Row erupts over voting rights at mart

NON-FARMING shareholders are to lose the right to vote on issues concerning the future management of Clare Marts Ltd.

A resolution was passed at last week’s Special General Meeting of the mart which will see the creation of a two distinct tiers of shareholders: those who have voting rights and those who don’t. Almost 91 per cent of shareholder present voted in favour of the resolution, which requires shareholders to trade cattle, sheep or horses to the value of at least € 5,000 over a four-year period, or surrender their voting rights.

A shareholder who does not fulfill these conditions will be deemed to be a “Category B” shareholder and will lose the right to vote, but will retain the full value of the shares.

Mart shareholder and Ennis busi nessman, Oliver Moylan, criticised the decision – describing it as “discrimination” and said that Clare Marts was “biting the hand that fed it”.

A spokesperson for the mart told The Clare People yesterday that the move was designed to maintain farmer control for the decision mak- ing process at the mart. He also said that similar moves had been made at a number of Irish marts in recent years.

No person who was a shareholder when the resolution was passed last Wednesday, July 24, will lose their voting rights. However, the Category B conditions will kick in when shares are transferred or willed to others.

Over the years, a number of shares at Ennis Marts Limited have been passed on to people who are no longer active farmers. This has created a situation at the mart where many of the shareholders no longer have any direct connection to active farming.

Mr Moylan criticised the decision saying it was very unfair on business people and local families who were involved in setting up the mart and will soon lose their voting rights.

“It’s a farce they don’t want nontraders. They just want farmers and yet a lot of the marts’ business in volves renting and investment,” Mr Moylan said.

“They’re now trying to make it so we have no voting rights. It’s discrimination against a minority.

Turnover of the marts was € 69.5 million last year with the majority of that coming from the sale of livestock and the rest coming from property.


Bishop annouces Diocesan appointments

ENNISMAN Anthony McMahon has been appointed to parish priest of Kilmurry-Ibricane this week.

The Clare priest was the only priest promoted by Bishop Kieran Reilly SMA, when he announced the new Killaloe Diocesan Priest appointments yesterday morning (Monday).

The bishop made 11 changes and appointments in total, including the reconfiguration of the of the East Clare Cluster to include the parish of O’Callaghan’s Mills, which is to move from the Scáth na Sionnaine Cluster.

Fr McMahon will move to Mullagh in succession to Fr Pat Larkin who has been appointed parish priest of Kilmaley.

Fr McMahon who is a native of Ennis was educated at St Flannan’s College, Ennis, and St Patrick’s College Maynooth and was ordained in 2001. He continued post graduate studies in Maynooth in 2001 and 2002 and was appointed Curate in Kinnitty, County Offaly, in 2002. In 2003 he was appointed Curate in Nenagh, County Tipperary, and has also worked as the Diocesan Catechetical Advisor to the Gaelscoileanna.

Canon Michael McLaughlin, PP Kilmaley, will also see a change to his role in the diocese when these changes come into affect on August 30, as he is to be priest in residence in Inch.

Fr Harry Bohan is to continue as parish priest in Sixmilebridge, while Fr Harry Brady is to continue as PP of Clarecastle.

Fr Paddy McMahon, a native of Kildysart, is retiring from the Diocese of Spokane, USA, and is to be attached to the Cluster of Scáth na Sionnaine with residence in Bridgetown.

Fr Ignatius McCormack will con- tinue to teach and reside in St Flannan’s College, Ennis, and be available for weekend ministry in the parish of Quin.

Changes outside the county will see Fr Enda Burke, assistant priest Cloughjordan, retire and Fr Tom Whelan, Administrator Cloughjordan, to be appointed curate in Castleconnell, Limerick.

Fr Tom Hannon, who is returning to the Diocese from Sabbatical leave, is to be parish priest in Cloughjordan.

Fr Noel Hayes, Assistant Priest, Bridgetown, is to retire due to ill health, returning to St Patrick’s Missionary Society.


Glimmer of hope for priesthood

THERE is a glimmer of hope for dwindling vocations in the Diocese of Killaloe as five young men have expressed an interest in training for the priesthood next year and are in talks with the vocations officer.

Even if one of these men are from Clare and decide to enter St Partick’s College Maynooth as a clerical student, it would still be at least seven years before the county had a new Clare priest among the 52 priests currently working in the county.

There is currently no Clare man training for the priesthood and just one man from the diocese – a Birr native – studying in Maynooth.

