Cancelled flight ‘an indictment of how Aer Lingus sees Clare’

MEMBERS of Clare County Council last night agreed that Aer Lingus had treated the people who use Shannon Airport as second-class citizens, after passengers were left stranded when their plane was rerouted to accommodate a DublinBoston flight.

Cllr Sean McLoughlin (FG) told the meeting that on March 29, 187 passengers were about to board a flight at Shannon for Boston when they were told there was a technical difficulty with the plane.

It emerged, however, that two of the flight’s “VIP passengers” were then flown to Dublin on the plane and the plane was used for the Dublin-Boston flight.

Cllr McLoughlin said that, on March 30, the plane was then used to take the remaining 185 stranded passengers to Boston, a day later than scheduled.

“Aer Lingus are treating people who use Shannon Airport as second-class citizens and have been doing so for years. I, for one, will be glad to see the back of the Dublin Airport Authority out of Shannon,” he said.

He called for the council to write to Christopher Mueller, CEO of Aer Lingus, “to ask him to stop the Aer Lingus practice of cancelling flights from or to Shannon and use the Shannon plane to fly to or from Dublin, when the Dublin plane is out of action.”

Cllr Joe Arkins (FG) said he used the airport on March 30 and was made aware of what had happened.

“It is an indictment of how Aer Lingus looks at Shannon Airport in the first place and Clare secondly,” he said.

He said the county manager and mayor of Clare should write to Aer Lingus and “point out how slighted they feel by the treatment of County Clare and the passengers using the airport.”

Shannon councillor Cllr Patricia McCarthy (IND) said the national airline treated Shannon with contempt and it could not be allowed to continue.

Cllr Pat McMahon (FF) raised concerns that incidents like this erode the confidence of the travelling public.


Liscannor whale not a rare Narwhal

A ONGOING mystery involving the suspected finding of a rare Narwhal stranding in Liscannor Bay, was resolved yesterday with new photographic evidence revealing that it carcass removed by Clare County Council belonged to a long-finned pilot whale, and not its rare Arctic cousin.

The Kilrush based Irish Whale and Dolphin Group yesterday published new photograph of the mammal beached on Clohane strand near Liscannor last month. The photographs, which were supplied to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group by Brian and Teresa Kelly, confirmed that the mammal found in Liscannor was not a Narwhal.

In a statement, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said the Clare County Council has received “unfair” criticism about their actions in removing the whale.

“The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group were always skeptical that the whale was a Narwhal, a species nev- er previously recorded in Ireland. We record over 150 strandings per annum, making it unlikely that in missing this one, that we’d miss a species new to Ireland,” said the statement.

“Over the last few weeks there has been a lot of discussion, especially locally as to what had happened to the whale, and why Clare County Council removed it without reporting it to the IWDG.

“Clare County Council have received unfair criticism of their actions and we hope they will continue to be supportive of the IWDG by re- porting stranded cetaceans to IWDG before disposal.”

The Narwhal is a medium-sized whale that lives year round in the freezing waters within the Arctic Circle.

The whale is recognisable because of a single tusk, which all male Narwhals possess. There has never been a confirmed sighting of a Narwhal in Irish waters.

So far in 2012, four pilot whale have beached on waters along the Clare coast, with 16 washing up along the Irish Atlantic coast.


Concern over ghost estates

CLARE County Council is examining eight unfinished housing estates in Clare where they believe that safety and security has become an issue. The local authority revealed at last night’s meeting of Clare County Council that it has written to a number of developers and financial institutions reminding them of their responsibility to ensure the safety of their developments. The local authority has also confirmed that it now believes that half of the county’s Category 4 ‘ghost’ estates no longer fall into this category, the worst category of estates. According to the local authority, only three of the six housing devel- opments that have been classified by the Department of the Environment as unfinished and developer-abandoned, or Category 4 estates, should still be in the category. The council say that they intend to contact the Department of the Environment and inform them of their opinion on this. Speaking at last night’s meeting of Clare County Council, Director of Services, Ger Dollard said that the local authority is deploying “quite a lot of resources” to the issue of the Category 4 developments and said that safety was the responsibility of the developer. He was responding to a joint motion put forward by Cllr John Crowe (FG) and Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) which asked for details on the condition of so-called ghost estates in the county. “It is the responsibiity of the property owner, developer or receivers to ensure that the site is secure and safe,” said a council spokesperson. “The council has written to developers and receivers with housing developments on the unfinished list, explaining to them their responsibilities in relation to the safety of the site.” Speaking on last night’s motion, Cllr John Crowe said that some Clare estates were in a “very, very bad condition”. “There are estates which are not even one quarter finished and no place for children to play in. There are open drains and other dangers,” he said.


