‘€50k for West Clare Railway’

IT COULD be full steam ahead for the old West Clare Railway line as the Government provide € 50,000 for a West Clare Railway Greenway project.

Not only have new plans been lodged with Clare County Council to extend the popular west Clare Railway in Moyasta but according to Labour TD Michael McNamara Minister for Public Transport, is to provide the € 50,000 seed funding to kick-start the Green Way Project.

He said the Westport to Achill Greenway in Mayo has been an outstanding success and contributes over € 1 million to the local economy each year.

“The history, folklore and song associated with the West Clare Railway greatly enhances the attractiveness of a walking/cycling Greenway along the historic route.

“The grant of € 50,000 will be used by Clare County Council for design and planning purposes.

“I am totally committed to the project and will do all that I can to secure the major capital funding which the project will require,” said Deputy McNamara.

The proposed West Clare Railway Greenway when completed will link Ennis with Lahinch. Its total length will be 40km but will be delivered as a four phase project. The final phase of 3.5km linking Ennistymon with Lahinch has already been completed.

The remaining four phases are: Ennis to Ballymaquiggan (3.9km), Ballymaquiggan to Corofin (15km) and Corofin to Ennistymon (18km).

Meanwhile plans have been filed with Clare County Council to extend the West Clare Railway.

The plan includes 1,853 square National Railway Heritage Museum that will include a café and toilets, at the station that inspired the Percy French song “ Are You Right There Michael? ”

The application also includes a rail way and pedestrian crossing on the N67 Kilrush to Kilkee road, as well as pathway footbridge and associated site works.

Clare County Council granted planning permission to a similar project in 2009 but the National Roads Authority successfully appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanala.

The new development included rail and pedestrian crossings along the N67, whose sped limit has since been reduced from 100 kilometres per hour to 60 kilometres per hour.


Quin skull belonged to chain smoking woman in her forties

A SKULL discovered in Quin almost five years ago may have belonged to a compulsive pipe smoking woman, who died in her 40’s more than 300 years ago.

The human remains, which were discovered in Quin in August of 2008, have been shrouded in mystery for the last five years. However, research carried out by TVAS Ireland, who discovered the remains, had shed some light on the historic discovery.

While many questions remain unanswered, the possible life story of the Quin body has started to emerge.

“We now know that the jaw bone had typical female traits – so we can cautiously say that the body was a female.

“We know that the person also suffered from arthritis – part of the bones discovered were from the spine and there was evidence of the bones rubbing together.

“So we are fairly sure that the person would have had severe neck pain,” said Edel Ruttle of TVAS.

“From the jaw bone we noticed a third molar – or wisdom tooth. So we are confident that the body was aged somewhere between 21 and 40 years of age. Interestingly, we also saw a clay pipe semi-circle on the body’s teeth, this is consistent to a person holding a clay pipe in her mouth almost constantly.

“So not only was this person a smoker – they would have had to hold the clay pipe in their mouth for hours and hours every day to make marks consistent with the ones we have discovered.”

Despite these discoveries, it is still unclear why the body was buried in that spot and what religious the woman was.

One theory maintains that the woman was a social outcast of some sort, which is why she was buried on the edge of a disused Catholic grave – and not in the regular Catholic or Protestant graveyards which were in use in Quin at that time.

“She is buried in an East/West lie – which suggest that it was, at least, a partially standard burial, but the she is buried on the very edge of the cemetery – probably after the cemetery went out of use. So it’s difficult to know,”continued Edel.

“It is possible that she was a marginal figure.

“Maybe she wasn’t buried in the graveyard in Quin Friary because of some social standing – or lack of social standing.

“These are possibilities, but we don’t know for sure. There is still a lot of mystery surrounding this body.”


HSE says five hour wait in A&E for bleeding child is acceptable

THE CLARE toddler that was waiting five hours to have a head wound treated at the University Hospital Limerick, was treated within a time fame that is not only acceptable but strived for by the HSE.

In relation to queries from


Jail terms for appalling assaults in Ennis flat

JAIL terms have been handed down to two people involved in a violent Halloween home invasion in Ennis three years ago.

Carrie Brigdale (23) and Sean Moroney (41) were both sentenced to two years in prison for their roles in a alcohol fueled violent disorder incident that occurred at a rented apartment in Ennis on October 31 (2010).

Ugandan national Collins Kato (28) suffered multiple stab wounds during the assault at 13 Parnell Court.

He was also robbed of € 1640, two laptops and iPhone when a group of 10 people entered his home for a Halloween night party.

Seven people charged in connection with the incident, appeared before Judge Caroll Moran yesterday for sentence.

