reached number 4 in the Irish album charts and included such well received songs as “‘Dunnes Stores Girl’ and title track “Hey Dreamer’.

Aside from the concert, four stu- dents from the college will put on a special exhibition of their work in the Newtown Castle before John Spillane takes the stage.

Each student has taken on a floor of the castle and will transform it using a variety of instillation pieces ZNO OLou Le) went-lilGom-bam

The Burren College of Art is an internationally recognised non profit independent college specialising in undergraduate and graduate fine art education.

They offer artists and art students from around the world time, space and inspiration within the uniquely creative environment of the Burren.

The Master of Fine Art programme is accredited by the National Univer- sity of Ireland, Galway and is operat- ed in association with the Royal Col- lege of Art, London and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Tickets for the concert are avail- able at €20 from the college on 065 7077200, or check out www.burren- for more information. The concert takes place on Saturday De- cember 10 at 8.30pm.


Majority of rapes not reported

ALMOST three quarters of all rapes committed in Co Clare are never reported to the Garda, information received by The Clare People would suggest.

In the first ever research of its kind, a group from the Law Faculty of NUI, Galway has been commis- sioned by the Rape Crisis Network of Ireland to put together concrete figures on how many rapes are not reported in Ireland each year. The

group also aim to discover the rea- sons why these rapes are not report- ed to the Gardai.

In their preliminary investiga- tion, the group discovered that 73 per cent of the calls received by the Limerick Rape Crisis Centre (LRCC) in 2004 were not reported to the Gardai. The LRCC deals with calls from Clare, Limerick and parts of Tipperary and runs a clinic in Ennis two days a week.

Miriam Duffy is the co-ordinator of the LRCC and believes that there

are a number of different reasons why people are unwilling to report incidents of rape.

“It has been shown that 90 to 92 per cent of rapist are known to their victims which can make it difficult,” said Ms Duffy. “As well as this, the investigations undertaken by the Gardai can often take a number of months and this can deter people from coming forward.”

One of the main goal of the re- search, which is being headed up by Ennis man Conor Hanley, is to

evaluate how the criminal justice system responds to sexual violence. When the study is completed in 2007 it will make recommenda- tions on possible changes to the De- partment of Justice.

The amount of people who don’t report rapes could be as high as 90 per cent according to Deirdre Hea- ly, who is the primary researcher for the project.

“Almost half of the people sur- veyed didn’t tell anyone at all and I would imagine that 90 per cent will

be a more likely figure than 73 per cent when our research 1s complet- ed,” said Ms Healy.

The group are appealing to peo- ple who have suffered sexual abuse since 2002 and were aged 18 or over at the time to contact them in con- fidence.

Participants can obtain more in- formation by contacting Deirdre Healy on 091-495374 or check out

The Limerick Rape Crisis Centre can be reached at 1800 311511.


Zones pose health risk

MEMBERS of Clare County Council and Ennis Town Coun- cil have been warned not to put the financial interests of a small number of landowners ahead of the health of 30,000 people liv- ing in the greater Ennis area.

Last September, councillors from the two local authorities agreed to rezone two parcels of land on the outskirts of Ennis which have an area groundwater vulnerability rating.

These parcels of land are also situated in a zone of source pro- tection for the public water sup- ply for the Ennis area.

The Council’s planning de- partment warned that in the light of the boil notice issued in June, the rezonings “will increase the risk to human health.”

Since the councillors adopted the proposed changes, the Coun- cil has issued two further boil notices and the draft changes are

now on public display in order to receive submissions from the public.

In one decision, the councillors agreed that a cluster at Reskaun which contains 12 houses ac- commodate an additional seven homes and a cluster of 12 houses at Ballymaquiggan on the out- skirts of Ennis be extended to in- clude an additional three homes.

In his submission lodged with both councils, Cllr Brian Meaney described as reckless any decision to rezone the lands for housing

He states: “no rezonings in these two areas should take place pending the outcome of an investigation into the cause of the continuing water contamina- tion to the Ennis water supply.

“IT would urge the Council in the light of the two additional boil notices and the ongoing warnings to pre-school children and people in care to strengthen its reasons on why the rezonings

at Ballymaquiggan and Reskaun should not proceed.”

He added: “it also places an onus on the elected members to take a stance on the issue that would not undermine the Council’s case in seeking fund- ing from the Department of the Environment for remedial meas- ures to improve the Ennis water supply.”

“We cannot be seen on one hand to demand monies from Government to improve the sup- ply and endanger it on the other with reckless rezoning deci- sions.”

