Unwanted dogs find homes with Rover Rescue

A CLARE woman is saving the lives of hundreds of Clare dogs each year by rehousing unwanted Clare animals in Wales. Ennis woman Deirdre Ryan set up Rover Rescue in 2008 and has prevented more then 500 Clare dogs from being destroyed over the last three years.

The charity works by taking in stray Clare dogs, giving them a com- plete medical check, and then transporting them to new homes in Wales or elsewhere in the UK. Stray dogs have virtually been eliminated in the UK over the last ten years meaning that there is now a demand for unwanted Irish dogs.

“These dogs are literally on death row and there is no room for them. Frankie [Cooke, Clare Dog Warden] could have 10 lovely dogs brought into him on one evening and he only has five kennels. So if a home can’t be found quickly for them they will have to be put down. Those are the dogs that I prioritise,” said Deirdre.

“I am doing this in my own home – I live in a terraced house and unfortunately I don’t have lots of room so I depend on a number of dog fosterers who take dogs for days at a time when there is too many. I can keep four or five dogs here and after that I am dependent on help from dog fosterers and from Frankie to hold the dogs until they are ready to be shipped over to the UK.”

Rover Rescue gets a lot of help in preparing animals for transport from Second Chance, Clare Animal Welfare, the Clare SPCA and the Clare branch of the ISPCA.

“I am sending them to quality rescue centres in the UK. If it hasn’t been done already, the dogs will be neutered and will have a full health check before they are placed with a family in the UK. The group will also micro-chip all the animals and will conduct a home check to make sure they are being looked after.”

Deirdre works is the Peter Barks Dog Grooming Parlour and is also the founder of Ennis Dog Club. Anyone who wishes to donate money can lodge funds into the Rover Rescue bank account in Ennis at account number 54547426 and sort code 935387.

Anyone who wishes to help or become a dog fosterer can contact Deirdre on 065 6848684.


McNamara talks up Connolly

WHEN Labour’s Michael McNamara was elected to Dáil Éireann in the recent General Election, the spirit of the workers’ revolution was evoked by former party member Christy Curtin when he quoted James Connolly by saying “the cause of Labour in the cause of Ireland”.

The same clarion call was sounded out by Deputy McNamara when giving the keynote address at the 1916 Rising Commemoration in Kilrush on Easter Sunday as he called on “all true Republicans gathered here to renounce murder that so besmirches our tricolour”.

“It is hardly surprising that as a Labour T.D. I propose to focus on one sentence on the Proclamation in particular: ‘The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally…’

“It is also perhaps unsurprising that I would choose wish to focus in particular on the role of James Connolly.

“Connolly wrote: ‘Whenever the clergy succeeded in conquering political power in any country, the result has been disastrous to the interests of religion and inimical to the progress of humanity.

“And indeed the clergy succeeded in conquering political power in the State that followed from 1916, and the consequences, as we can now see, benefited neither the Church nor citizens.

“The religious liberty guaranteed in the Proclamation provides not just for all religions to be able to operate freely, for all parents to be able to bring up their children in a religion of their choice, but also freedom from religion.

“To those parents who wish to have their children educated in a school with a religious ethos, the establishment of a national forum on school patronage which was welcomed ‘very much’ by the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, poses no threat,” added the new Labour Party deputy.


Businesses watch out

BUSINESS people in the Ballymaley areas of Ennis have been urged to exchange information in an effort to deter criminals who are targeting businesses.

The advice from gardaí came at the launch of the Ballymaley Park Business Watch Scheme, which creates a structured link between businesses in the Ballymaley area of the town and gardaí.

It is one of a number of schemes set up by gardaí in recent months across the county and follows spates of crime where scrap metal and home heating oil has been stolen.

Business representatives in the Ballymaley area were given tips on improving security by the Clare Garda Division Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Joe Downey, at the launch of the scheme at the Auburn Lodge Hotel on Thursday.

“Prevention is better than cure. The more obstacles in the way of the potential criminal, the better. Make it obvious that you have security measures in place,” he said.

He said that CCTV is essential and urged businesses to ensure images from CCTV systems are good quality. He also stressed the importance of good lighting, alarms and adequate door locks.

The theft of scrap metal has been a huge concern in Clare over the past year and gardaí have stressed the importance of ensuring that areas where scrap is stored is secure.

Ennis Community Sergeant Frank Naughton urged the business community in Ballymaley to work well together, in an effort to prevent crime.

