New byelaws for the market

NEW byelaws aimed at improving the operation and safety of the Ennis Market have been introduced in the town.

It follows confirmation from Ennis Town Council that an appeal against the new casual trading byelaws had been withdrawn.

Earlier this month, Town Manager Ger Dollard told a meeting of Ennis Town Council that the byelaws, which had been due to come into effect on October 1, could be the subject of a legal challenge.

In a statement on Friday, the council confirmed that the appeal had been withdrawn at Ennis District Court. The matter had been adjourned to Friday for consideration by the District Justice.

The byelaws provide for a revised layout for stalls at the market so as to improve general safety and operating arrangements.

Town Clerk Leonard Cleary, stated “The market is a very important part of Ennis town and is a key part of retail activity in the area. We wish people to enjoy the market experience to the maximum possible and it has been clear that the byelaws which had been in place since 1988 needed to be reviewed to reflect modern day requirements. We look forward to working with the traders on the full implementation of the byelaws so that the operation of the market can be improved in the interests of shoppers and market traders.”

The statement continues, “Ennis Town Council has major plans for the redevelopment of the entire market area and it is hoped to progress these plans in consultation with the various stakeholders when the current economic environment improves.”

Councillors voted through the byelaws at the July meeting of Ennis Town Council following two lengthy periods of public consultation.

A controversial proposal that would have allowed for the towing away of cars parked in trading spaces on trading days was removed from the final draft.


Brassil ‘astonished’ by DPP file on expenses

A CLARE election candidate who failed to furnish expenses statements to the Standards in Public Office Commission has told The Clare People


Appeal to be heard in December

AN APPEAL in relation to the sentences handed down to two Ennis men for the manslaughter of schoolteacher Brian Casey almost two years ago will take place in December.

Last year, Harry Dinan and his nephew Kevin Dinan were jailed for five and four years respectively for the manslaughter of Brian Casey (26), who was set upon and attacked on a street in Ennis on St Stephen’s night in 2009.

After the sentences were handed down at Ennis Circuit Court in November 2010, the DPP lodged an appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal on the grounds of “undue leniency”.

The appeal will be heard on December 5, at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Dublin.

In the aftermath of the sentences being handed down, The Clare People revealed that an appeal was being recommended, on the grounds that the sentences were too lenient.

“A case report is being referred to the DPP to consider the leniency of the sentence. There will be a recommendation that the leniency be looked at,” a well-placed source close to the prosecution told The Clare People at the time.

Judge Carroll Moran handed down the sentences at Ennis Circuit Court, after hearing that both Harry Dinan, of Waterpark Heights, Ennis, and Kevin Dinan, of Clarehill, Clarecastle, had several previous convictions.

Harry Dinan – who had 64 previous convictions – was on temporary release at the time of the attack, having received a four-month sentence in October 2009 for motoring offences.

Kevin Dinan – who had 17 previous convictions – was on bail at the time of the attack on Mr Casey, having pleaded guilty to burglary and handling stolen property, in the Circuit Court, five months earlier.

The sentencing hearing was told that Mr Casey, from Lissycasey, was entirely blameless and had “no hand, act or part” in a row that broke out between two groups at O’Connell Square, Ennis, on St Stephen’s night in 2009. His only role, the court was told, was to pick up a friend who had been knocked to the ground in a melee.

As he stood outside Carraig Donn department store with his hands in his pockets shortly before midnight, Mr Casey was struck in the face by Harry Dinan. He fell backwards onto the street. He was then punched repeatedly by Kevin Dinan.

Mr Casey was unconscious. He never regained consciousness and died in hospital two days later.

The row had broken out between two groups and was brought under control by bouncers who were working nearby. The attacks on Mr Casey were described by the prosecution as “unprovoked and cowardly”.

Judge Carroll Moran described Mr Casey’s death as “completely unnecessary” and said that while the two defendants hadn’t intended to kill him, they had intended to harm him.

He said Mr Casey had been unable to defend himself.

He jailed Harry Dinan for five years and imposed a four-year sentence on Kevin Dinan.

