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West Clare man put on continuing bail

A WEST Clare man who was the subject of a European Arrest Warrant has appeared in court in Ennis, having returned to Ireland from the UK.

Terry Doyle (34), with an address at Overdale Road, Quinton, Birmingham, UK, is accused of assault- ing Brendan Naughton causing him harm, at Moore Street, Kilrush, on August 17, 2003.

A bench warrant was issued at Ennis Circuit Court in April 2008, after he failed to appear. A European Arrest Warrant was subsequently issued. This was executed in the UK in December. Mr Doyle was arrested a number of weeks ago in the UK and returned voluntarily to Ireland just days before Christmas.

He arrived into Shannon airport from Birmingham on December 23. That evening, he was brought before a special sitting of Ennis District Court, where bail was granted. He then re-appeared in court last Wednesday.

A number of bail conditions were imposed, including that the accused reside with his sister at an address in Kildysart; that he sign on daily at Ennis Garda Station and that an independent surety of € 7,500 be lodged.

At Ennis District Court last Wednesday, Mr Doyle was remanded on continuing bail and his case was adjourned to Ennis Circuit Court later this month.

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High praise for St Joseph’s centre

ANOTHER successful year in St. Joseph’s Education Centre, Ennis, has been celebrated with the raising of the green school flag for excellence in environmental and ecological achievement.

Over 3,500 centres of education in Ireland now have the flag but St. Joseph’s is only the second among 30 Traveller training centres to gain the accolade.

An Taisce’s Green Schools Travel Education Officer, Roisín Garvey told students “achieving the flag was clear evidence of everyone’s real pride in taking care of creation which was intended by God in the first place to be cared for, not destroyed”.

The flag was formally raised by the chairman of the National Association of Traveller Training Centres, Martin Ward of Tuam, former mayor of the town council there.

Director of the St Joseph’s Centre, Brian Crossan said he was “very proud of all the great work ongoing there”, adding “we are living in times of great change and uncertainty, so it’s important to stay positive and to influence that over which they had control”.

The centre was developing new programmes and a great atmosphere plus a fine work ethic prevailed throughout.

The centre had a proud tradition over its 36 years, one of the best latest developments being the high number of males taking courses there.

Mayor Christy Curtin emphasised that “Traveller culture was very much part of Irish traditions and I’m always pleased to see how it was maintained and enhanced in St Joseph’s which was an intrinsic undertaking of Co Clare Vocational Education Committee with which I had been a teacher for many years in its community colleges.”

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Chamber president calls for co-operation

CLARE will have to create its own luck and its own jobs in 2011 according to the incoming President of the Ennis Chamber of Commerce.

‘The most patriotic thing anyone can do for the county or the country is to create a job,” John Dillane told The Clare People .

John is calling for a special meeting to set up a group which will “involve all the stakeholders in the county. The council, the development agencies, the business people – everyone. And this group should have as its aim job creation to get this county back on its feet. We need to get off our backsides and do it for ourselves and every single person in the country needs to get involved in that.”

Mr Dillane said that according to PLATO, the organisation which supports small businesses, there are 800,000 people working in 270,000 SME’s across the counntry.

‘I’m calling on any companies that have some money in their pockets to come together and be part of this organisation for Clare. We can make a difference, we can employ more people and we have to wake up and cop on to ourselves. There’s no reason why we can’t start a movement in Clare that will turn things around for this county.”

Mr Dillane, who is proprietor of Banner Motors, says that in the coming year the “red carpet should be rolled out for anyone who is employing people”.

In his own capacity as the new President of the Chamber, Mr Dillane says he hopes to motivate people in the county to get more people back in the workforce and to persuade consumers to support their own and spend their money in the Banner.

He said there also needs to be greater recognition of what is being done by Banner county employees.

“There are business people in this county employing people and not paying themselves any wages because they don’t want to have to let staff go. That is a fact.”

“If you create one job, that creates .6 of another job. So a small company employing two people makes it possible for one other person to be in employment.

Mr Dillane is appealing to business owners and other groups in Clare to “put all our differences aside, Yes, people in business have competitors but this is about the survival and growth of business and employment in the county. If you have people at work, you have people spending money and that’s good for everybody. It’s just common sense and if anyone wants to put their money where their mouth is and make recovery a reality in Clare, I’m asking them to contact me through the Chamber of Commerce.”

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Lees Road charges criticised

PLANS to introduce a new system of charges at the Lees Road sports and amenity facility outside Ennis are likely to be met with some opposition at today’s meeting of Ennis Town Council.

Charges already apply for teams using astro turf facilities, playing pitches, dressing rooms and the recently developed synthetic running track.

Under proposed new byelaws for use of the cross-country track as outlined last month by the council, clubs will be charged € 40 per hour, individuals will be charged € 2 per hour while a daily rate of € 200 will apply in the case of large events.

Local sports clubs have criticised these proposals, claiming they unfairly impose an extra charge on players and athletes who are already charged for use of facilities at Lees Road.

Ennis councillor Johnny Flynn (FG) is calling on the council not to change the “current non-charging for the use of the cross-country track for various reasons such as fairness, inability to police a charge, etc.”

In another motion submitted to today’s council meeting, Cllr Paul O’Shea (Lab) will also call for charges not to be imposed and urges the council to erect lighting in the environ.