He added: “the ongoing con- tamination and threat of con- tamination of the Ennis Town Water Supply is a serious issue that the current review of the plan does not deal with.

“All land rezoning proposed in the review where a connection to the Ennis Town Water sup- ply is envisaged, be conditional that no development take place

until the upgrading of the En- nis Town Supply and connection and operation of the augmenta- tion scheme is complete.”

‘The proposed conditional re- zoning at Ballymaquiggan and Reskaun not take place.”

“Any further review or new plan include a plan objective requiring an appraisal of the de- sign capacity against the current use of the water and sewerage systems in the town.”

“This should include inform- ing members where flow capaci- ties are reaching their peak so that further development of the town is considered in a more in- formed manner.”

The rezonings and _ other changes to the Ennis and Envi- rons Plan will revert back to the council with a planner’s report before the Councils make their final decision. Both Councils are expected to debate the proposed rezonings at their monthly De- cember meetings.


Be an Angel and buy one

THE Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) are encouraging people to be an Angel and buy an Angel this Oi tahsaenrty

The (IWA) has just launched its annual fundraising Angel pin cam- paign that is aimed at enhancing the lives of 20,000 [WA service us- ers. The aim is to encourage people to buy the pins which cost just €2 each. A nationwide campaign was launched in Dublin on November 15, and the mulinational staff from the Ennis branch will be out on the streets throughout Christmas urg- ing people to get involved in this worthy cause.

The fundraiser is a vital event for the Ennis branch of the IWA who have been helping to provide opp- portunities and avenues for people with disabilities to become more actively involved in the workforce along with participating more in the social aspects of their community. The resource centre in Hermitage Ennis is open four days a week and caters for up to 60 people with physical and sensory disabilities while there is also a simillar centre in Spanish Point which is open for one day during the week.

They offer a variety of different services for people with disability

including art and drama classes while also hosting workshops in computer and IT skills and provid- ing a door to door bus service. A personal assistant service is also available for people who might have difficulty getting around their homes. The IWA work in conjunc- tion with FAS and on Monday last 15 participants in the Ennis Pre- Employment Course graduated at a ceremony held in the Temple- Gate Hotel in Ennis. According to Colin McGrath, assistant living Service co-ordinator in Ennis, the Angel campaign is vital in ensur- ing the organization can continue to provide much needed services and hopes that this year’s fund- raising efforts can match last year efforts which saw the branch raise a OROL Oe?

“It’s massively important and it has been great so far this year, our staff have been out county wide from Kilrush to Killaloe.

“Without this sort of fundrais- ing we wouldn’t be able to provide fully wheelchair accessible buses or start new projects.”

Molly Buckley, CEO of IWA, said: “we are delighted to launch six Angel pins. Now it’s just down to the public to act like angels and show their generosity of spirit and pocket.”



THE innovations at Clare County Library _ services continue apace with the ad- vent of their new digitized maps service.

The 1842 Ordnance Sur- vey six-inch Maps of Clare were uploaded onto the li- braries website on Novem- ber 4. Since then the web- site has received more than 1,500 hits with researchers and historians keen to access MODEM. GO RoIOOLo) AAD DONT OLO METI MB Kor search tool.

The maps are the latest addition to the Library’s in- ternationally renowned Ge- nealogy and Local History Service and offer users the chance to take virtual tour of Clare in 1842.

They also provide a focal point for people to access a massive database of the

counties boundary markings and topographical features including over 7,000 pages including town lands, par- ishes, baronies, 7,OOO monu- ments and historical build- ings and 4,000 photographic images.

It provides a fascinating glimpse at the social and demographic makeup of the county in the pre-urbaniza- tion era and links census records with documents concerning land ownership and images from the librar- ies extensive photographic collection.

Clare County Library owns two original copies of the 1842 maps, but due to their fragile condition, the maps are only available for viewing at the Library’s Lo- cal Studies Centre in Ennis so public access to them is limited. In order to get the

maps onto the website’s In- ternet Geographical Infor- mation System (GIS), the library enlisted the services of Rainer Kosbi, a software developer and historical re- searcher whose *“Tracemaps SG” project provided the technical capacity for the maps to be uploaded and cross-referenced across the GIS.

An off-line solution for people who don’t have ac- cess to broadband has also been developed.

Anyone interested in ac- cessing the historical maps can send a blank CD to Clare Library Services who will upload the maps and return the CD with instructions on how to use the semi-offline application.

