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Clare bids to attract more French visitors

The Embassy of Ireland in Paris was the venue for a recent B2B tourism event, Irlande à Paris. Organised by Tourism Ireland, the networking event involved some 70 leading French group travel operators meeting, and doing business with, 18 Irish tourism companies, including Shannon Heritage. Monica MacLaverty, Tourism Ireland’s manager of Southern Europe, said, “We are delighted that so many key decision-makers from the group travel sector in France took the time to meet with our tourism partners from Ireland, to hear about our fantastic tourism offering and the many opportunities for group travel to County Clare and the West of Ireland.” France is one of the top four markets for tourism to the island of Ireland and 2016 was the fourth record-breaking year in a row for French visitors to Ireland. Last year was the best year ever for tourism from France to the island of Ireland, when with more than 500,000 French visitors.

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Voting for 16-year-olds delayed

The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) has expressed disappointment that a Bill to extend the vote to young people aged 16 and 17 was stymied on Wednesday after the Seanad voted 29-21 in favour of an amendment to delay consideration of the Bill until December 2017. The National Youth Council represents organisations working with over 380,000 young people nationwide. James Doorley, NYCI deputy director said, “Democracy delayed is democracy denied and with this amendment the Government has kicked the can down the road on this issue yet again. The timing is particularly frustrating, as losing nine months will make it very difficult for any change in legislation to be in effect in time for the 2019 Local and European Elections.” The Electoral (Amendment) Voting at 16 Bill 2016, sponsored by Senators Warfield, Ruane and Mac Lochlainn, would have seen voting rights extended to young people aged 16 and 17 in local and European Elections. According to Mr Doorley this …

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Ibec concern for agri-food sector

Speaking after the UK triggered Article 50, Food Drink Ireland (FDI), the Ibec group representing the food and drink sector, today (Wednesday) called for agri-food to be a top priority for the Irish Government in the forthcoming negotiations. Paul Kelly, director of Food Drink Ireland, said, “The agri-food sector exports €4.1bn of food and drink to the UK and accounts for 43,000 Irish jobs, Agri-food is the Irish sector most exposed to trade disruption, and the Irish Government must do all within its control to ensure minimum impact to the free flow of goods. Discussions on the future EU-UK relationship must be commenced early in the negotiating process and must ensure: Free and unfettered access to the UK market for Irish business. An agreement that takes account of the special case of the all-island economy, ensuring that the highly integrated supply chains can continue to operate with free movement of goods and services, Transitional arrangements, of sufficient length, for businesses …

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Dáil protest on disabilities issues

On this Thursday, Senator John Dolan and members of the disability community will hold a protest outside Leinster House to highlight the Government’s failure to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) – 10 years after a previous government signed the convention on March 30, 2007. In spite of many commitments from successive governments this groundbreaking convention has not been ratified and Ireland is the only EU country not to have done so. Speaking today (Tuesday), Senator Dolan said, “It is very important that people with disabilities are afforded every opportunity to attend this protest on Thursday. I have contacted management and unions at Irish Rail and Bus Éireann urging them to find a way of ensuring that the current dispute does not deny people with disabilities access to public transport on Thursday. For many people with disabilities public transport is their only means of transport and large numbers will want to attend this …

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Tragedy on our roads

CRUSHEEN teenager Delia Keary has become the fourth Clare person to die as a result of road traffic accidents in recent days. The 18 year old had been a passenger in a car which collided with a truck at Wards Cross near Abbeyfeale on Friday evening. 19 year old Gary Kelly from Ennis died at the scene while Delia was taken to University Hospital, Limerick for treatment. However Gardai have confirmed that she passed away on Saturday night. Newcastle West Gardai are investigating the incident and they have appealed to witnesses to contact them on 069 20650, The Garda Confidential Telephone Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station. Also the funeral takes place on Monday of Clare native Paul Hannon, who lost his life after he was involved in a collision with a car while cycling in Dublin on Friday morning. While last Thursday, three year old Estlin Wall was laid to rest after she had died following a …

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‘Severe’ lack of supply in housing

The price of the average three-bed semi in Co Clare has risen 3.1% to €165,500 in the last three months, according to a national survey carried out by Real Estate Alliance. The REA Average House Price Survey concentrates on the actual sale price of Ireland’s typical stock home, the three-bed semi, giving an up-to-date picture of the property market in towns and cities countrywide for the first three months of the year. “The lack of supply is severe,” said Liam Browne from REA Paddy Browne in Ennis. “There is high demand from owner-occupiers and investors in the town centre, which will hopefully lead to new developments both in the short and long term.” Property prices in the county have risen by 13.8% in the past year, the survey has found.The average semi-detached house nationally now costs €209,944, the Q1 REA Average House Price Survey has found – a rise of 3.5% on the Q4 2016 figure of €202,926. Overall, the …

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Council to get all creative

CLARE County Council and the Creative Ireland national team are to host an open meeting on Thursday, at the Temple Gate Hotel at 7.30pm. On the evening, they will share details about the Creative Ireland programme and look at exploring opportunities to increase access, engagement and collaboration in the local arts and creative industries. Enabling creativity in every community is a core pillar of the Creative Ireland programme, an ambitious five-year initiative, from 2017 to 2022, which aims to place culture and creative communities at the centre of creative policy. Creative Ireland is to lead on the development of a dedicated culture and creativity plan for the county, based on the premise that participation in cultural activity drives personal and collective creativity, with significant implications for individual and societal wellbeing. This year will see a special focus on children and young people, with the specific objective of fast-tracking the Charter for Arts in Education, which will significantly increase access and …

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Approval for Gort water plant upgrade

Irish Water has been granted planning permission for essential upgrade works to the Gort Water Treatment Plant to ensure a consistently high water quality for local homes and businesses. Tender documents are currently being prepared and are expected to be advertised before the summer, with a contractor due to be appointed and work to commence on site before the end of the year. The existing Gort WTP produces up to 1.4MLD per day and the upgrade works are necessary to optimise and strengthen current plant operations to ensure a continuing supply of quality treated water to Gort town. Explaining the benefits of the project, Laura Heneghan, capital programmes lead, said, “The project is needed to strengthen and reinforce existing processes at the plant to ensure consistency in the quality of water supplied to the town of Gort. This project is needed to ensure drinking water is provided in compliance with all of the regulations that ensure that consumers on the …

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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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Three year old Estlin Wall Loses Fight for Life

Three year old Estlin Wall, the daughter of Vincent Wall and Amy Dutil Wall, lost her fight for life this weekend following a car crash near Inagh on Wednesday morning last. Her father Vincent Wall from Ennistymon, who is the youngest brother of Steve Wall of The Walls and The Stunning, is still in a serious condition in a Dublin hospital having suffered brain injuries following the 9am crash. In the wake of the tragedy Steve Wall has issued an appeal for support on his Facebook page. “Last Wednesday morning my youngest brother Vincent and his almost four year old daughter Estlin were involved in a terrible car crash in County Clare. Vincent is in hospital in Dublin with massive brain injuries and still hasn’t opened his eyes. At around 9pm last night [Saturday] little Estlin’s life support was turned off and she passed away in her mother Amy’s arms, who is also nursing their 12 week old baby Mannix. “It’s a …

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