Farmer dies in tragic accident

THE PEOPLE of Liscannor, Doolin and all of North Clare are in mourning today following the tragic death of local man TJ McDonagh.

TJ, who was 38-years old, passed away on Wednesday evening after a tragic accident while working on his family farm in Moher.

This is the third time that tragedy has touched the McDonagh family with TJ’s brother Declan losing his life in a motorcycle accident in Lisdoonvarna in 2002, while his uncle also died in a motorcycle tragedy in the 1960s.

TJ’s funeral took place at St Brigid’s Church Liscannor on Saturday, on the same day that his brothers 12 year anniversary mass was due to take place.

Mr McDonagh, who was an agricultural contractor by trade, was responsible for much of the restoration work which took place in the area following this winter’s devastating storms.

Indeed, TJ cleared the devastated Doolin Pier on three separate occasions in January and February, restoring access for the ferry operators and Doolin Unit of the Irish Coastguard.

TJ was also a great lover of the Aran Island and was planning to visit Inis Oirr for the curragh races this weekend. A number of boats servicing Doolin pier flew at half mast over the weekend in his honour.

“He was a great person and a great friend of everyone on the boats,” said Donnie Garrihy of the Doolin to Aran Ferries.

“He was a great worker, a great businessman and a real man.

“He came to our assistance on three separate times over the winter when the storms hit Doolin. He will be missed.”

TJ passed away while he was fitting a wheel at his family farm on Wednesday evening.

TJ’s father Tommy heard a loud bang just after 7.30pm and ran and discover his son, who had sustained a serious head injury understood to have been caused by the wheel exploding.

An ambulance from Ennistymon along with a second ambulance and rapid response advanced paramedic unit from Ennis were sent to the scene. Gardaí and a local doctor also responded to the emergency call.

He was airlifted to Galway University Hospital where he died shortly afterwards.

He is survived by his mother Mary, father Tommy as well as his brother Brian and sisters Fiona, Stella and Marian.


Three Clare credit unions to amalgamate

CREDIT Union branches in Clarecastle, Ennis and Lissycasey are to amalgamate under a new arrangement that involves over 31,000 customers.

St Francis Credit Union (Ennis), Ss Peter and Paul Credit Union (Clarecastle) and Fergus Credit Union (Lissycasey) are to join together in process called a ‘Transfer of Engagements’.

The three credit unions have a combined membership of 31,180. The combined assets of the three branches total € 151,484,415 million.

The move is being undertaken “in the spirit of co-operation to enhance efficiency and to work together to manage regulatory requirements”, according to Raymond O’Mahony of St Francis Credit Union.

The chairpersons of all three credit unions say the amalgamtion will have no impact on the day-to-day operations and that offices will be retained in all three areas.

Details of the amalgamation are contained in a document circulated last week to credit union members.

Chairman of St Francis Credit Union, Raymond O’Mahony says the three branches have been engaged in a process of negotiations over the past 18 months.

“All three credit unions have examined the benefits of coming together in the spirit of co-operation to enhance efficiency and to work together to manage regulatory requirements with the main objective of enhancing service provision to valued members at the credit unions,” he said.

“Following a considerable amount of work by the three credit unions, we are joining in what is known as a ‘Transfer of Engagements’. This will, we trust, result in a strong, vibrant credit union with an increased membership.”

Mr O’Mahony says he is “confident that the decision to work together with Fergus Credit Union and Ss Peter and Paul Credit Union will result in a strong credit union that will continue to provide efficient and relevant services to the combined membership. We appreciate the loyalty and support that our members have shown to their Credit Union down the years.”

The Transfer of Engagements document states that it is expected that legal requirements relating to the Transfer of Engagements will be completed in the coming month.

An extract from a meeting of the board on August 18 states that the board of directors of St Francis Credit Union resolved to undertake the transfer of engagements of Ss Peter and Paul Credit Union Limited and Fergus Credit Union Limited in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Credit Union Act 1997 (as amended).

The assets and membership of the three branches is as follows:

St Francis Credit Union, Ennis € 100,858,082 (assets), 20,552 (members); Fergus Credit Union, Lissycasey – € 33,018,876 (assets), 4,760 (members); Ss Peter and Paul Credit Union, Clarecastle – € 17,607,457 (assets), 5,868 (members).


