Clare athletes lauded by President Mary McAleese

CLARE athletes Jennifer Tuohy and Marie O’Connor were special guests of President Mary McAleese in Aras an Uachtarain as members of the Irish team that recently brought home a record haul of medals from the World Transplant Games.

President McAleese told the ath- letes they brought honour and glory to the country at the World Trans- plant Games in Bangkok earlier this month as part of the team that won an unprecedented 39 medals.

The President was so impressed by their triumphs that she invited the

team to a special reception in iNet an Uachtarain, where she compli- mented the Clare athletes for “bring- ing the issue of organ donation to a level of national prominence it never before enjoyed.”

“You should feel very proud of yourselves,’ she addded. “You have shown people that there can be a creat life after getting a transplant, and you have touched the lives of more people than you realise.

‘Maybe somebody was waiting for a transplant recently when they read about your exploits and it may have given them a lift, shown them what can be achieved after receiving a


Team manager Colin White said the reception at Aras an Uachtarain was the highlight of a roller-coaster month for the team. “We came home on a high to a great reception, but this is even better,’ he said.

The team, which has its own web- site www.lransplantTeamIreland. com, will compete in the 2009 World Transplant Games in Australia, and Ireland will host the European Trans- plant and Dialysis Games in 2010.


Schwarz Pharma invest in the future

MINISTER for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheal Martin TD has announced a €/million R and D investment by UCB Schwarz Pharma, supported by Shannon De- velopment.

The announcement took place dur- ing a visit by the Minister to anumber of companies located in the Shannon Free Zone. The Free Zone has more than 7,200 people employed in 110

companies generating over €3.3 bil- lion in annual sales.

During the visit Minister Martin was briefed at the UCB Schwarz Pharma plant on the capital invest- ment the company is making in 2007.

Total investment volume by the company is expected to be in excess of €100 million.

The company is currently rede- veloping a manufacturing plant on its site to manufacture a new drug

which they have recently developed. The investment also includes a major upgrade in facilities and infrastruc- ture.

Minister Martin said “This is pre- cisely the sort of activity and invest- ment that will secure Ireland’s pros- perity into the future.

It is through bringing innovation and our creative intelligence to in- dustry that Ireland will mark out its ground and gain competitive advan- eee

Welcoming Minister Martin to the Shannon Free Zone, Mr Kevin Thompstone, Chief Executive, Shan- non Development, said, “The Free Zone continues to be a location of choice for global businesses across a variety of industries. Shannon De- velopment is currently preparing a comprehensive master plan for a ma- jor regeneration programme at the Free Zone to guarantee its continued competitive edge into the future”.

Minister Martin’s visit to the Shan-

non Free Zone also included visits to aircraft leasing company, Genesis Lease; financial securities company, Genworth Financial; and. underwear manufacturer, Maidenform Interna- nlOyerNe

Speaking at the official opening of their new offices by Minister Mar- tin, Chairman and CEO of Genesis Lease, Mr John McMahon, said ‘We are grateful to Minister Micheal Martin for officially opening our new offices.


A move in the right direction

CLARE farmer and Chairman of ICMSA’s Beef & Cattle Committee, Martin McMahon, has welcomed as ‘a move in the right direction” the EU Commission’s new proposals for changing the currant age limit at which animals must be tested for BSE.

The Commission has _ proposed that the age limit for the BSE test be raised from 30 months to 42 months for healthy slaughtered animals pro- viding that the member state wish- ing to avail of the new age limit has declining or consistently low BSE prevalence and has implemented, for

at least six years, a full BSE testing scheme based on traceability and identification of live animals.

As well as this, each individual member state must also have en- forced, for at least six years, the com- munity legislation on total feed ban for farmed animals.

“We definitely meet all those crite- ria and ICMSA will be pushing hard for the Government to expedite the matter. he said.

“We think it’s unacceptable to be talking about dragging this matter into the next year when a bit of de- termination and the full deployment of the facts should see the European Commission accepting the incontro-

vertible facts that there is no need for any Irish animal to be tested before 42 months.

“We regard this movement by the Commission as a move in the right direction and we consider these pro- posals to be a testament to the pres- sure we’ve brought to bear on both the department and the Commission on the question of BSE age-limit testing, which, quite frankly, has been illogical and pointless for some considerable time now.”

Meanwhile, ICSA President Mal- colm Thompson, last week called for BSE testing in Ireland to be finished. The President of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association 1s call-

ing for the ending of BSE testing to be phased out over the next couple of years.