“I can’t pass a sentence and throw away the key, so to speak. I’m conscious of that,” he said.


Laura’s set for marathon challenge in Dublin

AN INAGH woman is on the countdown to a marathon challenge she is undertaking next week.

Laura Gunter will represent Clare in the Dublin City Marathon next Monday.

Laura, who is a clerical officer in the Chief Superintendent’s office at Ennis Garda Station, was chosen from 16 Clare contenders to take part in the event. The competition was run by Spar and Laura was chosen as Clare’s Spartan.

Among the criteria for those interested in getting involved was that participants hadn’t run before. Laura fitted the criteria and took on the challenge with great enthusiasm. One Startan was chosen from every county in Ireland.

“The competition was advertised in June. They were looking for people who hadn’t run before. I was interviewed. They picked one from each county. This will be a first marathon for everyone,” said Laura.

A 16-week training plan was put in place by Karl Henry from RTÉ’s Operation Transformation and Laura followed this every step of the way. She has trained four times a week and has combined short runs with longer sessions, the longest of which was 20 miles.

She is tapering down this week in the run-up to the big event and is looking forward to taking part in the marathon next week.

“A lot of the others are injured. Thankfully I’m not,” she said.

Laura did most of the training by herself, but received good guidance from her family. Her father and brother have run marathons in the past and offered great inspiration.

She has developed a love of running and intends to keep it up. “I love it. I will sign up for smaller runs. I can’t wait for the run now. It’s like waiting for Christmas. All of my family and friends will be on different parts of the route,” she said.

The competition between the 26 Spartans will be decided through voting. Laura is looking for votes, on Votes should be cast by tonight (Tuesday).


‘Misfiring oil burner’ temporarily closes school

OVER 600 children had to leave school early on Friday after problems emerged with a “misfiring oil burner” at Ennis National School.

The school was temporarily closed for a period on the day due to concerns over the school’s 38-year-old heating system.

An inspection of air quality carried out on Friday revealed no abnormal levels of dioxins. Parents were informed by text of the issue at around 11am and were asked to collect children.

The school has apologised to parents and pupils for any inconvenience caused.

A statement posted on the school’s website read, “Ennis National School apologises for any inconvenience caused to pupils, parents and staff as a result of the temporary closure of the school today. This action was taken due to concerns about a misfiring oil burner. Checks taken this afternoon by an independent consultant, have verified that the air quality within the school is as normal.”

The statement continued, “Depart- ment of Education and Science officials have confirmed that funding will be provided to replace the oil burner during the mid-term break.”

The school re-opened as normal yesterday. Deputy principal Tom Glynn said electric and gas heaters were being used to provide heat in the building.

He said the school hoped to have a new boiler installed after the upcoming mid term break. He explained that air quality tests had returned a “perfect reading” and that the decision to close the school was taken in the interest of health and safety. “With something like an oil fire burner you can’t take any chances,” he added.

Mr Glynn said the school has car ried out remedial work on the burner, which was installed at the school in 1973.

He said there have been no reports of injury or ill health since Friday. “We’ve had no complaints from anybody,” he added.

The school is due to move from its present location on Kilrush Road to a new site at Ashline.

Mr Glynn said the school’s board of management hope to receive the green light from the Department of Education and Skills in November to begin the tendering process. It is anticipated that work would then begin in February and be completed within 18 months.

In addition to 32 classrooms, the building will include rooms for a reading class, special education teachers and library.

The building will have an energy rating and a level of disability access, which is ahead of current regulations. Facilities for sport will include a full-size sports hall with dressing rooms and a playing pitch.


Kilmihil man injured in Portugal

THE community of Kilmihil is rallying around the family of Declan O’Shea, who is in a serious condition in hospital in Portugal after an accident while on holidays.

The 35-year-old fell from a third storey balcony at an apartment and was taken to hospital in Faro. He was later airlifted to a hospital in Lisbon, where his family has rushed to his bedside. A huge crowd attended Mass for him in Kilmihil at the weekend, which wasofficiated by local parish priest Fr Peter O’Loughlin.