Judge Moran said Mr Kato had been subjected to a four and a half hour ordeal, during which he was restrained, kicked, robbed and stabbed in the neck with broken shards of a mirror.

He added, “This was an appalling incident, an incident that clearly got out of hand because of the influence of drink.”

The court heard Mr Kato asked the group to leave because of noise concerns and after he found three of them in a “sexually compromising position” in a bedroom.

Gardaí found Mr Kato “coming in and out of consciousness” when they arrived at the scene.

In his victim impact statement, heard in April, Mr Kato said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and feels “lucky to be alive.”

Judge Moran said evidence had been given that mother of three Ms Brigdale was heard to make a “terrifying threat” of “if this guy lives we’re in trouble”.

After which, Judge Moran said, another person said, “cut his throat.”

Judge Moran said Ms Brigdale, with a former address of Mill House Flats, Mill Road, Ennis and currently of no fixed abode, was the most culpable of the group.

She received a two-year sentence after pleading guilty to violent disorder, assault causing harm and production of an article during the course of a dispute.

Mr Moroney, with an address at 31 Dalcassian Park, hit Mr Kato over the heard with a fire extinguisher. He received a two-year sentence for violent disorder. He has 34 previous convictions.

Four other people also appeared before the court.

Caroline Lyons (22), with an address at 15 Waterpark Heights, pleaded guilty to violent disorder. Judge Moran said Ms Lyons, who has 17 previous convictions, invited people to the apartment after initially coming on the night to view the premises to rent.

She received a two year suspended sentence on condition she abstain from alcohol and be of good behaviour.

Her brother Gerard Lyons (21), with an address at 15 Waterpark Heights, Ennis pleaded guilty to violent disorder. He also received a two year suspended sentence.

Warren O’Donnell (21), with an address at Laurel Lodge, Ennis and Moore Street, Kilrush, pleaded guilty to violent disorder. Judge Moran said O’Donnell admitted being one of the people in the “sexually compromising position” and being present when Mr Kato was assaulted. He received a two-year sentence.

A mother of one who was 17 at the time of incident pleaded guilty to violent disorder. She received the probation act.

A 19 year old man who was 16 at the time of incident pleaded guilty to stealing € 1640.

The court heard yesterday that he has re-paid € 800.

Judge Moran said he would suspend a two-year sentence if the man re-paid the rest of the money by July 22.

Two other men were also charged in connection with the incident. The court heard yesterday that one of those has since died and the other man is no longer thought to be in the jurisdiction.


Fáilte Ireland in the Kilrush dock over downgrading of tourist offices

FÁILTE Ireland has been accused of washing its hands of tourism promotion in the west Clare region.

The tourism board has now been called before Kilrush Town Council to explain why it has downgraded its tourist offices in Kilrush and Kilkee at a time when the region is working hard to develop a sustainable tourism industry.

Fáilte Ireland Visitor Information Points have been opened at Crotty’s in Kilrush and at Occasion Gift Shop in Kilkee, but there is no longer any tourist offices anywhere on the west Clare peninsula.

Kilrush Marketing and Development Officer Síobhan Garvey said that Fáilte Ireland told a meeting of tourist bodies that as part of national policy both offices would not be opening in the traditional sense.

“Given the increased use of smart phones, mobile internet devices and apps it is felt by Fáilte Ireland that the new model to provide tourist information is by way of Tourist Information Points which can be placed in existing businesses and serve as an add on facility,” she said.

Council members are not impressed with the new strategy however and have asked for a meeting with Fáilte Ireland to in Cllr Tom Prendeville’s (FF) words;

“Let them know in no uncertain terms what we think of their baffling decision not to fund and located a tourist office in the town.”

Cllr Liam Williams (FG) suggested that the town council should have taken on the project.

“Did we miss out here? Should the town council not have taken it?” he asked.

The councillor was told that the council office was not appropriate as it was only open five days a week, but Cllr Williams believed the council still had a role to play.

“Crotty’s was a tourist agency of last resort.

“We are grateful to Rebecca and Kevin [owners of Crotty’s]” said Cllr Prendeville adding the town needs an office that will carry out services such as bookings and providing information.

Fáilte Ireland has been invited to the July meeting of the council.


Jail term for robbing Ennis foodstore with knife

A MAN who used a knife and a hatchet to rob shops in Ennis over a two-day period last February has received a three-year prison sentence.

Robbie Nestor (32), described in court as a chronic heroin addict, was sentenced after pleading guilty last October to robbery and unlawful possession of weapons, at Liddy’s Costcutter, Mill Road, Ennis and Lynch’s Centra, Gort Road, Ennis.

Mr Nestor, with an address at 142 Hermitage, Ennis, appeared before Clare Circuit Criminal Court yesterday.