According to Thompson, the inci- dence of BSE is rapidly declining, with just 41 positive results returned in over 850,000 tests carried out in cattle in 2006.

Thompson met with the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Cough- lan, last week and requested that she establish a timetable for the phasing out of BSE testing which he claims is costing farmers money while it is now unnecessary.

The ICSA President also claimed that the BSE testing sector had be- come an industry onto itself.


Single Payment provision approved

FOLLOWING calls from all the main farming organisations, the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan, has announced that a request that provision be made for an advance payment under the 2007 Single Payment Scheme was ap- proved.

Speaking following a meeting of the EU Management Committee on Direct Payments in Brussels last week Coughlan revealed that she was pleased by the decision.

“T am particularly pleased at the Support our proposal received from the Commission and the other mem-

ber states,’ she said.

“This decision allows us to make advance payments, at a rate of 50 per cent, to those applicants whose ap- plications are confirmed fully clear, with effect from October 16, with balancing payments being made with effect from December 1.

“T am also encouraged by the com- mitment given by the Commission to examine payment arrangements for subsequent years in the context of the forthcoming Health Check on the CAP. My objective will be to en- able full payments under the Single Payment Scheme from October 16 in future years.”

Coughlan explained that her ap-

proach to the Agriculture Commis- sioner had been prompted by the very wet summer, which seriously NBCeKe meu NUDE

“T was particularly conscious of the difficulties caused for farmers, with crop growth being impeded, signifi- cant delays in production of winter fodder, fodder intended for use next winter being fed to animals and some animals being housed early, as land is too wet to graze,’ she continued.

The minister also announced the commencement of payments to farm- ers under the 2007 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme (DAS).

“These payments are worth in the region of €250 million and are pay-

able to over 100,000 farmers. I ex- pect that a very significant propor- tion of eligible farmers will receive their payments in the coming days,’ she said.

‘However, there are some who ap- pear ineligible under the stocking provisions; these farmers can submit appropriate evidence to my depart- ment’s Portlaoise office, following which their payments will then be released.”

The minister again urged farmers to reply quickly to any letters from her department in relation to Single Payment or DAS problems.

For more information call 1890 252 235 or 1890 200 502.


Oil fields no benefit to Clare

yes- terday, a member of The Clare Shell

to Sea organisation expressed his fears that big business, rather than the people of Ireland, will benefit from the find.

“In terms of European Union laws of sustainability, there are three main needs that must be addressed before any development can be con- sidered ‘sustainable’ — these are social, environmental and econom- ic,’ said Niall Harnett of Clare Shell to Sea.

“While attempts are being made by the department, under legal obliga- tion, to consider environmental mat- ters related to any such exploration, it should be a real source of concern to the people of Ireland, including all the communities along the At- lantic coast, that no public meetings are taking place and no consultation is being offered to them on the one matter that threatens the social and economic stability of this country, in terms of oil and gas — that our oil

and gas has been given away by Gov- ernment and remains the property of licensed industrialists to exploit, where no stake exists for the people of Ireland.

“Normally, when a country invites the oil and gas companies to process their reserves for them, it’s a 50/50 deal. In Ireland, it’s a 100/0 split. Bil- lions for them and none for us. If we want any of it, we must buy it back at market rate. When were we ever Loy eTTUN kere Mreloreletmns etl mam

Meanwhile, this Wednesday, Sep- tember 26, Rossport native John Monaghan will be in Glor to present a short documentary on the Shell to Sea campaign in County Mayo.

This will be followed by a second documentary, this one concerning the Hill of Tara and the campaign to reroute the M3. Experts believe they may have discovered bones belong- ing to members of Fionn Mac Cum- haill’s Fianna. Both events are free.


Conference to tackle tourism

A PAN-European project designed to promote a more local approach to tourism promotion could help the industry in Clare to better cope with seasons with poor visitor numbers, such as those reported this year.

The CANTATA project, which in- volves members from Wales, France, Portugal and Spain, as well as Ire- land, hosts a conference entitled ‘An Experiment In Community Tourism’ in Ballyvaughan’s Burren Hotel this Friday.

“This 1s an experiment in commu- nity-based developments in tourism and promotion. We are trying to en- courage communities to take owner- ship of their own tourism develop- ment. It’s things like festivals, but the project has been going for three years and the purpose of the con- ference is for members from all of the countries to report back on how their experiences have gone,” said Candace Ingram, Executive Planner,

Clare County Council.