Mr O’Shea, who is married, was understood to be attending a rally with two friends in Portugal when the freak accident occurred, last Friday week.

He is a prominent full-back on the Kilmihil senior football team and won a Senior ‘B’ county championship medal with his club two years ago. He has represented Clare in football at minor and under-21 levels.

He is a son of Oliver and Doris O’Shea, from Lack West, Kilmihil. He has worked as a mechanic in Kilrush, having spent some time living in Australia a number of years ago.


Oil and gas find could fuel Clare jobs

HUNDREDS of jobs could be created in Clare over the next decade as an oil and natural gas rush looks set to take place off the county’s west coast.

Providence Resources was last week granted an exploration license for the large Spanish Point South field by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. This new field amounts to an estimated 1,500 square kilometres off the Clare coast and is more than twice the size of the combined Burren and Spanish Point (north) fields – which Providence are already exploring.

Seismic surveys have confirmed the presence of enough natural gas in the Spanish Point (north) field to meet Irish gas requirement for the next 60 year and should a similar amounts of gas and oil be realised in the Burren and Spanish Point South fields Clare could become Ireland energy capital for the next century.

These explorations could create thousands of jobs in Clare with massive opportunities to supply the fields from Harbour town such as Carrigaholt and Kilrush as well as from the proposed new pier at Doolin.

It could also create massive opportunities along the Shannon Estuary where a deep-water service hub is en- visioned to handle much of the heavy duty transport to and from the fields.

“The Shannon Estuary is one of the few natural resources that we have here in Clare which could really drive economic development and we have to be open to all possibilities as to how that could be developed,” said Clare Senator Martin Conway (FG).

“Anyone who is being shown any interest in developing something along the Shannon Estuary need to be encouraged and indeed the government need to go to these people and find them. These projects are something for a long way down the line and it could take a lot of years for anything to be realised out of them but we have to start somewhere.”

In a similar way to their explorations in the Burren and Spanish Point (north) fields, the new exploration will be a partnership arrangement between Providence and its industry partners Chrysaor and Sosina.

“Providence is delighted to have been awarded such a significant acreage position on the Irish Atlantic Margin as part of the 2011 Round. Our studies completed to date indicate a number of structures with significant potential which will greatly augment our already formidable acreage position offshore Ireland,” said Tony O’Reilly, CEO of Providence last week.


Record diving attempt goes swimmingly

IT WAS a case of third time lucky on Sunday for Kilmaley man Christy Healy who became the person to successfully complete a 10km underwater dive.

Christy completed the swim in Lough Derg in a time of 6 hours, 21 minutes and will find out this week if he has secured a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Christy is aiming to become the first person in the world to complete a 10km underwater swim. Bad weather scuppered Christy’s first attempt at the swim from Doolin Pier in September.

Three weeks ago Christy then re- attempted the mammoth challenge from Doolin but had to pull out due to difficulties on the 9.4 km mark just when his goal was in sight. But the story was not to end there for Christy and the team. “After the set back a few weeks ago, I was determined not to be beaten. I am absolutely thrilled, and relieved, I might add, to have completed what I pledged to all of those who have contributed and supported me throughout,” says Christy

He added, “The entire team were not willing to give up and all the training, organisation and hard work has paid off,” he continues.

A team in excess of 20 people including snorkelers, rescue divers, paramedics, navigators, observers and support personnel descended on the shores of Lough Derg at 7am on Sunday. Once preparations were complete, the flotilla was launched and travelled 15km out into the lake. Christy was deployed into the water where he submerged and did not surface until he received the signal that he had reached his goal exactly 6 hours and 21 minutes later.

The records and evidence collected by the appointed teams will now be submitted to the Guinness World Records Office for confirmation of the achievement in the coming days.

Diving instructor Christy took on the challenge to raise money for the Share A Dream foundation. He was inspired to do after his family was affected by cancer.

In March 2010 Christy and wife Trish’s son Stephen, then aged 17, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – a cancer of the lymphoid tissue.

Thankfully, after six months of chemotherapy and a kidney operation, Stephen has been given the all clear.

