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Austin Hobbs

LEO delivers jobs in Clare

A net total of 173 new jobs were delivered in 2016 by small businesses in Clare that have been supported by Local Enterprise Office Clare. The figure is the fourth highest of the country’s 31-strong Local Enterprise Office network, according to the results of the latest LEO annual jobs survey published by Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Minister for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen The results, compiled by Enterprise Ireland, show the total number of people employed in small businesses supported by Local Enterprise Office Clare stood at 1,110 (full-time and part-time) at the end of last year. Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council,Bill Chambers commented, “The strong jobs performance by Local Enterprise Office Clare clients during 2016 is extremely welcome and testament to the strong entrepreneurial activity ongoing throughout the county. The figures also underline the considerable role now played by Local Enterprise Office Clare in providing financial, information and training supports to entrepreneurs and micro enterprises.”

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€2.25m boost for information skills learning

A €2.25 million injection to boost Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Skills development, with additional summer camps for second level students being developed, as well as up to 700 additional places on ICT courses has been announced. The Higher Education Authority (HEA) will write to higher education institutions to seek proposals for three calls: · Additional ICT Summer Camps for second level students, · Additional undergraduate places on core level 8 full-time courses · A call for full-time level 9 MSc computing courses. Making the announcement, Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton said, “A goal of the Action Plan for Education is to build stronger bridges between education and the wider community, support learners to make informed career choices and enhance our capacity to meet national and regional skills needs. “We want to give student’s access to higher education people and spaces to help stimulate their interest and understanding of what computing and ICT is all about. Through summer …

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Tributes to the late Martin McGuinness

The President Michael D Higgins has led tributes to the former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, who died early this morning. Mr McGuinness, a former IRA leader in Derry, emerged as a key Sinn Féin political figure in the North and played a significant role in the peace process and forging the Good Friday Agreement. “The world of politics and the people across this island will miss the leadership he gave, shown most clearly during the difficult times of the peace process, and his commitment to the values of genuine democracy that he demonstrated in the development of the institutions in Northern Ireland,” the President said. He added, “As President of Ireland, I wish to pay tribute to his immense contribution to the advancement of peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland – a contribution which has rightly been recognised across all shades of opinion. “Our paths have crossed many times in recent years at official events, including most …

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Warning on wildfire risks

Farmers, landowners and anyone enjoying the recreational opportunities of our countryside have been warned to behave responsibly and within the law with regard to lighting fires. Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, Andrew Doyle has reminded farmers, forest owners, forest managers and the public of the need to be alert to the risk of wildfires over the coming months. “An inherent risk of fire exists during spring months on certain types of land, particularly in upland areas and that high fire risk conditions can be expected over the coming spring and summer months, when weather conditions dictate,” stated the minister. Recalling the major wildfires in recent years that destroyed or damaged property, including farmland and forests, he added, “Such fires directly endanger people’s homes and property and destroy valuable habitats and tourism resources. Furthermore, they place enormous strain on the emergency services and put the lives of rural dwellers and …

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Council promotes Clare in New York

Representatives of Clare County Council met with senior executives from Tourism Ireland in New York over  St Patrick’s weekend. They were briefed on Tourism Ireland’s extensive promotional programme for 2017, which is in full swing right now. Tourism Ireland aims to build on the success of 2016, which was the fourth record-breaking year in a row for Irish tourism from the United States. Tourism Ireland is prioritising North America this year, as a market which offers a strong return on investment, in terms of holiday visitors and expenditure. Our important ‘culturally curious’ and ‘social energiser’ audiences are being targeted with distinctive vacation experiences, events and special offers tailored to their interests. Tourism Ireland is creating ‘stand out’ for the island of Ireland in the US, highlighting experiences like the Wild Atlantic Way, the Causeway Coastal Route and Ireland’s Ancient East. Promotions aim to grow travel to the regions of Ireland, during the shoulder and off-peak seasons. With the recent announcement …

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Bin storage blights Ennis street art

A work of art in Ennis is being “defaced and disrespected” by being used as a location for storing commercial bins, it has been claimed. The mural artwork is situated close to the Friary and the tourist office and depicts a woman surrounded by colourful butterflies. However, the mural is being obscured by bins regularly being left in front. The location of commercial bins is something that has been of concern to both businesses in Ennis and the local authority in recent years. Plans are now underway by Clare County Council to remove commercial bins from the town centre, apart from collection times, which they say will deal with the blocking of the mural. A concerned member of the public, who contacted The Clare Champion, said, “I recently read about the vandalism of the work of art on Barrack Street and that there was outcry locally about what had been done. That was a terrible act of vandalism but, equally, …

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EU research funding for Shannon SME

A SHANNON company is set to receive a share of €10 million in funding from the EU’s scientific research fund. AltraTech has been named among five small Irish companies with big ideas awarded with the funding to help get their ideas to market. The company has developed a portable battery-operated kit for the quick detection of the HIV virus. It is expected that the inexpensive, disposable kit could dramatically improve HIV management worldwide. The five Irish SMEs will receive EU grants of up to €2.5 million each from the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Phase 2 funding. The grant is for innovative small firms to get ideas from the lab to the market and help generate growth and jobs in Europe. Through the funding, the SMEs can finance innovation activities such as demonstration, testing, piloting, scaling up and miniaturisation, in addition to developing a mature business plan for their product. The companies involved in the projects will also benefit from 12 …

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German delegation visits Ennis

A group of more than 20 people from Langenfeld, located in North-Rhine-Westphalia between Düsseldorf and Cologne, have travelled to the county capital to participate in the 2017 Ennis St Patrick’s Day Parade today (Friday) Since the Irish Embassy in Berlin first facilitated contact between Ennis and Langenfeld in 2009, relations have been strengthening between both towns in the areas of culture and youth affairs. Ennis and Langenfeld became official twinning partners in 2013. Langenfeld is already twinned with Senlis (France), Gostynin (Poland), Montale (Italy) and Batangas City (Philippines). Mayor of Ennis Ann Norton; Leas cathaoirleach of Clare County Council Paul Murphy and Councillor Michael Begley, chair of the twinning committee, welcomed the delegation to Áras Contae an Chláir in Ennis.

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Man in custody after drugs find in Ennis

Gardaí targeting the sale and supply of controlled drugs in Ennis have seized cocaine and cannabis following a planned operation today (Thursday). Shortly after midday, members of Clare Drugs Divisional Unit discovered a significant quantity of cocaine, with an estimated value in excess of €60,000, and cannabis, with an estimated value in excess of €20,000, pending analysis, in an open area near Clonmore Road. Follow up searches and investigation are currently taking place and a man in his 30s has been arrested and is currently in custody at Ennis Garda Station under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking ) Act 1996.

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Newmarket man going green in Finland

Tourism Ireland’s annual Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick, has begun in earnest – kicking off the organisation’s major first half promotional drive to grow overseas tourism in 2017. The annual initiative sees a host of major landmarks around the world turn green for St Patrick’s Day. In Tampere in Finland, James Lenihan, originally from Newmarket-on-Fergus, joined the ‘greening’ fun, when he and his friends took part in the first ever ‘greened’ Irish-Finnish fishing championship. The Siilinkari lighthouse and Näsinneula observation tower provided the green backdrop.  

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