No change to operations with credit union merger

THE merger of Credit Union branches in Clarecastle, Ennis and Lissycasey will see no change in the day-today operation of their local branch, according to Credit Union chairpersons. St Francis Credit Union, Ss Peter and Paul Credit Union and Fergus Credit Union are to amalgamate in a process called a ‘Transfer of Engagements’.

In their addresses to members, the chairpersons of Lissycasey and Clarecastle branches say they are “confident” that the transfer of en- gagements will be an “extremely positive development” for members.

“The enlarged credit union will have offices in Ennis, Lissycasey, Kildysart, Kilmihil, Clarecastle, Tulla and Newmarket on Fergus. Members will see no change in the dayto-day operations of the credit union. Members savings and loan accounts will be unaffected by the transfer,” they state.

Madeleine McCarthy, Chairperson of Fergus Credit Union, Lissycasey, said the board took the decision to amalgamate with branches in Ennis and Clarecastle in the “belief that the interests of all our members will be best served by a combined entity providing enhanced services”.

Kevin Collins, Chairperson of Ss Peter and Paul Credit Unions, Clarecastle, states the board of directors “has been engaged in a process of seeking a credit union to partner to enhance services currently provided by your credit union”.

“I am happy to report to the membership that your credit union has approached St Francis Credit Union Limited, Ennis, to form such an alliance,” Mr Collins explains.

On completion of the Transfer of Engagements, members of Fergus Credit Union and Ss Peter and Paul Credit Union will automatically become members of St Francis Credit Union and will be entitled to avail of the range of services and benefits provided by St Francis Credit Union.

Details of the amalgamation are outlined in a document circulated to members.

In a statement under Section 130 (2) of the Credit Union Act 1997 (as amended), St Francis Credit Union Limited states, no payments to members of the three branches concerned is proposed in connection with the Transfer of Engagements.

The document states that “Staff at St Francis Credit Union Limited, Fergus Credit Union limited and Ss Peter and Paul Credit Union Limited have been fully informed of all aspects of the Transfer of Engagement and are very much involved in the merger process.”

Further details of the merger will be outlined to members at information meetings next month. Meetings will take place at Temple Gate Hotel on September 1 for members of St Francis Credit Union; St Mary’s Hall, Lissycasey, on September 1 for Fergus Credit Union and The Inn at Dromoland on September 1 for members of Ss Peter and Paul Credit Union. All meetings start at 8pm.


Work continues at Ennistymon hospital

PLANNING permission for a further development of facilities at the Ennistymon Community Hospital has been lodged with Clare County Council, with hopes high that construction work could get underway before the end of the year.

The hospital, which serves as a facility for older people from the North Clare area, has been threatened with closure on three separate occasion over the last 10 years with the facility staying open and then growing as a result of heroic fundraising by the Friends of Ennistymon Hospital.

Construction work on phase one of the hospital’s redevelopment is almost finished with a grand opening due to take place in the next month. Planning permission for phase two of the development was lodged last week and involves the construction of a single story extension which will include eight ensuite, bedrooms as well as a new sitting area.

The hospital, which is located on the site of the old Ennistymon Workhouse, is a listed building – a fact which was taken into account in the planning permission.

The projects was put forward by Friends of Ennistymon Hospital, who have raised in excess of € 3 million for the hospital over the past 30 years.

“This is phase two of our five-year plan that we are into now and we are hopeful that planning permission can be secured as quickly as possible,” said Tomsie Sullivan of the Friends of Ennistymon Hospital.

“We decided from the beginning that we were going to take this in phases and make sure that the hospital was going to remain open before we spent large amounts of money donated by the local people. The hospital has been threaten with closure on a number of occasion in recent years.

“This second phase will include the provision of eight single rooms and the fundraising for this is already underway. We will be outlining our fundraising plans for 2015 when we officially unveil the completed phase two in the coming weeks. We estimate that we have raised in excess of € 3 million for the hospital since the Friends of Ennistymon Hospital started its work back in 1984.”

Phase three of the development will see a major upgrade of the existing rooms and facilities at the facility to bring them up to the standard of the new constructions.


11 children killed or injured on Clare roads

AS MANY as 11 children under 14 years old were killed or seriously injured on Clare roads during the six years between 2006 and 2012.

