Housing Update – February 24th

Every Wednesday, I will update you here on the social houses that are available via Clare County Council.

As always, it is vital that you register with Clare County Council’s housing section for their Choice Based Letting site, where you are able to register your interest for a property. You can contact the housing section on (065) 6821616.


Address: 42 Turnpike Road, Ennis, Co.Clare

Details: 2-bed top floor apartment

Kitchen/Dining area; Heating – electric heating only; Bathroom – shower (not level access); Rear Garden; Shared Entrance

N.B-  Please note applicants are not to access sites or properties. Many properties are under final stages of construction, or refurbishment and not accessible or safe for viewing

Public Service Obligation must be used to sustain Post Office network

  • Recommendation has been outlined in key report
  • Motion to be presented at Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling on the government to introduce a Public Service Obligation to save the post office network from terminal decline.

Deputy Crowe has drafted a motion making the call, which has been co-signed as a joint motion by Senator Timmy Dooley and Deputies Jackie Cahill, Pádraig O’Sullivan and Joe Flaherty, and is to be presented at the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting this evening.

It follows the recent confirmation that Broadford’s post office is to permanently close after 190 years in operation; marking a significant blow for rural Clare.

“I am asking colleagues in government to consider introducing a Public Services Obligation to help sustain the Irish post office network as a matter of urgency,” said Deputy Crowe.

“The post office network is facing an existential crisis and without a funding stream to rescue it from continued loss making we will, possibly within this year, see more than half of the post offices in the country facing possible closure.

“In Broadford, the community has enjoyed having a local post office for an unbroken 190 years and they’re completely devastated that An Post senior management is now using a national consolidation plan to shut the doors on this branch forever.

“Despite a mammoth effort put in by the community in terms of putting a case forward for keeping the branch open, An Post has responded to all of this research with a copy and paste answer – not even on letterhead, but by email.

“That’s treating the community with disdain and it’s not the way this should be playing out in its final hours.

“That said, there’s still a battle to be fought here and I’m more than up for the task of doing so, along with others in the county.

“The much-publicised Grant Thornton report into the future of the post office network recommended that a PSO costing in the region of €17m per annum could sustain the network in its current form.

“I think this amounts to small money when you consider the immense benefit of the post office network throughout the country, but particularly in rural areas which are constantly being left behind.

“As a country, we need to do some soul searching and ask ourselves a simple question – do we place value on this service that’s a backbone to rural life?

“Covid has reminded us that our dependency on our local services is as important as ever and for that reason it’s an absolutely retrograde step and short-sighted move to allow post offices to shut their doors for good.”


Department of Transport outlines three options for Shannon Chair appointment

  • Minister must engage with stakeholders in region
  • Critical to get it right this time around


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has received confirmation from Department of Transport officials that three options are on the table for how the process of appointing a new chair of Shannon Group will proceed.

Option 1 would see the second placed candidate appointed; option 2 would involve starting the entire process again while the third and final option would be to engage with stakeholders in the region before proceeding.

“I have strongly made the point to the Minister and to his officials at today’s Oireachtas Transport Committee meeting that we need to go down the route of the third option here,” said Deputy Crowe.

“Since last week’s fiasco, I’ve been contacted by a lot of stakeholders in Clare and right around the region, who are anxious that things slow down a little bit in terms of the appointment of a replacement.

“The role of Shannon Airport is pivotal and if we get this wrong again, it sets the airport back significantly when it is facing its greatest crisis.

“We desperately need somebody in place who understands the importance of Shannon, who gets aviation and who can drive on and promote the airport and get it back on an upward trajectory.

“It’s important too to remember that this individual will have a lot more responsibility than just managing the airport – this job will cover the siezeable commercial property portfolio that Shannon Group commands and also the heritage sites.

“I will again be encouraging Minister Eamon Ryan to consult with elected representatives, the business leaders in the region, our tourism experts and the chambers of commerce about how to proceed.

“All of these stakeholders have best interests of Shannon at heart and it would be good for him to do temperature check in the Midwest region as to what kind of individual those on the ground want to see appointed.”


Work on Ennistymon school amalgamation to begin by Q2 2021

  • Will end uncertainty facing locals there
  • 30-month timeframe outlined


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed confirmation by the Minister for Education Norma Foley that work on the long-awaited amalgamation of secondary schools in Ennistymon is expected to commence by the second quarter of the year.

In response to a parliamentary question tabled by Deputy Crowe, the Minister has confirmed that the project is at an advanced stage of the tendering process and a preferred bidder has been identified.

“This is very welcome news for parents, pupils and teachers alike in Ennistymon and the surrounding communities,” said Deputy Crowe.

“Last September, we heard the welcome news that the amalgamation had moved to tender stage, the last key stage before construction, but no timeline had been given.

“I’ve now been assured by Minister Foley that, subject to no issues arising during the balancing of the tender process, work should be able to commence in the second quarter of the year.

“This project has an estimated timeframe of 30 months to completion meaning, all going well, the amalgamated school should be completed by December 2023.

“At long last, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I’m continuing to liaise with Minister Foley on this and am working closely with my colleague, Councillor Shane Talty, to see it over the line.

“I look forward to visiting the site this summer when hopefully our restrictions have lifted and work can commence in earnest.”

Cllr Talty added “This is a project that has been bedevilled by delays and false dawns for over 30 years and it’s wonderful for the community to see that construction can shortly finally commence and it’s nearing delivery.”