Meanwhile the number of priests serving the diocese continues to decline, as the patrol needs of the 124,000 Catholics in the six county dioceses are met through a “cluster system”.

According to figures released by the Diocese of Killaloe there are currently 82 priests in full-time ministry in the diocese’s 58 parishes, and The Clare People has learnt that 52 of those priests are serving in this county.

Among the 50 plus priests serving in Clare is Bishop Emeritus Dr Willie Walsh, who retired as bishop in 2010, but continues to serve the people of his adopted county as a priest.

The Diocese also has a priest from a Polish Diocese – Fr Dariusz – attending to the patrol needs of the Polish community.

Based in the Cathedral in Ennis, he serves Mass once a week in Ennis, while also moving to other counties in the diocese to serve Mass and administer at christenings, weddings and funerals.

A further six Killaloe priests are engaged in full-time school chaplaincy, teaching, diocesan administration and other pastoral work throughout Ireland, while five more serve overseas in various ministries.

Fifteen Killaloe priests are fully retired from active ministry, four of these men are from Clare.

The Diocese also benefits from the service of six priests from other dioceses or religious congregations serving as priests and benefits from the ministry of the clergy based at the Franciscan Friary in Ennis and the Cistercian Monastery at Mount St Joseph’s, Roscrea.


Ennistymon hospital saved

LESS than a year after it was threatened with closure, representatives of the Ennistymon Community Hospital yesterday signed contracts which will secure the facilities future for a generation.

Following a mammoth local fundraising operation, The Friends of Ennistymon’s Hospital and the HSE yesterday signed contracts for Phase 1 of a € 3 million master plan for the facility.

Construction work will begin in early August with Phase 2 of the project likely to get underway at some stage in 2014.

In order to secure this new future for the facility, the Friends of Ennistymon Hospital have raised an incredible € 400,000 from local people to co-fund Phase 1 with the HSE.

A similar amount of money will also need to be raised locally to cofund the second part of the project. Yesterday’s contract signing seems like no more then a dream last year, when the facility was threatened with closure for the third time in as many years.

“The contracts were signed this morning which is a great relief for all of us.

“This is a major step forward, in the last six months we were threatened with the hospital being closed.

“That is the third time in recent years that we have been told that Ennistymon hospital was in danger of being closed,” said Thomas O’Sullivan of Friends of Ennistymon Hospital.

“It came down to what funding we could put up to back up our talk. So we were able to go to the HSE, from our small community, with € 400,000 for Phase 1.

“This is an incredible amount of money for the people of North Clare to come up with.

“We have people at church gate collection from Mullagh up to New Quay and down to Kilnamona and the support that we have got is really tremendous.

“These local people are the real back bone of our funding. That proves to us that people really want it.”

The development will see the total transformation of the facility, with twin on-suite rooms replacing the current ward-style sleeping arrangements. Phase 1 will focus on the mens and women’s sleeping quarters while Phase 2 will develop the mens area.

“As soon as the first section is nearing completion we will start looking at Phase 2.

“We have started fundraising for that already and hopefully we can progress that in the next eight or 10 months,” continued Thomas.


Upgrade for 42 vacant council houses

MORE than 40 council houses are to be made liveable again, as almost a half a million euro is invested in the project.

Clare County Council’s 2013 Housing Works Programme got an extra € 700,000 boost and the funding is being invested in improving the local housing stock.

The 42 vacant Clare council houses will not only be returned to use as a result of the investment, but the work will also contribute to local employment.

The funding will be targeted at improving the energy efficiency and comfort levels of the council’s social housing stock, returning council houses to use and providing grant aid for the adaption of houses for older people and people with a disability.

A specific allocation of € 198,490 was set aside under the jobs stimulus investment programme for energy efficiency retrofitting of social housing stock.

Mayor of Clare, Cllr Joe Arkins, highlighted the new employment opportunities that will be provided for numerous private contractors in the county by the effective doubling of Clare’s 2013 allocation.

“The energy retrofitting measures for 2013 will target 250 older houses in the council’s stock which lack adequate insulation and draught proofing. The works will, in addition to providing an economic boost, considerably improve the comfort levels for our tenants.”

Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the Housing SPC, Cllr Patricia McCarthy welcomed the provision of additional funding of € 400,000 euro to carry out necessary works to return vacant houses to stock.

“This budget provision will see contracts being issued in respect of approximately 42 vacant units around the county in the current year. This, she stated, is particularly welcome at a time when our recently completed housing needs assessment identified 1,671 applicants in need of housing,” she said.