Ennis launch for future retail strategy

A NEW strategy aimed at guiding the way for future retail development in Ennis will be launched in the town tonight. The retail commitment document has been drawn up by members of Ennis Development Forum.

Rita McInerney of Ennis Chamber of Commerce explained, “It’s a vision document for the town. It follows on from the support we got for our submission on the proposed development on the Limerick Road. The Ennis Development Forum wanted to take a more positive approach. It’s giving businesses something to commit to for the future of retail in the town. It’s still in its early stages.”

Details of the retail document will be outlined at an event for local businesses in the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis tonight.

‘Boosting the bottom line for retailers’ will focus on the retail industry. The event is organised by Ennis Chamber of Commerce.

The meeting will also discuss a recent survey carried out by Retail Excellence Ireland to determine the impact the Tesco Extra opening of twelve months ago had on the viability and vitality of Naas town centre.

A total of 81 retailers were surveyed and asked key questions on whether any decline could be attributed to the opening of the new out-of-town Tesco Extra.

The results indicated that 94 per cent of the surveyed businesses experienced decrease in their turnover with nearly half of those decreasing in business by more than 15 per cent. All of the respondents indicated that up to a third of the decline was directly caused by the opening of the new Tesco Extra.

At least 56 retail jobs have been lost among the 81 stores surveyed since the opening of the new development – that is 70 per cent of the town centre stores suffered job losses.

Ennis Chamber, Ennis Development Forum and the Ennis Street Associations recently made submissions to the An Bord Pleananla appeal by developers for a comparable size 70,000 square foot Tesco on the outskirts of Ennis.

Patrick (Paddy) McNAMARA
of Clonkett, Cranny. Peacefully at home. Funeral mass at St Mary’s Church, Cranny onTuesday at 11 o’clock. Burial afterwards in Kildysart Cemetery. May he rest in peace.

Patrick, (Paddy) O’RIORDAN
of 7 Cullina, Ballina. Peacefully at Limerick Regional Hospital. Funeral mass onTuesday at Our Lady and St Lua’s Church, Ballina at 11.30am. Burial afterwards in the adjoining cemetery. May he rest in peace.

Johanna GARVEY, nee Kearse
of 5A Cooper’s Place, Ennis (formerly of Cahermurphy, Kilmihil). Funeral mass onTuesday at 11 o’clock with burial afterwards in Drumcliffe Cemetery. May she rest in peace.

of Beachpark, Ennis. Laid to rest in Drumcliffe Cemetery. May he rest in peace.

of Ardnacrusha, late of Mulgrave Street. RequiemMass onTuesday at 11amat Truagh Church, with cremation afterwards in Newlands Cross Crematorium. May he rest in peace.

Mairead O’DONNELL, (née Molony)
of Bridge Street, Scariff. In her 93rd year. Laid to rest in the newcemetery, Moynoe. May she rest in peace.

of Killenagh Ennistymon. Laid to rest in Killenagh cemetery. May he rest in peace.

Kieran BARRY
of Ennis Road,Tulla. Laid to rest inTulla.

27 St Senan’s Road, Ennis, Laid to rest in Drumcliffe Cemetery. May he rest in peace.

Ann FOGARTY, (née Hayes)
of Carrowcraheen,Tubber. Late of Newmarket on Fergus and Quin. Laid to rest in Blakemount Cemetery. May she rest in peace.

Mortimer (Murt) GUTHRIE
of Loughville, Lahinch Road, Ennis. Laid to rest in Drumcliffe Cemetery. May he rest in peace.

of Killaloe, Clare. Formerly of Kilbane, Broadford. Suddenly. Laid to rest in Reilig Lua, Killaloe. May he rest in peace.

Patrick McNAMARA
of Ardane, Kilmurry, Sixmilebridge. Laid to rest in Kilmurry Cemetery. May he rest in peace.

Nora (Norrie) POWER
of 3 Considine’sTerrace, Ennis. Laid to rest in Drumcliffe Cemetery. May she rest in peace.

Josie McGRATH, (née Ryan)
of Derry, Barefield, Ennis, formerly of Glenbane, Lattin,Tipperary. In her 90th year. Laid to rest in Lattin,Tipperary. May she rest in peace.

Francie MORGAN
of Bannagher, Dysart, Maurices Mills. Laid to rest in Dysart Cemetery. May he rest in peace.


Timmy in charge of FF referendum team

THE Clare TD who admitted his party had its eye off the ball when it came to the first Lisbon Treaty will be hoping that his team is playing as one in the run up to the Fiscal Stability Treaty referendum as he receives the captain’s arm band.

Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley has been appointed Director of Elections for the May 31 referendum by party leader Deputy Michéal Martin.