According to the head of Clare County Library Serv- ices, Noel Crowley the maps

were vital in collating the vast volume of information that has been accruing on the library’s busy website.

‘The whole idea was to get all the information and link it all together and the maps allow us to that.

“It can be mind boggling at times to try and get a com- plete picture of the entire project, it has been a huge undertaking and is an ongo- ing process.”

Such has been the popular- ity of the website that is now the County’s busiest branch. It attracts almost twice as many visitors as the de Valera Library in Ennis and in total has over 1.5 million visitors in total.

The praise for the service, which is the first of its kind in Ireland, has flowed in to the website’s message board from Washington to New

South Wales.

“This is a wonderful thing you are doing. It will be such a help to me as my early relatives and ancestors came from the Kilrush area in County Clare,’ writes Yvonne Murphy from Aus- tralia, while Pat Wood from Washington says: “outstand- ing website. Just discovered it today. Thanks so much for putting it together.”

Meanwhile, the library has also launched a new service allowing users to access the website using their voice.

By scrolling your mouse over the text that you want to read, the ‘Browsealoud’ system will read and speak what you require and help users to navigate the website more easily.

The easy-to-use service 1s free to download from the libraries website.



BUSHY Park treatment centre in Ennis has confirmed that there has been a 40% increase 1n 18 to 25 year olds presenting for treatment in the past year.

“The challenge for us two years ago or eighteen months ago was to actually fill capacity at Bushy Park, but in the last year, we are at full capacity and have had an extensive waiting list,” said the cen- tre’s Director, Margaret Nash.

In response to the growing numbers presenting themselves for the intensive four-week long treatment programme, Ms Nash confirmed that a planning ap- plication is to be lodged early in the New Year by Bushy Park that will increase the centre’s capacity by 40%.

The €2 million plan is to also include sport and recreation facilities for the residents, along with additional meeting


The planned expansion will increase the centre’s current residential capacity from 13 to 18 in 2007.

Ms Nash said that those aged 18 to 25 presenting for treatment came from a va- riety of social backgrounds.

“Some of them are going to college, have jobs, doing apprenticeships; they come from all social classes. It was in- evitably going to happen and is part of the economic boom, as drink is still rela- tively cheap and they are the age-group with the most disposable income.

“There 1s a fixation in Ireland, where parents are very happy saying ‘my child drinks, but he doesn’t do drugs’, but al- cohol is still the most destructive of oa bream

Ms Nash confirmed that the numbers presenting with alcohol addiction alone have dropped in recent years.

‘There are less and less people present- ing with straight alcohol addiction and that is a trend that is going to continue where you have more and more present- ing with cross-addictions.

‘For example, you would have a lot of women cross-addicted to alcohol and prescription drugs and the numbers pre- senting with straight alcohol addiction is at 60%.”

Ms Nash said that cocaine is the most popular illicit drug among people com- ing for treatment. Cannabis is also popu- lar, while both Ecstasy, which is being bought for €4, and heroin are on the in- crease.

More women are also presenting for treatment, according to Ms Nash.

“Traditionally, the gender breakdown was /0-30% in favour of men, now it is more 60-40% and Bushy Park has been heading that way in the last six months.


FOur weeks to get straight

Those admitted to Bushy Park centre on the outskirts of Ennis are subjected to a rigorous course of treatment over a four- week period.

According to the centre’s Director, Margaret Nash, treatment centres such as Bushy Park have a 75% success rate. Open since 1991, the centre has treated 1,800 people to date for addiction prob- lems, with the vast majority of those ad- dicted to alcohol.

Ms Nash said that, in a typical day at Bushy Park, “The residents would rise at 7.30 and have breakfast. Medita- tion would go from 9am to 9.45am and group therapy would take place from 10 am to 11.30am. Between 11.30 am and 12.30pm, residents would meet with counsellors or do their own writing and

from 12.30 to 1.30, lunch takes place. Residents then have book reading at 2pm, such as the AA book, more coun- selling from 2.30 to 4 and group therapy from 4 to Spm’.

The centre is funded through Clare- care, but apart from support from the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Probation and Welfare Service, it is self- financing.

A four-week course of treatment at Bushy Park costs €4,200 and medical insurance through BUPA and the VHI covers the costs.

“We don’t turn anyone away because of lack of finance,” said Ms Nash.

Twenty people are employed at the cen- tre, including five full-time counsellors and two part-time ones. Ms Nash said that the ratio of resident to counsellor is three to one, which she said is quite low.