“They have all been undertaking different projects and each country has adopted a different approach to community tourism development. The idea now is that each country will report back — it’s a learning experience, we are all learning from each other.”

Among those scheduled to address the conference are Luis Cohen Bro- ssie, a tourism expert from Galicia in Spain; Paddy Maher, tourism com- munity activist and manager of the Michael Cusack Centre; and Flavio Imperial, CANTATA project officer from Portugal.

“We do think that this approach will help to offset bad years for tour- ism such as we have had this year. The visitor now is looking for some- thing a bit different from the usual. The idea of this is that it will attract people away from the usual places and show them a real tourist experi- ence, experience the people and how they live their life everyday,” contin-

ued Ms Ingram.

“We are trying to increase the num- bers that come to Clare, how long they stay in the county and also at- tract them to the lesser known attrac- nto) n cn

The conference will be hosted by Clare County Council in partnership with Shannon Development, and will be officially opened by Minister Tony Killeen.

“There are many types of com- munity tourism projects, including those in which the community works in partnership with a commercial tour operator,” said Minister Kileen. “However, one uniform characteris- tic of such projects is that they give local people a fair share of the bene- fits and a say in deciding how incom- ing tourism is managed. I look for- ward to hearing from some of those involved with community tourism projects across Europe.”


Clare farmers get two extra weeks

CLARE farmer have been granted two extra weeks to complete their applications for derogation’s under the new Nitrates Regulations. The deadline for a derogation for the con- troversial regulations was announced by Minister for Agriculture, Mary eee Mice

The deadline has been extended from it’s original date this Friday, September 28 until October 12.

“The availability of the derogation is very important for our intensive grassland farmers, particularly those in the dairying sector,’ she said.

“Grassland farms that apply for a derogation and meet the conditions

will be permitted to exceed the 170 kg of organic manure per hectare limit, up to a maximum of 250 kg per hectare.

“This extension to October 12 is in response to concerns raised by some farmers who felt that the original deadline of September 28 did not allow them adequate time to con- sider their position and decide if they needed to apply for a derogation in the current year.”

The European Communities Regu- lations 2006 legally oblige herdown- ers to limit the amount of nitrogen from livestock manure that is applied, including that which is deposited di- rectly by the animals themselves, on individual farms to no more than 170

kgs Nitrogen per hectare per year.

The Nitrates Derogation allows in- dividual farms to operate above this statutory livestock manure limit, up to a maximum limit of 250 kgs Ni- trogen per hectare per year, subject to specific conditions.

‘To further assist farmers, my de- partment is now arranging to provide 2007 Nitrogen and Phosphorus State- ments covering the period January | to August 31, 2007,” she said.

“Farmers will need to estimate the quantities of nitrogen likely to be produced by their livestock from September | to the end of the year to get an indication of what their overall stocking rate will be for 2007.”

Farmers who apply for a derogation

will not require a Fertiliser Plan in respect of 2007, although this will be a requirement from next year. For 2007, farmers will only need to complete the Record One as de- tailed the Explanatory Handbook for Good Agricultural Practice Regula- tions published by the department in 2006. This record should be kept on the holding.

Minister Coughlan also advised farmers that they should assess their 2007 situation as soon as possible, and if necessary make application for a derogation before the deadline of October 12.

Application forms and information packs are available on www.agricul-


Scrub clearance may require licence

CLARE IFA Farm Forestry Rep- resentative, Martin Murphy, has warned farmers that they might require a licence from the Forest Service before they undertake scrub clearance.

This comes at a time when many farmers are carrying out develop- ment work for the Farm Waste Man- agement Scheme.

“Felling of trees is controlled un- der the 1946 Forestry Act. In gen- eral terms, if you want to cut down any tree or uproot any tree over 10 years you must lodge a felling notice with the Garda Sergeant at your local

Garda Station,’ he said.

“The Forest Service will then in- spect the trees that you intend to fell and issue you with a felling licence. The licence may or may not have conditions, such as a replanting con- dition, attached.

“Some farmers make the mistake of thinking that the scrub that they are clearing wouldn’t be considered trees but generally if you can see a single straight stem you will need a licence. It is better to check with the Forest Service first than end up in court later.”

The provisions of the act apply re- gardless of whether the trees were planted or grew from natural regen-

eration. Approval for grant aid or planning permission does not exempt you from requiring a licence.

‘Farmers should contact the local Forest Service Inspector or the fell- ing section of the Forest Service in Johnstown Castle before they start development work to be on the safe side,’ advised Mr Murphy.