The Clare TD will now be hoping that his home constituency will fol- low in the tradition of previous European referenda and return a yes vote.

The Banner county had the largest acceptance on the western seaboard of the second Lisbon Referendum with 72.3 per cent vote in favour of the referendum.

It was also one of the few counties to support the first Lisbon referendum.

Deputy Dooley admitted at the time that the FF focus wasn’t total: “There was a lot going on within the Fianna Fáil organisation on the occasion (of Lisbon 1.)”

This time around, the Fianna Fáil party leader has entrusted the Clare TD with a strong yes campaign for the Fiscal Stability Treaty.

“Timmy, as a member of the SubCommittee on the Stability Treaty, has been making a constructive and positive contribution to the debate so far and I have no doubt he will continue to add to the standard of the debate in the weeks ahead,” said Mr Martin.

The newly appointed Director of Elections has been critical of the current Fine Gael-Labour Government’s approach to the referendum.

He said, “The debate in the Dáil and public comments by ministers show that the government is presenting the Treaty as part of its economic recovery plans.

‘This is a foolish approach almost designed to turn away people who support the Treaty but do not endorse the government’s strategies.

“Allied to the fact that the Government has abandoned past practice of active coordination with other proEU parties and a picture is developing of a government more committed to getting a political boost than maximising the chances of a large yes vote,” said Deputy Dooley.


Council rejects ‘deal’ complaint

THE top official with Clare County Council has rejected suggestions that the local authority entered into a “deal” when it met with the backers of proposed power plant in Stonehall 15 months ago.

County manager Tom Coughlan was responding to comments made by Fianna Fáil councillor PJ Kelly at last week’s council meeting.

Cllr Kelly asked if the council had entered into a “quasi contractual arrangement” when it met Carbon Sole Group, the developers behind a proposed Combined Heat and Power facility at Stonehall. “Did we walk into a trap here?” he added.

Mr Coughlan said he totally refuted any suggestion that the council entered into a deal with developers or investors.

He said the council had met with the backers of the Lynx Cargo facility in Shannon and had met other potential investors.

He said the council is always interested in job creation initiatives but added that the local authority “do not compromise on planning”.

He said any meeting with inves- tors or companies is aimed at getting “badly needed jobs” into Clare.

Senior planner Gordon Daly had earlier told the meeting that his first contact with the developer occurred 15 months.

He said the council regularly met with people on enterprise related matters and are “very clear on why we meet them”.

He said the council “had nothing to hide” and that he was “entirely comfortable” with his role in the meeting.

Mr Daly was responding to questions from Cllr PJ Ryan who also asked if the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) had made contact with the council over the rezoning of land at Stonehall proposal.

Mr Daly said the DAA had made a submission welcoming the proposal.

“Ye’d be disappointed if we did not have a good relationship with bodies in Shannon,” he added.

Director of Service Ger Dollard said there are no development proposals for Stonehall before the council.

However he said that it is important that the council show it is “serious about enterprise and renewable energy”.


Councillor vote to rezone land for power plant

A MAJORITY of members of Clare County Council have voted in favour of re-zoning an 80-acre tract of land at Stonehall near Newmarket on Fergus that could facilitate the development of a large-scale renewable energy plant in the area.

A total of 17 councillors voted against an amendment proposed by Fianna Fáil councillor Pat McMahon that called for the E3 enterprise zoning site to be removed from the draft Shannon Town and Environs Development Plan 2014-18. 12 councillors voted for the amendment.

Developers Carbon Sole Group have proposed developing a 70MW Combined Heat and Power (CHP) facility at Stonehall.

The proposal is strongly opposed by locals in the area who have voiced concerns over the safety and suitability of the proposal.

A large crowd of people living and working in the Stonehall area attended last Wednesday’s council meeting.

In putting forward the amendment, Cllr McMahon said a renewable energy development could be better facilitated in Shannon Industrial Estate.

He said the proposed power plant would be 43 stories high while three to four trucks would carry fuel to the plant every hour. Cllr McMahon said the proposal represents “an attack on the local community”.

He added, “Nobody that I’ve met is against enterprise but it has to be in the right location.”

Senior planner Gordon Daly set out the reasoning behind the proposal to zone Stonehall for renewable energy developments.

He said the area has good infrastructure, is physically suitable and is relatively unpopulated.

He said the Council had placed a strong emphasis on being pro-enterprise. Mr Daly said this approach “would not be worth anything unless you give it effect”.

He added, “We do believe it is more appropriate to zone more enterprise land in Shannon.”

Mr Daly said the area had been targeted specifically for renewable energy development in order to prevent a migration of businesses from the industrial estate.

