Funding boost for Clare storm repair

CLARE County Council last night received a three-quarter of a million euro boost with the unexpected announcement that the Department of the Environment will reimburse the € 779,870 spent by the local authori- ty in clean up work after the StBrigid’s Day storms. The Clare People also understands the the council may also soon receive a further € 2.2 million allocation to help fund the repair works follow the February storms.

The council has already been allocation € 16.8 million in lieu of the devastating January storms but repair works have been hampered in many locations because of a lack of certainty from government concerning funding for the February storm – which has been valued at more than € 10 million.

The € 779,870 allocation was yesterday welcomed by Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Cllr John Crowe (FG).

“My colleagues and I have relentlessly pursued recoupment of these costs and I am delighted that the Department is now in a position to recoup these costs to the council,” he said.

“We will continue to progress the programmes necessary to deal with the effects of the storms on communities particularly along the western seaboard.” Tom Coughlan, Chief Executive, Clare County Council, conf rmed that the council “will now proceed to submit a claim as requested by the department for the recoupment of these costs, which were being carried by the council”. It has also been conf rmed that progress has been make with an application for a new coastal protection system at Cloughaninchy.

The OPW are now going to deal with application for works from Clare County Council on a caseby-case basis rather than making a block approval of f nding. “The OPW has advised that it will consider applications from the council to facilitate the appointment of consultants in relation to each site previously identif ed for strengthen ing works,” said a council spokesperson. “One such application, in relation to Cloughaninchy, has been submitted and has been approved.

“A procurement process is underway on foot of this approval.

Other such applications will be made in the near future.” Tue30September14


‘Wouldn’t turn the music down’

A MAN who pleaded guilty to a public order offence at a housing estate in Ennis has been sentenced to three months in prison.

James Sherlock (45), with an address at 41 Dromard, Lahinch Road, Ennis, admitted a charge of failing to comply with the direction of a garda.

The charge arose from an incident at the Dromard estate on March 10, 2014.

At Ennis District Court on Wednesday, Mr Sherlock received sentences totalling three months. He received a one-month sentence for the incident at Dromard.

Judge Patrick Durcan also activated two months of a suspended sentence imposed last year.

Mr Sherlock is appealing the sentences. Details of the offence at Dromard were heard in court on Tuesday.

Garda Barry Comer of Ennis Garda Station told the court gardaí were called to Dromard following a number of complaints about noise.

Garda Comer said the noise from a car radio was “causing signif cant disturbance” for residents.

Garda Comer said Mr Sherlock came out to the car when gardaí entered the estate.

“He was quite unhappy with our presence,” Garda Comer said.

The court heard that when gardaí asked for the music to be turned down, Mr Sherlock turned the music up louder and warned his children not to turn it down. Judge Durcan said to Garda Comer, “he was trying to prove he was king of the castle”.

Sentencing was adjourned to Wednesday, as the offence was committed while Mr Sherlock was still under the terms of a suspended sentence.

On Wednesday, Judge Durcan activated two months of that sentence. The court was told that Mr Sherlock has 15 previous convictions including for assault and theft.

Defence solicitor John Casey told the court his client is “not the most popular man in the estate, putting it mildly”.

He said Mr Sherlock was upset that someone had complained about the noise.

Mr Casey said there a large number of houses in the Dromard estate that are rented.

Mr Casey said his client would say there are often loud parties and his client never complains about the noise.

“He was not trying to prove he was king of the castle…He reacted badly when the gardaí came up.”

Judge Durcan imposed a one month consecutive sentence. Recognizance’s were f xed in the event of an appeal in respect to both sentences.


Dusty the dophin f nds a new soul mate in Clet

There are only a handful of solitary dolphins in the world and with Dusty, Clet and Fungi, Ireland is quickly gaining a reputation as the world’s leading habitat for the unusual mammals. The dolphins were f rst spotted to


Bye bye baby boom

with mini baby booms.

The recent downturn in the number of Clare babies being born appears to be affecting girls rather than boys. While the number of Clare boys being born remains largely consistent – 208 in the f rst quarter of 2013 compared to 208 this year – the number of female births has dropped dramatically. According to f gures obtained from the CSO the number of female babies born in Clare has fallen by almost 9 per cent in just 12 months. The overall birth rate from the county has fallen from 14.1 last year to 13.5 so far in 2013.

Despite the reduction in the number of children born in Clare this year the overall population in the county continues to rise at a relatively steady rate. A total of 211 Clare people died in the f rst three months of this year – much less than the 396 people who were born during the same period.