The housing adaptation grants scheme also received a welcome boost with an additional allocation of € 81,456 to bring the total available for the year to € 1.55 million.

The council’s director of Housing Services, Bernadette Kinsella, said, “This ambitious work programme presents a significant challenge for the council. However, I believe the Housing Department’s highly motivated technical and administrative team will ensure the effective delivery of this programme.”


Demand for free legal aid on the decline

FREE Legal Aid Centres (FLAC) in Clare reported a marked decrease in the number of people requiring free legal assistance with financial matters.

According to the legal rights group’s annual report for 2012 there has been more than a 49 per cent drop in legal enquiries relating to credit and debit issues in Clare on the previous year.

The human rights organisation, which promotes equal access to justice and has a base at the Citizen Information Offices in Ennis, Kilrush and Shannon, also reported that the majority of its work for a second year in succession is in the area of family law.

As many as 36.9 per cent of the calls to the FLAC in Clare related to family issues, making up 167 of the 445 enquiries – the same number as last year.

There was a 26 per cent drop in the number of people requiring employment legal advice, even though it made up 11.2 per cent of all enquiries.

There was also a significant drop 28 per cent – recorded in the number of people with consumer law ques- tions, with a 15.5 per cent drop in property and land questions and a 16.7 per cent drop in immigration and refuge calls – a drop of six calls to five.

In total the queries to the three centres were down 8.5 per cent on 2011, from 497 to 455 inquiries.

The number of people enquiring about negligence and personal injury had increased by 27.6 per cent in 2012 to 37, while enquiries relating to wills, succession and probate went up 25 per cent to 40.

Questions about neighbour disputes and client solicitor relations went up from 11 to 16 and three to five re- spectively.

Enquiries relating to civil matters went up 40 per cent from 15 to 21.

In a statement the FLAC said there is not only a fundamental need in Irish society for accessible legal information and advice for individuals, but also for fairer systems that allow people to access their rights across a wide range of issues.

Director general Noeline Blackwell added, “2012 was a milestone year for FLAC where, after years of campaigning to reform personal debt law, we finally saw the passage of personal insolvency legislation, its many flaws notwithstanding.”


Clare woman to ruffle FF feathers

A CLARE woman is proposing to go where no woman has ever gone before – into Clare county council chambers as a Fianna Fáil county councillor.

Clare Colleran Molloy is aware however that her biggest challenge is to first get through the hotly-contested Fianna Fáil convention for the Ennis Electoral Area.

At least 15 people are expected to contest the convention for the new constituency, and it is very likely she could be the only woman in this contest, especially if former independent candidate Rita McInerny opts to contest the West Clare Fianna Fáil convention.

The Quin woman is a complete novice when it comes to elected politics, but has worked with community and charitable organisations.

A barrister by profession, she has also helped to run a restaurant with her husband Tony Molloy, formerly of Tony’s Fashions, Ennis, in her hometown of Quin.

The Clare woman spent a number of years living and working in Florida, returning home in 2002, and selling her American home and moving back on a permanent basis in 2007.

At the time she saw a lot wrong with politics in Ireland.

“While Fianna Fáil was in my blood I saw a lot of problems when I came home. I remember a news report from the time saying the Government was surprised with the surplus and did not know what to do with it, and thought this was bad forward planning,” she said.

She told The Clare People that she felt that the time was now right for her to begin a political career, aware that more female voices need to be heard in the council chambers and the Dáil.

She has returned to the law library and she and her husband are in the process of selling the restaurant, allowing her more time to the law and a possible political career.

“Fianna Fáil is on its knees and needs new blood,” she said.

For the first time ever the convention will be run on a one person one vote selection process, which Ms Colleran Molloy believes may be an advantage to her in the two month run up to the convention.

“It allows me as a new comer to ruffle some feathers,” she said.

There has never been a female Fianna Fáil county councillor in Clare and the party fielded just on female candidate in the last county council elections – Michelle Moroney in the Ennistymon Electoral Area.


Work on €2m Doolin Coast Guard centre to commence

AFTER more than two decades of local campaigning and action, construction work on a new state-of-theart rescue centre for the Doolin Unit of the Irish Coast Guard will being later this week.

The new € 2 million centre, which is expected to be operational by the summer of 2014, will revolutionise the way in which the Doolin Unit can operate – and may, in time, save lives.