Shay Kinsella, the founder of Share A Dream Foundation, stated “Christy is a fantastic man to attempt this world record once again in only three weeks. His determination and strength totally identifies with the children we work with who are battling everyday of their lives with illness.”


A ‘gentleman’ who was ‘way ahead of his time’

A GENTLEMAN, an innovator, a friend and a man who has given so much to traditional music and to his adopted home town of Miltown Malbay. Many tributes have been paid to Muiris Ó Rocháin, co-founder of the Willie Clancy Summer School, who passed away last week after a short illness.

Some of the most poignant words came from the man most associated with Muiris, the co-founder of the Willie Clancy Summer School, Harry Hughes. The pair, who met when they were both teaching at St Joseph’s Secondary School in Spanish Point in the late 1960s, were involved in numerous different music and local history projects over the years.

“He is a great loss. From the day I met him until the day he died, there was never a bad word spoken between us. He was a gentleman and a generous man and a man with a great since of humour. He took his work seriously and he took his music seriously but he never took himself too seriously,” Harry told The Cla re People yesterday.

“I think he has left a tremendous legacy behind him – not just in traditional music but in a number of fields. When we started the school, there was nothing really like it in traditional music. When you think about it, how many festivals there are around the county now?”

Tributes were also paid by John Lynch, head of the Kilfenora Céilí Band, who said that the Willie Clancy Summer School was a great boost to traditional music in Ireland.

“He will be sorely missed. When himself and Harry [Hughes] set up the Willie Clancy Summer School, there was nothing like it in Ireland. They were way ahead of their time,” said John.

“When the Willie Clancy Summer School got going, traditional music in Ireland was way different from how it is today. I was 17 years old when the first Willie Clancy week took place and at that stage there weren’t a lot of people playing traditional music. Both Muiris and Harry are so well respected by everyone in the traditional community and they did so much to help that tradition.

“He will be sorely missed by everyone in traditional music and, on behalf of the Kilfenora Céilí Band, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to his family.”

Alongside his many great musical achievements, Muiris can also take the credit for helping to save his adopted home in Miltown Malbay. The Willie Clancy Summer School raises an estimated € 6 million for the west Clare economy each year.

“Muiris was a man of great foresight and vision and that was a key part of the success of the school. No matter how much the school grew though, he always kept the common touch, he was always down to earth and interested in what was going on on the ground,” said Cllr Michael Hillery (FF).

“The Willie Clancy Summer School has been a huge boost to Miltown over the decades — not just to Miltown but to all the neighbouring towns as well. There are a number of businesses in town that wouldn’t have survived had it not been for the Willie Clancy Summer School.

“He will be missed by everyone in the town and we would all like to extend our sympathies to his wife Una, his daughter Maura and his son Seamus.”


Patronage is open?

CLARE VEC would face competition from other bodies for the patronage of a new Irish secondary school if approval were granted for a new site, a meeting has heard.

CEO, George O’Callaghan was speaking last week at a discussion on the findings of a survey for the public’s preference for the future of Gaelcholáiste an Chláir.

A new building has been approved for Ennis Community College and Mr O’Callaghan was questioned if the new extension would affect a proposal to develop a new standalone Irish secondary school in Ennis.

Gaelcholáiste an Chláir currently operates within the campus of Ennis Community College.

Parents’ representative Maolíosa Ní Chléirigh asked if the VEC is continuing to push for an independ- ent Gaelcholáiste.

Ms Ní Chléirigh said the Gaelcholáiste does not have enough classrooms to cater for student numbers.

Mr O’Callaghan said the VEC had previously indicated that it is in favour of a standalone school. He said the new building would bring “enormous relief” to the current problems at the Ennis Community College campus. “The extension may offer some form of relief and be the basis for future developments,” he said.

However, Mr O’Callaghan explained that a school must have an enrolment of 400 students before the department will approve a new standalone building. He told the meeting that a “health warning” would have to be attached to any application for a new greenfield site. He explained that if the department approved a new site, patronage of the school would be open to competition.