Cooraclare residents tried to save the life of farmer

community in Cooraclare for their attempts to save the life of a local farmer earlier this year.

Family and friends rushed to the aid of Jude Pyne after he collapsed outside his home at Tiernaglohane, Cooraclare, on April 13. The 63 yearold died after suffering a heart attack, an inquest into his death found last week.

At Clare Coroner’s Court, County coroner Isobel O’Dea paid tribute to the people who attempted to resuscitate Mr Pyne.

“Well done on your efforts and my deepest sympathy to all of you,” Ms O’Dea told family and friends.

The deceased’s nephew, Noel Lillis, told the inquest he received a call between 6pm and 7pm to say his uncle had been found outside his house.

Mr Lillis said he found Mr Pyne lying on the ground near his tractor. He said the tractor was off and the bailer was down.

The inquest heard that local man Joe Kelly went to Mr Pyne’s aid with a def brillator. Mr Kelly said an am bulance arrived at the scene and he continued to provide CPR. Mr Kelly said the incident happened very suddenly and that Mr Pyne had not fallen from his tractor.

Dr Eamon Ralph pronounced Mr Pyne dead at the scene at 7.14pm.

Dr Elizabeth Mulcahy told the inquest the autopsy was performed at University College Hospital, Limerick. She said there were signs that Mr Pyne may have suffered a previous


Property tax cut by 15% but services will be hit

A NUMBER of vital local projects may now be put on hold following the decision to cut the property tax in Clare by 15 per cent.

Councillors at last Friday’s special meeting of Clare County Council voted by a majority 17 to 10 in favour of introducing the full 15 per cent cut available to the local authority.

The decision means people who valued their house at € 100,000 or less will receive a reduction amounting to roughly 23 cent per week – but the council will lose € 1.56 million in funding for services.

Ahead of the vote, the executive of council circulated a list of possible outcomes to councillors – depending on how the vote went. This document listed 20 separate projects, located in each of the four electoral areas, that would not be possible if the full 15 per cent reduction was applied.Mayor of Clare, John Crowe (FG), said yesterday that it was inevitable that services would be effected.

“There is no doubt that people will suffer. We were talking about € 1.5 million to be split between the four electoral areas – we all know about the massive list of jobs that are waiting to be done across the county with estates to be taken in charge, lighting to be repaired and services provided. The € 1.5 million would have had a big impact on the work we could do, but when you break it down, it would have meant less than € 30 a year to the 91 per cent of people on the lower rate, which isn’t a lot,” he said.

Fine Gael and number of independent councillors voted against the reduction with Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and the majority of independents voting for the reduction.

“Our budget is very risky at this stage. We have so many services that are crying out for funding – with road, hedge cuttings, libraries, and our beaches – and I saw this as funding that we could use at our discretion to provide these services better,” said Cllr Christy Curtin (Ind).

“I would not like to describe what motivates anyone else to vote, but I will not engage in auction politics. I will always take the decision that I feel is in the long-term benef t of the county and I feel that this would have been a better county if we had that money to spend on vital services.”


Councillors vote 17-10 to cut local property tax by a full 15 per cent

AN AMALGAMATION of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Fein and Independent councillors voted to cut property tax rates in the county by the full permissable amount of 15 per cent for 2015.

The cut means means people who valued their house at € 100,000 or less will receive a reduction amounting to roughly 23 cent per week or € 12 per year, while those whose homes are valued at over € 300,000 will see their tax bill fall by up to € 90 per annum.

As a result of the decision, a number of vital local projects may now be put on hold following the decision to cut the property tax in Clare by 15 per cent.

Before the vote councillors were told that the reduction in the tax rate could see the Council having € 1.56m less to spend on local projects and services.


Trump’s 11th hour windfarm objection

BILLIONAIRE tycoon Donald Trump remained true to his promise to object to a nine turbine windfarm in the vicinity of his golf links and hotel in Doonbeg, when he lodged an 11th hour objection.

The owner of the Trump International Golf Links Ireland is one of 42 objectors in total, with the majority of the objections coming from local people and environmentalists.

Jim Hughes, Cunnane Stratton Reynolds, Copley Hall, Cotters Street, Cork, lodged the 16-page objection on behalf of Trump International Golf Links Ireland (TIGL) Ireland Enterprises Ltd.

Included in the objection is a detailed 40-page Observation Report carried out by Creagh House Environmental Limited.