“Use your own eyes and ears. For the people working in the estate, if ye see anything suspicious, pick up the phone and ring the guards,” said Sgt Naughton. “Alert your staff. Make them aware what ye can do to make your own place secure,” he said.

Superintendent Peter Duff told The Clare People that gardaí will continue to focus on setting up community alert, neighbourhood watch and business watch schemes.

“One of my goals here is to increase the community alert and business watch type of organisations because it is all about the exchange of information,” he said.

In relation to the Business Watch schemes, he said, “We are going in and making contact with people. We have recently set up schemes in Ballycasey in Shannon and we are also setting up a scheme for the Quin Road area of Ennis.” However, he said that Business Watch is “not a substitute for calling the guards. If you are in doubt, you should call gardaí.”

“Thankfully Ennis is not a high crime area compared with the rest of the country, but there are criminals around,” he said.

A similar scheme for businesses in the Quin Road area of Ennis is also being launched. Business representatives are invited to attend the first meeting at the Peppermill restaurant on the Quin Road at 4.30pm today, Tuesday.


CCTV cameras for Cloughleigh

A MAJOR tool in cracking down on anti-social behaviour in the Cloughleigh area of Ennis is to be rolled out within weeks.

Gardaí are currently in the process of linking up the main Ennis town CCTV system with the existing system covering Cloughleigh. Up until now, the systems were not linked up, but a decision was taken by gardaí, in conjunction with Ennis Town Council, to change this.

According to gardaí, this essentially doubles the potential success of the invaluable CCTV system.

In 2009, a new state-of-the-art CCTV system was installed at Ennis Garda Station.

A bank of 19 television screens located at a control centre at Ennis Garda Station relays images from 17 cameras locate around the town centre.

The images from those cameras are very clear and the system has played a key role in solving incidents of crime in and around the town centre.

CCTV has played an instrumental role in the investigation of serious incidents, particularly involving as- saults, public order and thefts in the town centre.

The sharp images generated by the CCTV system has also been credited for a reduction in rates of shoplifting in the town.

However, the system operating in Cloughleigh was a separate scheme and up until now, has not been linked to this scheme.

Ennis Superintendent Peter Duff told The Clare People that this new resource will be invaluable in garda investigations in the town.

“We are in the process of integrating the Cloughleigh communitybases CCTV system into the (garda) station.

“Ennis Town Council has 19 cameras in Cloughleigh and it is being integrated into the garda station so that gardaí can access it and view it from the station,” said Superintendent Duff.

“Work has commenced on feeding the system into the garda station. It’s going to mean increased coverage,” he said.

“The separate systems will be connected. It more or less doubles our system. It may help to curb anti-social behaviour and criminal activity,” said Supt Duff.


1916 hero wed on eve of Easter Rising

AS KILRUSH commemorated the 95th anniversary of the Easter Rising on Sunday, a woman from the town has told a remarkable tale of how her father celebrated his wedding on the eve of the rebellion before heading off to join Padraic Pearse’s garrison in Dublin’s GPO.

Belfast-born Thomas McMullen, who lived and worked in Kilrush for many years before his death over 40 years ago, was also one of the few Catholics to work on the building of the Titanic before joining the Irish Volunteers and taking part in the independence struggle.

“My father married Annie McGill on Easter Sunday 1916 in Ss Peter & Paul’s Church in Belfast,” Teresa O’Loughlin told The Clare People . “He got word that night from Padraig Pearse that the Rising was going ahead and he made his way down to Dublin on Easter Monday and was garrisoned in the GPO for the Rising.

“My mother didn’t mind him going off to the Rising. They were both of the one mind that Ireland should be free, so he had her blessing when he went off to the the GPO to fight for Ireland.

“Many, many years later I was in Dublin for Easter Rising commemoration and we went to the National Gallery and saw photograph of my father with Countess Markievicz.

“He was captured sometime after the Rising and was put in jail. He was involved in the whole War of Independence and he went on hunger strike for six weeks and suffered with his stomach for the rest of his life after that,” the 82-year-old from Henry Street, Kilrush added.

Ms O’Loughlin was born in Mitchelstown where her father worked in the local creamery, before the family moved to Kilrush when he took up an appointment with the West Clare Creamery.

“He lived in Kilrush until he died aged 74 in 1969, but he never really spoke to us about his role in the Rising. It was only my mother who’d tell us something about it. ‘Come on now,’ he’d say when we’d press him to talk about his part in the Rising. ‘Don’t fill the children’s heads with this stuff,’ he’d say.