Meanwhile, Mary Wallace, Minis- ter of State at the Department of Ag- riculture and Food with responsibility for forestry, last week announced the approval by the EU Commission of Ireland’s Afforestation Programme 2007-2013.

“I am pleased to announce the authorisation by the EU Commis-

sion for our new Afforestation Pro- eramme, which follows long and detailed negotiation between my de- partment and the commission,” she said.

“This provides welcome stability at a crucial time for Irish forestry and allows us to focus our efforts on new planting. As noted by the EU Com- mission, forest cover in Ireland 1s the second lowest in the European Un- eye

“It is my hope that this aid package, worth more than EUR900m over the period 2007 – 2013, will re-energise the forestry programme and that we will see a steady increase in our for- est-cover over the next seven years.”


Want to be a [Thousandaire?

STEP aside Chris Tarrant, the real Who Want to Be a Thousandaire is coming to Ballyvaughan’s brand new Burren Coast Hotel this October.

The charity evening, which is be- ing organised to help fund exten- sion work at Ballyvaughan National School, will take place on October 13 and will offer locals the real chance to grab some cold hard cash.

The game will follow the formula of the popular television programme, and will even include a video up- link to the competitor’s ‘Phone a Friends’.

“In terms of numbers, the school is fairly solid with 65 or so students. The problem is the size of the class- rooms. It is quite small at present.

The department has guidelines which say that if you are building a new school, each class should be 72 Square metres, our classes are only 36 square metres,’ said school prin- cipal, Michael Canavan.

“We decided that the best thing would be to put in three proper sized class rooms. A principles office, staff room and two smaller room for our two learning support teachers. The Government will provide a certain amount of the money, but we do need to raise in the region of €60,000 or €70,000 to complete the project.”

Once the extension has been com- pleted, the school plans to convert an upstairs area in the extention to a new computer room and library for the students.

“It’s a real community thing. We

have three main sponsors – the Bur- ren Coast Hotel, the Ailwee Caves and M&M Construction. They are all local which is great,’ continued Mr Canavan.

‘“Ailwee cave have children in the school, M&M will soon have chil- dren in the school and the Burren Coast have just opened up down the road from us and have been very generous.

“We have about 40 or 50 smaller advertisers, who are mostly all lo- cal people who have also been very generous. A lot of people who have holiday homes in the area have also given money.

“School is becoming a very fo- cal point in the community. A lot of times, school is the only place where parents would meet these days.”

Tickets for the big ‘Who wants to be a Thousandaire’ are available lo- cally from all members of the fund- raising committee or at the door on the night. The evenings competitors will be drawn from the tickets sold.


Students showing community spirit

THE students of Mary Immaculate Secondary School in Lisdoonvarna last week presented the Stella Maris day care centre with a cheque for €5,500 – the proceeds of a very unu- sual charity marathon.

Earlier this year, the students of the school took part in a day long Sports Marathon, organised by the school’s fifth-year students.

“It was part of out LCVP exams in fifth year. We spoke to Mr Sims and Mr Harrison about what previ- ous years had done and we decided it would be good to run a Sports Marathon,’ said Ciana Garrihy from


“We handed out a questionnaire to all the students to see which sports were the most popular.

“We then printed up cards for all the students to raise money for the Stella Maris.

“We decided on the Stella Maris because it is something that effects everyone in the area. It’s local and they wanted to raise money for a Sec- ond bus to bring more people to the Conlsione

The school was divided into teams, each representing a local area. In the end, the bragging rights went to the Kilfenora team, who won the most points during the marathon.

“We decided that we would play volleyball and soccer. Each game was half an hour long, half the school played football in the morning at the pitch while the rest played volleyball in the school,” said Sean Cormican from Lisdoonvarna.

“Halft-way through we got a free bus from Peter Mooney and swapped around. Everyone really got into it and the teachers played a big part. They reffed the matches for us and helped out a lot.”

Along with scoring points for their performance in the marathon, each team was also awarded a point for every €5 raised for the Stella Maris. Third year student, Michael Griffey,

was the top earning student, raising more than €300 from his sponsor- ship card.

“We had a points system in place. The school was split into six different teams and awarded points depending on how they got on in the matches,” said Laura Sims.

‘But as well as that, each student got a point for his or her team for every €5 raised for the Stella Maris.”

School principal, John O’Loughlin congratulated all the students who took part.

“Projects like this are wonderful. They show a community spirit which is wonderful thing for a mercy school to have,” he said.