The court heard that on February 11 (2012), the accused entered Liddy’s Costcutter carrying a black butcher’s knife. Garda William Deleaney told the court that after demanding staff open the till, Mr Nestor made off with € 450.

Mr Nestor was captured on CCTV entering and leaving the premises. He was recognised by a witness after a red scarf used by Mr Nestor to conceal his identity, slipped from his face.

Two days later, the court heard, Mr Nestor was one of two people that entered a petrol kiosk at Lynch’s Centra. Mr Nestor was carrying a hatchet and the other man had a hammer. The court heard that € 1300 was taken during the robbery.

No prosecution was brought against the other man involved in the robbery, the court heard.

Garda Delaney said Mr Nestor was arrested on February 17 and made full admissions.

He added, “He held up his hands completely and apologised.”

Garda Delaney told the court that Mr Nestor has a long running heroin addiction and robberies like this are committed to “fuel his habit.” Mr Nestor has 35 previous convictions.

Barrister Mark Nicholas BL told the court that his client used the stolen money to purchase heroin in Limerick.

He said Mr Nestor is currently drug free and recently underwent a rigorous rehabilitation course in Dublin.

Mr Nicholas added, “If you could extract the addiction he would be a very good member of society.”

Judge Carol Moran said Mr Nestor had a “very bad record”.

On the robbery charges, he imposed two concurrent five-year sentences. He suspended the final two years of the sentence on condition Mr Nestor enter a bond to be of good behaviour.

The two counts of unlawful weapon possession were taken into consideration.


Is your home the least energy efficient?

THE RACE is on to find the county’s least energy efficient home as part of an EU pilot study, and the winner will get financial assistance to upgrade the energy efficiency of their house. The study is focusing on the impacts of successive energy efficiency upgrade programmes on the County’s housing stock.

The Limerick Clare Energy Agency (LCEA), supported by Clare County Council, is conducting the Energy Performance Of Clare Homes (EPOCH) project.

The LCEA will provide financial assistance towards energy efficiency works and professional energy guidance to the owners of homes deemed to be least energy efficient.

The project, which has been launched to coincide with European Union Sustainable Energy Week 2013, is open to houses built in Clare before 2005 and the closing date for applications is July 5.

“For one reason or another and despite financial pressures increasing on homeowners to keep their properties heated, the majority of Clare homes remain energy inefficient,” explained Patrick Stephens, LCEA Manager.

“The total number of permanent households in Clare is 42,534, of which 29,269 or just 68.8 per cent were constructed prior to 2000. Our research indicates only 7,423 of these homes have benefited from energy upgrades,” he said. “This is likely to be reflected in the public submissions we receive as part of the EPOCH.”

To enter EPOCH, homeowners must occupy a house built in Clare before 2005 and return a completed questionnaire to the Limerick Clare Energy Agency (via the Environment Section, Áras Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis, County Clare) or enter online at before July 5. Questionnaire forms are also available from reception at Áras Contae and Chláir in Ennis.

The winning submissions will be announced on July 12 and will receive progression guidance and finance towards energy efficiency works.


Driver wasn’t aware train had hit parked tractor

THE driver of a train that collided with a parked tractor on the western rail corridor close to Cratloe in 2012, was unaware that a collision took place and continued on to the next scheduled stop at Sixmilebridge.

That is according to an investigation into the incident released by the Rail Accident Investigation Unit (RAIU) last week.

The report recommended that Iarnród Éireann should either close or move a nearby level crossing where at least two incidents have taken place in recent years.

On June 20, 2012, a passenger train travelling from Limerick to Galway collided with a tractor at the level crossing close to Cratloe.

The driver of the tractor was shocked but unhurt in the incident but his tractor sustained serious frontal damage.

The investigation found that the immediate cause of the accident was that the tractor entered the swept path of the train as the train was travelling through the level crossing.

The tractor driver had been relying on the railway signals to estimate train approaching times.

“Although the tractor driver was not adhering to the LC guidance booklet which states users should not rely on any railway signals, he had assumed it was safe to cross the level crossing; and despite being delayed by the vehicle blocking his exit, the tractor driver then edged forward to look again for oncoming trains.

“The tractor driver did not hear the train horn before edging forward,” the report says.

“Having been unable to close the level crossing due to a lack of agree- ment between the relevant land owners, Iarnród Éireann did not introduce adequate safety measures as a result of the inadequate viewing distances at the level crossing.”

While the collision was reported to an Iarnród Éireann signalman, it took 27 minutes to confirm the incident and alert the emergency services.