He said the area could become a cluster for renewable energy industries.

Mr Daly told the meeting that at a time when the farming industry is under pressure, raw materials for renewable energy plants would be sourced locally.

Responding to suggestions that such developments would be better suited to the existing industrial estate, Mr Daly said there isn’t 80 acres of land in the free zone with characteristics similar to the Stonehall site.

Mr Daly said the planning application process would deal with concerns with regard to any future developments at the site.

He said, “Zoning is not a fait accompli for planning permission.”

He added, “We would recommend in the strongest possible terms to retain this zoning…It would be an opportunity missed for this county.”

Fine Gael councillor Sean McLoughlin supported the zoning of lands at Stonehall. He said if industry is not attracted to Shannon, emigration would become an even bigger problem than it already is. “I want jobs for Shannon,” he said.


Fundraising boxes donated

THE kindness of a Clare carpenter means that people can now donate to the local hospice during funerals in a discrete and safe way. For the last number of years, the fundraising staff at Cahercalla Hospice were required to make temporary donation boxes when requested by families who wished to seek donations for the hospice in lieu of flowers at funerals. Mary Maloney, Fundraising Manager at Cahercalla, said that the boxes were often hastily put together with a poster attached and taken to funeral homes and churches across the county on request. On a trip to her home county of Galway recently the fundraising manager noticed that the Galway Hospice had professionally made donation boxes for such occasions. Taking her inspiration from Galway, she approached Munster Joinery to see if such boxes could be made for the Clare hospice. Paudie O’Callaghan and his business partner Dave Burke not only made 10 of the wooden boxes but also donated them free of charge. “This was a real act of kindness and charity that was not sought,” said Ms Maloney. She said the boxes have a lock so families can leave them in funeral homes, at home or in churches without any concerns. Padding inside the boxes also means there are no loud noises when coins are added, therefore disturbing the funeral. Ms Maloney said the boxes are available from the fundraising committee at Cahercalla Hospice from anyone who requires them.


Roma exhibition comes to a close in Ennis

A FINAL exhibition of work by Roma families living in Clare will take place later this week at Ennis Community College.

Clare Family Learning Project will welcome its Turkish partners for the final meeting and exhibition of families participating in the EU Comenius Regio Project.

The project has been successful in engaging Czech and Slovak families living in Ennis in a number of classes. In total, 42 adults are currently attending a number of classes including family music, family cookery and health and exercise with the Clare Family Learning Project.

Some of the participants have now moved on to more formal learning with workplace education and English language classes. Schools who are partners have now moved on to more formal learning with workplace education and English language classes. According to those involved in the project, schools that are partners have mentioned improved attendance by children of those parents. The exhibition takes place at Ennis Community College on April 30 and May 1.

A new booklet aimed at helping Czech and Slovak children to adapt to the Irish education system was launched in Ennis last September.

‘Helping Children To Do Well in School’ is a collaboration between the Clare Family Learning Project, Ennis Educate Together School, Ennis Community College and Clare Immigrant Support Centre.

The views of Czech and Slovak parents with children attending Ennis Community College and Ennis Educate Together were sought during the preparation of the booklet, which received funding from the European Union’s Comenius Regio Project.

The Ennis project is twinned with a similar EU initiative in Aydin, Turkey.

The Clare Family Learning Project was developed by Clare VEC’s, Clare Adult Basic Education Service. The project provides support to parents helping their children’s literacy and numeracy skills.


Clare company raises a cup to success in business award

CLARE company Cupprint Ltd has been named as winner of the Innovation & Emerging Technology Award at the national final of the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards, which took place at the Mansion House, Dublin, on Thursday, April 19.

Cupprint Ltd manufactures paper cups for takeaway beverages, using an innovative printing process to print a minimum of 5,000 cups with a two-week turnaround compared to a minimum of 50,000 cups and a twelve-week turnaround.

The company was established in 2009 with the unique selling point that this smaller scale manufacturing appeals to companies all over Ireland and Europe who do not need large quantities of cups. Since it was founded, the company has expanded to export to cafés and marketing companies all over Europe. Cupprint Ltd has a turnover of € 2.2 million last year and has 35 employees.

Receiving the award, Terry Fox from Cupprint Ltd said: “Winning the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Innovation & Emerging Technology Award is an honour. It represents our visions and exactly what we set out to achieve. I accept this award on behalf of our fantastic team at Cupprint and would like to thank them for their dedication and enthusiasm in keeping the company ahead of our competitors during these uncertain times. I am delighted to accept an award that recognises this achievement.”

Seven other leading businesses from across the country were selected as winners in their category at the awards, which are in association with the Irish Independent, Enterprise Ireland and InterTradeIreland.