New research from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has revealed that one child was killed and 10 children were seriously injured on the county roads during this period.

The report was published by the RSA along with Electric Ireland as children and teenagers from all over the country prepare to go back to school.

For the fifth year running the two organisations will distribute 85, 500 high visibility vests to every child starting school this year.

The vests will be included in the RSA’s ‘Back to School’ road safety packs which will be sent to primary schools nationwide over the coming months.

The RSA is urging parents, guardians and teachers to make road safety a priority as 13 children under the age of 14 have died in the first eight months of this year on Irish roads.

In 2013, six children lost their lives, meaning the number of child casualties so far this year has already exceeded the total number of child deaths in 2013.

Six of the children who died on our roads this year were pedestrians, six were car passengers and one was a quad bike user.

A report on child casualties between 1997-2012 found that one in three of the child fatalities in this period were not wearing seatbelts or a child restraint.

This report showed that 44 per cent of children who were killed in the 15year period were pedestrians and 42 per cent of children who were killed or seriously injured were passengers in a car.

According to the RSA the peak time for children to be killed on roads is late afternoon/early evening, between 4pm and 5.59pm and during the summer months of April to August.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe encouraged parents and teachers to renew their commitment to educating young road users about road safety.

“The increase in child casualties on our roads this year is incredibly worrying, after many years of seeing year-on-year decreases.

“Attitudes to road safety are formed at a young age and we would urge parents and teachers to continue to prioritise teaching our youngest and most vulnerable road-users how to stay safe on the roads.” Monica GALLAGHER(née nee McTague) , Cappahard Cott age, Tulla Road, Ennis. Peacefully at her home. Monica. Laid to rest in Drumcliffe Cemetery. Donations if desired to the National Breast Cancer Research Institute Galway or the Samaritans. May she rest in peace. James J PEARSE , Cappakee, O’Briensbridge. Peacefully at Millbrae Nursing Home Newport. Funeral Mass in Bridgetown today(Tuesday) at 12 noon withburialafterwardsin the church grounds. May he rest in peace.


Numbers of families of addicts seeking help on the rise

FAMILLIES of Clare people affected by addiction are increasingly seeking help from one of the midwest’s largest addiction treatment centres.

The Ennis-based Bushypark residential treatment centre has increased the level of services on offer to families to meet a growing demand for their provision.

“There are a number of people trying to access assessments or residential treatment programmes or our outreach services,” explained Mar- garet Nash, manager of Bushypark Treatment Centre.

“There has been an increase in service required for family members affected [by drug alcohol abuse, gambling]. We have a new family support services running, additional ones in Ennis and Limerick.

Ms Nash said it has been an “extremely busy year” for the centre, which provides around the clock addiction treatment and outreach services to people in the mid-west, Galway and Kerry.

“We have developed a number of new services during the year. We’ve set up an outreach project in conjunc- tion with other services in Kilrush for clients in the West Clare are that need to access service in relation to alcohol or drugs,” she added.

Ms Nash was speaking ahead of a major fundraiser in aid of Bushypark. The third annual Bushypark Golf Classic takes place in Ennis Golf Club on Saturday, August 30.

This event is an important fundraiser for the centre. Teams of four are € 120 or € 30 for individuals.

The event can also be supported through tee or green sponsorship. Further information is available from 065 6840944.

Ms Nash said the centre is grate- ful for the support it has received throughout the years.

“We’ve had a lot of loyal supporters throughout the years: People who are grateful; people who have accessed our services. Money has got scarce but people’s goodwill is still good to us. People are delighted with the services we offer them,” she said.

BushyPark Addiction Treatment Centre was founded in 1991 by Clarecare with funding and assistance from the Mid-Western Health Board.

It provides services at 16 locations throughout the country. Ms Nash said a growing number of people are coming forward to seek help with addiction.

“There are more people coming forward in relation to dealing with addiction which is good. I think people are more likely to confront issues. Hopefully the stigma has been reduced. It’s not broken but its reduced. People are starting to come forward. There is a link between mental health and addiction and people are beginning to deal with both issues, which is great,” she said. “We’re finding it a very mixed age. There is no upper limit. That’s good too, that people haven’t decided at 65, ‘I’m too old to deal with this’.”