Even though the Doolin Unit of the Irish Coast Guard is one of the busiest coast guard units in the country, it does not currently have the ability to store all of its equipment at the current site at Doolin Pier.

This means that important equipment has to be stored at different locations around North Clare, meaning making rescue operations more complicated. The new facilities will include a garage area for the storage of boats, equipment and transport as well as changing facilities and an operations room.

“Ultimately this will make our work more efficient because we will be able to keep everything in the one place. The team will all have one place to assemble; there will be no confusion over where different teams should go in an emergency,” said Mattie Shannon of the Doolin Unit of the Irish Coastguard earlier this year. “Also, when you put a piece of equipment down you will where it is going to be when you need it again. That was a big problem. We had to store so much equipment in so many different places that it was very difficult to keep track of everything.

“This is going to make our job a lot more easy and they will make us better able to save leaves. We will be able to assemble at the one place and leave as a block.”

The news was welcomed yesterday by Clare Senator, Martin Conway (FG).

“The building in which the volunteers have worked in for the last 20 years was not fit for purpose and I have no doubt that the new facility will greatly assist the volunteers in their tireless work on behalf of the community, carrying out search, rescue and recovery operations off the coast of County Clare,” he said.


Cliffs are Ireland’s third most popular attraction

CLIFFS of Moher Visitor Experience is t he thi rd most popular fee-payi ng tourist att raction in the count r y, sur passed only by t he Guinness Store House and Dublin Zoo.

Fáilte Ireland, the national tour- ism aut hority, published its listing of Ireland’s top visitor att ractions for 2012 and the iconic Clare tourist att raction is among t he list of top fee-charging att ractions growing by eight per cent to 873,988.

Bunrat ty Castle and Fol k Park, wit h 286, 270 visitors, was up four per cent, according to the figures released dur ing the week.

Fiona Monaghan, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Operations, said, “This list always makes fascinating reading, but it’s also a good reminder of the huge range of visitor att ractions that we have in Ireland. People visit this countr y for many reasons, but they always expect a high st andard of things to see and do, which is why we see Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience and the Bunratt y Castle and Fol k Park make t he list.

“Our visitor att ractions are a big par t of the tourism offering and with the increase in visitor numbers to Ireland, it is no sur prise that our top att ractions have also enjoyed a busy year. I have no doubt that t he recent good weather will have encouraged many Irish people to get out and about and discover what is on t hei r doorstep – next year we may be quoting even bigger numbers.

“Tourism is in a good place compared to five years ago but we can’t become complacent,” she added.

There were no Clare destinations on the list of Top 10 Free Tourist Att ractions.


Murder charge in Ennis death

GARDAÍ have issued a renewed appeal for information following the death of a Polish man in alleged violent circumstances in Ennis last week.

It comes as two brothers charged in connection with the incident appeared in court for a third time yesterday.

Michael and Darren Maughan, both with addresses at 20 Stonecourt, Ennis, were remanded in custody to appear again at Ennis District Court next month.

Michael Maughan (39) is charged with the murder of Piotr Nowakowski (31) at 15 Sandfield Mews, Ennis on July 23. Darren Maughan (21) is charged with assault causing harm to Declan O’Dea at the same location and date. Mr O’Dea is currently recovering in hospital.

The brothers first appeared in court on Wednesday. Garda Nadine Keane of Ennis Garda Station gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution in respect of Michael Maughan. She said Michael Maughan made no reply to charge after caution on July 24.

Garda John Moore gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution on Darren Maughan.

The court heard Darren Maughan made no reply when charged after caution at Shannon Garda Station on July 24.

Separately, Darren Maughan is charged with assault and two public order offences at The Height, Ennis on July 22.

Both men were remanded in custody to appear in court on Friday where they were remanded to Ennis District Court yesterday.

On Monday, Inspector Michael Gallagher said the State were seeking a further two-week remand in custody.

Solicitor for both accused, William Cahir, consented to the application. The men, who have been supported in court by family members, will appear again at Ennis District Court on August 12.

Yesterday Gardaí in Ennis also re- newed an appeal for information on the incident.

Sgt Joe Downey stated, “The Gardaí in Ennis are investigating this incident and are currently engaged in collecting and collating all available evidence.

“We are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed this incident, or who may have information concerning this incident, to come forward and make themselves known to the gardaí in Ennis”.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have helped in any way so far in this investigation as without their help our investigations would be made much more difficult,” he added.