Ms Nash expressed frustration at the lack of opportunities to source Govern- ment funding: “The Government talks about problems associated with alcohol, but there are no sources of funding for Bushy Park to get at.”

Bushy Park is to launch a fund-raising drive for their €2m expansion.

‘For a lot of people who come here, it is a turning point in their lives and there would be a lot of goodwill towards us and I would be hoping that we would be able to tap into that.”

Meanwhile, all proceeds from a con- cert at University Concert Hall, Limerick on Friday, December 2 featuring Finbarr Furey, Mickey Dunne and Mick Hanley are to go to Bushy Park, and 20% of all proceeds from an exhibition featuring prominent Irish artists, opening at Tho- mas Street, Limerick on December 10.


A sting in the ‘tail

PLANS for a €50 million retail park on the out- skirts of Ennis are facing opposition from An Taisce and local residents, although Ennis Cham- ber of Commerce 1s 1n support.

Next Friday, Ennis Town Council is due to make a decision on contentious plans by Michael Lynch Ltd for a retail park adjacent to the Limerick-Gal- way road.

According to the Environmental Impact State- ment (EIS) lodged with the planning application at the end of last year, the development will provide 250 jobs when operational, while 150 people will be employed during construction.

The 15,000 square metre development is to comprise a retail superstore and seven retail ware- house units. A retail impact assessment concluded that “the development will not adversely affect the viability and vitality of Ennis town centre or the local economy”.

However, An Taisce has expressed “serious con- cerns with regard to environmental sustainability”, while RGDATA, which represents independent traders, has urged the council to refuse planning permission to avoid any potential damage.

Director, Tara Buckley, has told the council, ‘The development is divorced from the town cen- tre and it is inappropriate for town centre retail activities. It would result in the removal of vital and essential convenience floorspace from the town centre”.

And residents from Clare Road, Tobarteascain, Carraig Dubh, Connolly Villas, Abbey Court and Abbey Ville have grouped together to lodge an ob- jection to the proposal.

In their most recent submission, drafted by plan- ning consultant, Brendan McGrath, they claim that “no additional information has been submitted or design amendment proposed that adequately ad- dress the serious shortcominings of this develop- ment proposal”.

Residents also claim that the proposal does not comply with the Ennis and Environs Development

Plan 2003 and will cause a traffic hazard.

They further claim that the development would seriously affect the amenity of adjacent residential Auer

“In our view, the development proposal is so different from that proposed in the Ennis and En- virons Development that it represents a material contravention of the plan,” they state.



INDUSTRY heads and business moguls are visiting the county without the knowledge of the Clare County Council executive.

According to yesterday’s meeting of the council’s strategic policy committee on plan- ning and economic development, officials are not being informed of visits to the county of possible investors.

Should they be made aware of such visits, they could make representations on behalf of the county, the members of the SPC argued.

The IDA also came under attack for its in- ability to meet the council executive on mat- ters of industry for the county.

A senior member of the council executive, acting Director of Services Liam Conneally, revealed that the council “found it difficult to get an audience and then be listened to.”

Within the last number of years the county manager’s function has been extended to al- low him become the prime driver of tourism and commercial interests in the county.

The current county manager, Alex Fleming has been credited by many with securing the Coca Cola plant in Mayo during his tenure NKR

Members of the SPC described it as a “dis- grace’ that the IDA and other bodies were “unable” to meet with him on at least two oc- casions.

Ennis County Councillor Peter Considine

said it was worrying, and he proposed writing to the Minister for Enterprise to ask him to “instruct he IDA to make himself or herself available to the executive of the council.”

Chairman of the SPC Cllr Richard Nagel told the meeting “There is a perception out there that, because of the Shannon Industrial Zone, that Clare is doing quiet well.”

He said any suggestions that attempts be made to get industry to the smaller towns was ignored but said it was important to at least get industry to the county town as a start.

Cllr Considine that the “glib answers” sug- gesting that Ennis and such areas are too near the BMW area can no longer be accepted.

“Tt is critical that the County Manager and executive have input,” he added.

Meanwhile the first meeting of the forum for all tourist groups to encourage tourism in the county will take place on December 9.

Members of the SPC warned that this would only work if all sides get involved.

Funding for the work of the forum was dis- cussed with hotelier John Madden suggesting that the council look at the rates as a means of supporting the work.

Mayor Pat Keane felt that the rates “always seem to be a target.”

He suggested that as a lot of tax rates had been given to holiday homes in the last number of years, and the increase in tourism would benefit the owners, that this area be tar- geted instead.