Kilkee cruelty case ‘worst ever’

GARDAÍ in West Clare and the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are investigating what a dog warden with more than 20 years experience described as “the worse case of animal cruelty ever seen”.

Clare dog warden Frankie Coote said he was shocked at the state of the four-year-old German Sheperd discovered in a yard in West Clare. The animal who was still alive was too weak to move and was being eaten alive by rodents and maggots.

Mr Coote was not expecting the harrowing scenes that were to greet him in West Clare on Monday last, following an anonymous tip to the ISPCA.

“In 23 years I have seen a lot of animals suffering and dying but this was by far the worst. I believe the dog could not have moved from the position in five to six weeks and he was being eaten by maggots and rodents,” he said.

Parts of the young dog’s limbs were dismembered from the rest of his body, Mr Coote recalled, visibly distressed by the incident.

“I thought the dog was dead, and said as much to the guard with me, until I went to take the photo and the dog moved. The flash went off and I couldn’t believe he was still alive,” said the warden who is employed by the ISPCA and works full time with Clare County Council.

In a heartbreaking description of the dog rescue Mr Coote described how despite the agony the dog was in, he lifted his head and licked the warden’s face he lifted him from the yard.

“The dog was so gentle. He was licking my face as I was lifting him out. He could only lift his head. The only muscles still working in his body were in his neck. It was one of the kindest dogs I have ever come across,” he said.

Mr Coote was disappointed the dog had to be humanly destroyed.

“We had to put the dog down. Even examining the dog would have been cruel. I hate even saying this but there were parts of his body left on the ground as we lifted him,” he said, adding the vet was shocked at the state of the animal.

“Many rescue groups offered to take the dog but he was beyond help.”

Gardaí and the ISPCA are investigating and it is understood they are following a definite line of inquiry.

Mr Coote encourages anyone with concerns about an animal’s welfare to contact the ISPCA on 1890 515 515 and support the work of the charity whenever possible.


Calling all ‘Dainty Daisies’ to help fundraise for Rape Crisis

IN A bid to avoid closing the county’s only Rape Crisis Centre again in 2015, supporters for the charity have begun its biggest fundraiser of the year. The Dainty Daisy Contest, described as the “Lovely Girls competition for Men”, will raise funds for the Rape Crisis Centre in Ennis and all funds raised will stay in the county.

Already 12 men have signed up for the contest in the Treacys West County Hotel on November 1, and the organisation is looking for more men in high heels to take on the challenge.

Rape Crisis Services in the midwest, including Clare, costs an estimated € 570,000 each year. While the Government provide € 450,000 towards the service, manned mostly by volunteers, a shortfall of € 120,000 must be found through fundraising.

This year the shortfall could not be met and the Clare service, which depends 100 per cent on fundraising, has to close for the month of September.

Friends of the charity said raising funds for the charity is difficult, as those that use the service who want to give back by supporting fundraisers often cannot do so publicly.

“Raising funds for the Rape Crisis Centre is a challenge, least of all because those that use the service do so in confidence and often without the knowledge of even their closest friends and family,” explained Cllr Mary Howard, who has been a volunteer fundraiser with the organisation for a number of years.

“That is one of the things we struggle with as a centre because, in the vast majority of cases for organisations that are charities, people would be very open about using something perhaps like a cancer support service or a hospital where perhaps their child was ill or other charities that support illnesses or conditions. The vast majority of our clients and the 85 people that are coming through the mid-west every week, and that does not include those on the phone, the vast majority of these people will not go public and say they were sexually abused as a child or an adult and ‘I am going public to raise money for this organisation’,” added Verena Tarpey from Rape Crisis Centre Mid West.

She said while funds for the centre are being cut, the need for the service is increasing especially since the recession.

“Often a new crisis brings up a sexual abuse as a child and it needs to be dealt with,” she said.

“We are trying to change the public perception of who the rape crisis centre is for an who goes through it. It is for ordinary people who may have been sexually abused or have had some sort of sexual violence in the past.”

This is the third year of the Dainty Daisy competition and it is hoped that it will raise much needed and urgent funds for the Clare Rape Crisis service.

Those wishing to support the fundraiser can do so by sponsoring a “Daisy”, attending the event on November 1 or nominating their own “Dainty Daisy” to take part.