However the council says the charges are being proposed in the interests of “fairness and consistency”.

According to figures contained in the council’s budget, the combined cost of operating park pitches and open spaces, along with service support costs, is estimated to total just over € 1.1 million in 2011.

In a statement last month, the council said, “investment in the provision, maintenance and management of the Lees Road facility has been very significant.

“Funding for the ongoing operation must be funded from local sources.”

The statement continued, “It is considered reasonable that those using the facility would contribute towards the costs arising.”

After years of intensive lobbying from local campaigners, the Ennis Sports Development Committee, Lees Road was officially opened in June 2005 by the then Minister for Sport John O’Donoghue.

Totalling a cost of € 4.9m, the project was funded through a loan of € 3.6 million and a Sports Capital Grant of € 1.6 million.

Clare County Council acquired the land on which the facility is now based, in the early ‘90s.

Proposals for the provision of five pitches were set out in 1994.

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Killeen says March election

IT NOW seems unlikely that the voters of Clare will not be asked to turn out for a General Election before January or February, as The Green Party had promised before Christmas.

That was the message from Clare TD and Minister for Defense Tony Killeen who said over the weekend that the General Election is now unlikely to take place before March.

This is to give time for the Financial Bill to pass through the Dáil, a process which could take more than two months to complete. Once the Financial Bill is successfully through the Dáil and the Dáil is dissolved by President Mary McAleese, it will take at least one month for an election to take place.

“It would seem unlikely to me that the election would come before March,” said Minister Killeen, who also raised the possibility of hosting a referendum on the future of the Seanad at the same time as the General election.

“In the kind of time scale that is envisioned for the Finance Bill it would seem to be to be possible [to host the Seanad referendum] but I am not aware that it has been considered yet.”

Meanwhile, Labour yesterday has confirmed that they will be calling for the abolition of the Seanad as part of their programme for government.

It is also understood that behind the scenes talks have taken place between Fianna Fáil and the Green Party and both side of the coalition are said to be receptive to the idea of getting rid of the Seanad.

The Green Party said two months ago there should be a general election held before the end of January. However, they have since cooled towards the idea and hope to push legislation through in the coming months

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Gardaí maintain the peace at Christmas

AMONG the holiday heroes who keep the county on track are the boys and girls in blue.

In Clare, gardaí worked round the clock for the entire period, with more than 30 gardaí manning the station in Ennis at any one time and three times that many covering the entire 24 hours of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, St Stephen’s Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

In Killaloe, there were between 15 and 20 dedicated members on duty for the entire festive period and other stations had similar rotas. And the need for Gardaí to give up their holiday days in pursuit of keeping the peace was proved when the activity for the period between Christmas Eve and Sunday was reviewed.

The members manned 26 checkpoints across the county, made a total of 63 arrests, dealt with four missing persons – who were all thankfully found – and were called to deal with a number of sudden deaths, none of which are now being treated as suspicious.

They also attended road traffic accidents and mounted checks for speeding and dangerous driving as well as drink driving. They made a total of ten arrests on suspicion of drink driving and of the 34 arrests made in Ennis, 17 were under the Public Order Act.

According the Gardaí nationally, drink driving arrests are down so far and drivers are becoming more compliant with staying within the limits when they intend to get behind the wheel.

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US tourist dollars set to return as enquiries rise

SHANNON region tourism providers are hoping for a much-needed injection of dollars after it was revealed that enquiries from US tour operators looking at holidays here are up ten per cent.

But there’s work to be done, Clare representative with the Hotel’s Federation, Michael Vaughan says, in the wake of figures which show visitors to Ireland are down one million on the numbers that came here in 2009.

Mr Vaughan said that bringing the visitors back to Clare “relies on us getting our product and our price right but for overseas visitors it’s also reliant on us getting links to markets through Shannon airport”.

Mr Vaughan said that flights between Ireland and a main German airport are a priority for the region. “We have so many attractions which that markets wants: cycling, boating, walking and we really need a link so they can come here.”

Mr Vaughan said that while domestic tourism in the region “held its own” last year, the lucrative UK market took a serious dive.

“The UK market has really dropped. Its possibly because people there have stopped taking a second holiday and are just taking one sun holiday. Ireland is seen as being too like the UK if people are cutting back.”

But there are some heartening signs, with US tour operator enquiries up 10 per cent on last year.

“A big question for next year is whether Shannon Development will find funding to promote the region. It seems as though the € 2.5 million Shannon Catchment fund is gone – it has just been absorbed into Tourism Ireland.”

He added that if “every tourism interest in the region plays its part, we will survive and grow”.

The market has come a long way in working on the perception of value for money which had dogged Irish tourism in the Celtic Tiger years.

“We need to do what we do very well. Giving people a great welcome and value for money packages and experiences,” said Michael.

The total number of overseas visits to Ireland in 2010 was down by 16 per cent on the previous year, according to the new report.

The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation says it is hopeful that visitor numbers will increase in the coming year. The end of year review from the ITIC estimates that 5.5 million people travelled to Ireland in the last 12 months, down one million on the 2009 total.

In the last three years, annual revenue from overseas visitors has declined by € 1.7 billion. Tourist numbers from Britain have fallen sharply in the same period.