“‘I’ll tell ye all about the Titanic.’ He told us there were awful things written on the hull. He knew because he worked on the building of it; one of the few Catholics who worked on it, but he had a great friend who got him a job in Harland and Wolff,” added Ms O’Loughlin.


Clare heads for warmest April

SHANNON recorded the highest temperature in Ireland this year, on Thursday afternoon – and we are in for quite a good week ahead across Clare.

Temperatures reached 22.7 degrees Celsius at the weather station at Shannon Airport at lunchtime on Thursday. This was the hottest day of the year and is the third highest April temperature in Clare in 50 years. It was also the highest April temperature since 2003.

Temperatures in Ennis peaked at 21.5 degrees on the same day, according to meteorology figures. County Clare fared much better than other parts of the country last week. Temperatures lowered to 12.4 degrees in Malin Head in Donegal.

However, temperatures aren’t likely to reach those highs this week. Predicted temperatures for the next few days range from 11 degrees (Friday) to 16 degrees (Thursday). Editor of the website www.irishweatheronline. com, Mark Dunphy, said this month is predicted to break records.

“It’s not going to be too bad this week. It is going to get thundery towards the weekend with heavy showers, but it will be a largely bright week ahead. Temperatures could hit 20 degrees in Clare by the weekend,” said Mr Dunphy.

“Other hot April months would have been 1975, 1984 and 1990. This was the third highest. We are on track for the warmest April on record,” he said. “These figures are according to meteorological stations across the country.”

Mr Dunphy, a public relations consultant, set up the website last November and since it was established has commanded 7,500 followers on Twitter.

Indeed if the figures for Clare so far this year are anything to go by, we are in for a bright summer ahead. According to Met Éireann, the weather station at Shannon recorded the highest sunshine levels since 1955 in March. The monthly total of sun recorded there was more than 160 hours.


Alpacas to flock to Ennis for show

HUNDREDS of Alpaca’s from all over Ireland will descend on Ennis this Sunday in search of the much coveted Anna May Driscoll Cup.

The cup, which is the premier award for Alpaca farming in Ireland, is named after the Ballyvaughan nurse and Alpaca farmer Anna May Driscoll, who died in 2007.

It is the highlight of the Alpaca Association of Ireland (AAI) national show which comes to Clare for the first time ever this year.

“We are delighted to bring the Irish National Show to Ennis. This will be our fourth national and we have been looking for an indoor arena in case of rain,” said AAI President, Damien Dyar.

“This allows us to have an early show before the alpacas are shorn. The public will be interested to see the alpacas with full fleece on as opposed to shorn. We are very grateful to the Ennis Showgrounds Committee for allowing us to use their premises.”

As well as being the President of the AAI, Damien is also the founder of Burren Alpaca – the Fanore-based company which he set up with his partner, the late Anna May Driscoll.

This year’s show will take place at the Ennis Showgrounds and will be judged by UK Alpaca expert Jay Holland, who is accredited by the British Alpaca Society as a fleece and animal judge.

The show will be open to visitors from 9am to 4pm and the judging of various classes will be in the morning.

It is expected that the Supreme Champion will be judged about mid day. As well as the judging there is also a display of fleece and alpaca products.

Alpacas are bred for their fine fleece which is as soft as cashmere. Peruvian Alpacas were introduced to Ireland only 11 years ago by Clare breeders Burren Alpaca and are steadily growing in popularity.


Two Seanad seats for Clare politicians?

CLARE’S Oireachtas representation could be boosted to record levels on Thursday when the votes to make up the 24th Seanad Éireann are counted.

A record four Clare candidates are contesting the election with former Mayor of Clare Tony Mulcahy from Shannon and former Irish National Teachers Organisation National President Declan Kelleher from Corofin the two leading candidates for seats in the Upper House.

Fine Gael’s Cllr Mulcahy, who doubled his first preference total in the recent General Election, is contesting the Labour panel where 11 seats are up for grabs while independent candidate Mr Kelleher is bidding to win one of the three National University of Ireland seats.

Mr Kelleher has vowed to lead the charge towards reforming the Seanad if he follows in the footsteps of Joe O’Toole in winning a Seanad seat for the INTO.