The essence of the objection suggests that the second attempt by Clare Coastal Wind Power Ltd to build the windfarm just four kilometres from the golf resort in Doonbeg, will “have a signif cant negative impact on tourism”.

Clare Coastal Wind Power Ltd has applied for a 10-year planning application that would allow nine electricity-generating wind turbines of up to 126 metres in height to be built in Carrowmore South, Einagh and Shragh, two kilometres south of Doonbeg village.

According to the Trump objection; “The resort primarily relies on bookings from the international and in particular the North American market and a reduction in bookings as a consequence of the visual impact from the proposed development will have a serious negative impact on tourism in the area.”

The consultants commissioned by the Trump company go on to say; “The resort provides signif cant di – rect and indirect employment and represents an investment of € 150 million in the area, which will generate the same again in additional indirect tourism investment, giving an estimated total tourism investment of up to € 300 million along the West Clare coast and surrounding area.

“A loss of business at Doonbeg Golf Resort will have a direct impact on employment at the resort and also the surrounding area where many supporting tourist related businesses have emerged and thrived in the past 10 years,” they claim.

The objection also questioned the impact of the development on the local environment, stating there is a lack of appropriate f eldwork carried out to establish the impact.

It also states there “is an absence of any material commentary on the potential effects of a simultaneous construction of a Tullabrack windfarm and a Shragh windfarm.”

The Irish Peatland Conservation Council, with a base at Lullymore, Rathangan, Co Kildare, also raised concerns about the proposal on the West coast.

In its submission Tadhg O’Corcora, Conservation Off cer, said that while the IPCC recognises the importance of increasing the renewable energy sector as part of international efforts to combat climate change, it could not support the proposed development in Doonbeg as it would result in the destruction of “a mosaic of peatland habitats and its associated wildlife.”


West Clare windfarm capital?

WEST Clare may soon become the windfarm capital of Ireland with plans lodged for two major windfarm developments with the planning authorities last week.

These projects include the construction of what could be the largest ever windfarm undertaken in the county at Slaghbooly in Kilmaley, as well as separate plans for the construction of what would be the tallest turbines ever built in Clare at Cahermurphy in Kilmihil.

Slaghbooly Wind Farm Limited lodged plans to construct a 29-turbine windfarm in Kilmaley with An Bord Pleanala last week. The plans were lodged under the Strategic Infrastructure Development (SID) process, which allows for the developers of very large projects, which are considered to be of national importance, to gain planning permission directly from the planning board and not from Clare County Council.

The SID process is reserved for very large projects and no Clare windfarm has ever received it initial planning through an SID. Only the € 200 million West Clare Renewable Energy project, which when completed will provide enough electricity for all of Clare and Limerick, has been the subject of an SID – and that was only after it received its initial planning through Clare County Council.

While there is no concrete documented lodged in relation with this project, the fact that it is being considered for an SID would indicate it is likely to be large in scale.

Meanwhile, Mid Clare Renewable Energy lodged plans for four windfarms at Cahermurphy in Kilmihil with Clare County Council last week. According to information lodged with Clare County Council, these windfarms would have a maximum ground to blade tip height of 131 metres. This amounts to a height of around 429 feet or well over half the height of the Cliffs of Moher at its highest point.

This planning permission is based on a previous successful planning permission granted at the same location for a smaller scale development. The planning permission also mentions improving road access to the site and the construction of a wind anemometry mast, which could itself reach up to 90 metres in height.

The largest windfarm in Ireland is located in Tipperary and has a height of 140 metres from ground to blade tip.


Sisters of Mercy f nally bid farewell to Lisdoonvarna

“They are signs that the charisms, vision and ethos of the sisters are alive and well in our community. May our worship, praise and thanksgiving give fresh heart to us all in bearing witness to Jesus and in playing our own part in building up his kingdom of mercy and redeeming love.” The Sisters of Mercy founded Mary Immaculate Secondary School in Lisdoonvarna in 1947, responding to the very serious need for education in the area. Over more than 60 years, the local convent of sisters in the parish worked to develop the school and the local area by serving as teachers, catechists, and chaplains. Mary Immaculate College is now a thriving centre of educational excellence, and has been entrusted by the Sisters of Mercy to the patronage of CEIST – Catholic Education, an Irish Schools Trust. Tributes to the decades of service undertaken by the sisters were also paid by school principal John O’Loughlin and Sister Caitlin Con neely, provincial of the western province of the Sisters of Mercy.