The RAIU established from telephone logs that the signalman had been taking a large number of calls and attempting to get Iarnród Éireann staff to the accident rather than contacting the Emergency Services immediately.


Moroney is last Mayor of Kilrush

THE COURTHOUSE in Kilrush was packed to capacity on Thursday to watch history in progress as the last ever mayor was elected to the office. Following a nomination by out going mayor Cllr Mairead O’Brien and seconded by his former school teacher Cllr Tom Predeville (FF) Cllr Paul Moroney (Ind) took the chair in the building where the first ever Kilursh Town Council convened in 1885.

The son of Mary and Tommy Moroney from Moore Street, was visibly proud as he took the seat, said he was humbled o be elected and saddened that “this could be the last time” a Kilrush Town Council AGM would be held.

“I feel huge pressure to lead this council into what could be its final year,” he told the crowd.

“I am an honest man,” he said after which there was a sight jeer and laugh from the crowd. “I am hard working, who always gives 100 per cent. I am grounded with family values at heart.”

Mayor Moroney outlined five main aims for the final year of the council. He said he would work to build employment for young people, revitalise business in the town centre and address the issue of vacant and derelict buildings in the town centre.

He said it was also important that the rates system be addresses by the minister. The reserve fireman also spoke of the need for improvement to the local road structure, and the importance of progressing the Sports Project on the Cooraclare Road.

The new mayor added that he also looks forward to welcoming people home for the Gathering this summer.

“I will do my best for Kilrush in he coming year and am sure my colleagues will back me,” he said.

He also thanked people for their support and paid tribute to the late Cllr Stephen O’Gorman (FF) who passed away in December.

Fine Gael Cllr Marian McMahon Jones was elected the last ever deputy mayor of Kilrush having been nominated by Cllr Liam Williams (FG) and seconded by Cllr Ian Lynch (FG). Neither election was contested.

At 32 years of age he has the responsibility of chairing the last ever Kilrush Town Council public meetings and paving the way for a new era in public representation, but age is a mere number to Paul Moroney.

When he was just 21 years of age he became a father for the first time, at 22 he had a mortgage and at 23 he was married to his childhood sweetheart Alison.

Just weeks after he turned 20 years old he became one of the country’s youngest firemen.

“It has taught me everything and for that I will be forever grateful,” he told The Clare People .

It is not surprising then that in the last four years since he was elected to the town council he has argued for better road safety procedures and clearer road markings as well as highlighting the needs of young families. Paul is the father or three – a ten-year-old daughter Lilly Ann and four-year-old twins, Ellie Mai and Archie. He said he has always been interested in politics.

He considered running for the local election in 2005, but felt he was too young and not well known.

“I decided not to lose out again in 2009,” he said. He went on to top the poll.

He said it was also important that Kilrush Town Council leave behind a legacy it could be proud of so he envisages a busy year ahead.

He has not ruled out running for the local elections in 2014, which would see him contest one of the geographically largest constituencies in the country.

“I would love to contest the next general election but my kids are so small. Can I commit that much time? When I saw the new boundary, I knew it was going to be a full time job. Can I give it that much time? I don’t know,” he said.

In the meantime he must keep down the day job in Patrick Bourke’s Mens Wear, fulfill his mayor duties, remain on call as a member of the local fire service and parent three young children.


New theatre will aid operation recovery

ONE OF the most advanced operating theatres in Western Europe is now open in the Mid West Region.

The state of the art high tech minimally invasive colorectal theatre at the Mid Western Regional Hospital in Limerick was provided by the Mid-Western Hospitals Development Trust at a cost of over half a million euro.

This fully Integrated Stryker i Suite Theatre is the first voice activated integrated operating theatre of its type in Ireland using Stryker’s dedicated technology and expertise.

Ann Doherty, chief executive of the Mid Western Regional Hospitals Group, said, “This is an exciting time for acute hospital services in the region. Without the work of the Development

“Trust acute hospital services would be lagging far behind international standards but now we are moving into a new era where our hospitals will stand comparison with the best.”

The new Stryker i Suite Theatre will be operated by Eoghan Condon, Professor Calvin Coffey, David Waldron, and Subhasis Giri and their surgical teams.

Mr. Condon and Prof. Coffey recently joined Mr Waldron from Cleveland Clinic Ohio USA, where they trained in laparoscopic colorectal surgery.

Laparoscopic colorectal surgery allows colon cancer to be removed using very small “keyhole” type incisions.

It results in significantly less trauma for the patients and consequently patients with other major conditions who in the past may have been turned down for surgery can now receive curative treatment.

This technique also has the advantage of allowing patients to recover more quickly allowing them to commence their adjuvant treatment earlier and avoid entering the Intensive Care after their operation.