“I believe that it can be reformed and through the presence of independent voices, can hold the government to account for its actions,” he told The Clare People . “My campaign is to bring about a reformed Seanad with just 30 members who would be elected directly by the people and would therefore be far more independent of political control,” he said this Tuesday’s final polling day.

Clare’s two other candidates are Fine Gael’s Martin Conway and John Crowe, who are contesting the Administrative and Industrial and Commercial panels respectively.

Cllr Conway is considered to be up against it being the first Oireachtas representative from Ennistymon since fellow Fine Gael man Deputy Bill Murphy served on Dáil Éireann from 1951 to ‘67. This is because of the presence of two Fine Gael candidates in the contest who lost their seats in the recent General Election – Tom Sheehan in Kerry South and Michael Darcy in Wexford.

With only seven seats up for grabs in the Administrative Panel, Sheehan and Darcy national profile as former members of Dáil Éireann could give them at a distinct advantage over Cllr Conway.

Cllr Crowe is contesting his second successive Seanad Election and could be a dark horse to win one of the nine seats on the Industrial and Commericial panel.

He narrowly missed out on election in 2007, while his profile as one of the Clare members on the General Council of County Councils could yet garner him enough votes to secure election.


All the Burren’s in bloom

THE Alpine flowers of the Burren are experiencing one of their best springs in recent memory, with the rare Alpine gentian in full bloom weeks ahead of schedule.

But along with the flowers, the people of North Clare are also well ahead of season this year with the launch of the biggest ever Burren in Bloom Festival.

The festival, which runs across North Clare for the next five weeks, will be officially opened next Tuesday, March 3, at Fanore National School.

This year’s programme includes a host of large and small events each designed to show off the beauty of the North Clare Burren.

“May is probably the most beautiful month in the Burren. This year in particular, possibly because of the way that the weather has been, the Burren flowers are really coming into themselves,” said Mary Hawkes Greene of Burren in Bloom.

“For anyone who comes during the month, we have so much going on and so much information available for people. There are so many talks and so many walks going on that anyone who comes to visit will have something to do every day – and most of it is free. Burren in Bloom is working really closely with the BurrenBeo Trust and the Burren College of Art to organise events both for locals and for visitors.”

Many large events such as the Burren Challenge Marathon, the Tour de Burren cycling race and the Burren Slow Food Festival will all take place during this year’s Burren in Bloom.

There will also be a host of smaller events and this year’s programme has a particular focus on children.

“Many of the visitors who are coming down here are families so it is important to have some events that younger people can go to and learn more about the Burren,” continued Mary.

“We have a special ‘Bugs and Beasties’ walk for children; on the Saturday of the Burren marathon we are having a treasure hunt on the grounds of the Burren College of Art; and the Ballyvaughan Farmers’ Market are also having a special children’s day. It’s about attracting people down for Burren in Bloom but it’s also about showing off the Burren so that people will come back at other times and spend some time here.”

The Burren in Bloom will run from April 29 to May 31. For a full programme of events, visit or check out the Clare People in the coming weeks.


Burren book reveals past

THE first ever detailed history of the parish of Inagh and Kilnamona has been put into a book by former local school teacher and Mayor of Clare Flan Garvey. The book, which was launched earlier this month, attempts to bring the entire history of the area together – from before the area was settled by man right up to the current day.

The book is the fruit of years of study by Flan in the Tralee Institute of Technology, where he completed a post-graduate degree in history in 2008.

The book was officially launched by the former Bishop of Killaloe, Willie Walsh, and there was a second special guest who travelled all the way from Ennis for the launch.

“We had one very important article present for the book launch. We managed to get what is known as the Inagh Chalice. The chalice is located normally at the Friary in Ennis but we managed to get a loan of it for the day,” said Flan.

“There was a Franciscan Monastery in Inagh back in the seventeenth century and one of the Friars there was a local monk call Mortimus O’Gaoife and the chalice bears his name and the year 1671. Fr Seamus from the Friary came out with the chalice and we are hugely grateful to him for helping us out with that.”

The book bring together many different elements of local history, from the geological history of the Burren and how it was formed, to the many interesting characters who lived in the Inagh and Kilnamona areas over the last few hundred years.

“All the proceeds of the book, every single penny after the printing costs, is going to the parish. I have donated my work as a gift to the parish in my latter years. It will be of great interest to local people, I know, but also to people who don’t live in the area anymore and especially people who have lived abroad.”

The book is available locally from the shops in Inagh and from all members of the local parish council.