Anyone wishing to support the Rape Crisis Service in Clare can contact Verena at verena. or Mary at or by contacting


Rape Crisis Centre faces four-week closure

THE cash strapped Rape Crisis Centre in Clare is forced to close its doors from Monday for one month.

The service that provides counselling and services to victims of rape and sexual abuse throughout the county has been forced to take this action due to lack of funds.

The Rape Crisis Mid West, of which Clare is part, made the decision to close the Nenagh centre during the month of July and Clare in September when it was apparent it could not make up the annual shortfall of € 120,000.

Verena Tarpey of the Rape Crisis Mid West explained, “We are part funded by the Government to carry out our services – the service in the entire mid-west, taking in the three centres including Limerick, Clare and Tipperary cost approximately € 450,000 – we face an annual shortfall of approximately € 120,000 which we must bridge by fundraising.

“We receive no government funding to service the overheads connected with the Ennis centre and must fundraise locally to raise this deficit. We did not foresee us being in a position to bridge this significant shortfall this year and made the decision to temporarily close Ennis in September, Nenagh in June and provide a skeletal service in Limerick for the summer,” she said.

As well as dealing with a financial shortfall the service is also working with a waiting list of 30 people who are in need of long-term counselling.

Those on the list must wait approximately three to four months for medium- to long-term support and counselling, and that timeline has now been extended again as a result of the temporary forced closure of Clare’s only centre.

Ms Tarpey said it was important to highlight the fact that despite the financial challenges facing the organisation, emergency cases and crisis calls would be dealt with immediately.

“It is important to distinguish this from crisis support that we provide where no person will be turned away. For example, if a person rings our centre looking for support in the immediate aftermath of a rape, either he or she will be seen immediately, often within an hour or a couple of hours. Likewise, if a person rings us in relation to past abuse and are in crisis at present, we will offer them support within hours or days. All those on the waiting list are monitored and contacted and are offered up to six weeks of support counselling while they are on the waiting list,” she said.

Meanwhile the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) in the midwest, will continue to run uninterrupted.

This is an out of hours service for 12 hours from 6pm.

The unit is a forensic facility where someone who has been raped or sexually assaulted can be forensically examined.

In the mid-west, the SATU unit is activated by the Garda only when a report is made and is not a walk-in unit. Rape Crisis Midwest provide a trained volunteer to attend the forensic examination when called.

“We have a roster of volunteers every night of the year. The role of the SATU volunteer from a rape crisis perspective is to provide crisis support to victim/survivor on initial attendance to the SATU,” said Ms Tarpey.

“We are also there to support victim before, during and after the forensic examination to provide support, advocacy and information and the reporting, examination and SATU process to liaise with the forensic examiner, nurse and any attending garda on the person’s behalf.”


Actress star struck by award

A CLARE actress and student of an Ennis-based acting school has scooped a top award in one of the country’s biggest drama competitions.

West Clare woman Anna Moloney has been honoured with a Leinster School of Music and Drama Excellence Award for her outstanding performance in drama.

Approximately 15,000 students across the country take the Leinster School of Music and Drama exam each year and this excellence award accolade is only bestowed on four students in all of Ireland.

Anna, who is from Miltown Malbay, will be presented with her prize at a Gala Concert in Griffith College, Dublin, in October.

Anna is a student of the School of Speech and Drama, Actors and Reactors in Ennis. The school was founded by Clare sisters Aoibhín and Doireann Garrihy last August.

The sisters have had a hugely successful year. Several of their students were award winners at the world famous famous Feile Luimni.

As well as creative drama and feiseanna, the students participated in the Leinster School of Music and Drama exams in April of this year and each one received first class honours.

“We are extremely proud of all of our students. The standard in Clare and indeed our school is very high and in a time when the importance of self confidence is becoming more and more apparent our focus is on developing crucial skills which we hope will benefit our students greatly,” said Aiobhín of the student’s achievements.

Two students of the Actors and Reactors School of Speech and Drama, Ava Rochford and Anna Moloney, were nominated for an excellence award for their outstanding performance in drama. They performed for a panel of judges in Griffith College, Dublin, on July 5.

Aoibhín is currently playing Jane Bennett in Alan Stanford’s production of Jane Austen’s famous ‘Pride and Prejudice’ in the Gate Theatre Dublin.