Funding announced for research into pyrite issues

  • Large number of Clare homes impacted
  • €200,000 to be invested in research


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed the announced of a €200,000 research programme into legacy issues of defective concrete blocks and pyritic hardcore.

The issue has been prominent in Clare and in other counties and has left devastated homeowners who are dealing with the issues caused by the defective materials used on their homes.

This research will support evidence-based decision making for policymakers and standardisation bodies and will lead to a greater understanding of the effects of pyrite and mica in construction products and potentially avoid future adverse effects in buildings.

“I’m delighted to see that Minister Darragh O’Brien has provided this funding to formally look into the causes behind these worrying issues,” said Deputy Crowe.

“This is a major problem in Co. Clare and I’ve been to see a number of homes directly effected by defective building materials so I know first hand both how serious the building problems are and how utterly devastating it is to homeowners who have borrowed hundreds of thousands for their family homes.

“I’m continuing to work with effected homeowners in Clare to ensure that a remediation scheme specific to our county can be put in place.

“In order for this scheme to be established, data needs to be submitted to government relating to the prevalence of the problem in the county.

“Clare County Council will be submitting a sample report on a number of homes in the county and this should hopefully pave the way to the owners of all defective homes being provided with funding to help them address the problems.

“The fund announced today will help to expand on the scientific knowledge relating to these defective materials and I hope some of this research will be based in Clare and the Midwest region, where the problem is prevalent.”


Housing Update – February 17th

Every Wednesday, I will update you here on the social houses that are available via Clare County Council.

As always, it is vital that you register with Clare County Council’s housing section for their Choice Based Letting site, where you are able to register your interest for a property. You can contact the housing section on (065) 6821616.


Address: 9 Cross, Cross Village, Co.Clare

Details: 3-bed terraced bungalow

Kitchen/Dining area; Sitting Room; Heating – Oil heating only – No stove or fireplace; Accessible bathroom

N.B-  Please note applicants are not to access sites or properties. Many properties are under final stages of construction, or refurbishment and not accessible or safe for viewing

Tourism Oversight Group recommendations must be implemented

  • First report of group makes key recommendations
  • Future of tourism sector at stake


Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Tourism and Aviation Cathal Crowe has welcomed the recommendations of the first report of the Recovery Oversight Group for Tourism.

The group, appointed by Minister Catherine Martin in December, has made its first report back to the Department of Tourism, with a number of key areas which its members believe require urgent attention.

“I fully welcome the recommendations contained in this report,” said Deputy Crowe.

“The experts involved in this group have called for both the CRSS and EWSS to be extended; for the rates waiver to be continued and for the 9% VAT rate for tourism to be kept in place until 2025, among a number of other recommendations.

“It’s vital now that we listen to what they have come out and said.

“Although all the measures to keep the tourism sector buoyant at this time are costly to the state, it makes sense that they should continue – because simply put, the alternative is to stand back and watch the sector collapse, resulting in a huge amount of other pressures on the state’s social welfare system

“We’ve now been living with the Covid-19 pandemic for a full year.

“In this time, we have seen the tourism sector reach a rock bottom point but – crucially – also enjoy a reasonably healthy summer season, with plenty of domestic tourism, which we need to focus on again.

“We also need to acknowledge that the tourism sector has a vast supply chain. A hotel in Clare, or anywhere in Ireland, may have a hundred or so on payroll but the same hotel sustains local butchers, bakers, farmers, dairy suppliers, launderettes and so on.

“In parts of rural Clare, tourism businesses are the only local source of income for a lot of people – so many of our teenagers and young adults start out in these businesses and fund their education through that income.

“We need to acknowledge that money in tourism circulates better than probably most sectors in our economy.

“As Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Tourism, I will be lobbying for as many of these supports as possible to remain in place and for the oversight group’s recommendations to be taken on board and implemented.”


€25.2 million allocated for Clare’s regional and local roads in 2021

  • Bulk of funding will go towards road improvements
  • €4m ringfenced for Shannon Crossing


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed the allocation of €25,266,904 in roads funding for Clare in the 2021 investment programme for regional and local roads.

The €555m national funding package will allow approximately 3,100kms of roads to be maintained and 2,450kms to be strengthened.

“This funding will mark a significant investment in the roads infrastructure in Clare,” said Deputy Crowe.

“Some €11.2m will go towards restoration and improvements on the county’s regional and local roads – there is a vast network of these once you come off the dual carriageway or the motorway and drive into rural Clare and they provide essential connectivity not only for those who live in these areas but also for tourists, when we can welcome them to our county again.

“The 2021 allocation marks an increase of almost a million on last year’s figure and though it’s still a million short of the 2019 figure, it’s most welcome to see it on an upward trajectory again.

“I’m also very pleased to see certain sections of the funding ringfenced for specific projects.

“A total of €4m will go towards the Shannon Crossing project – this in total is expected to cost in the region of €69m and will see the new Shannon River Crossing, Killaloe By-Pass and upgrade of the Ballina to Birdhill R494 road.

“I hope that we see work commence on this by summer.

“€100,000 has been allocated for works on Henchy’s Cross on the main Ennis to Tulla Road – those familiar with this section will be all too aware that it’s very difficult to see approaching cars and I hope that this funding will address that issue.

“€687,000 will be spent on upgrades to 30 bridges dotted around the county and

“It’s also important to note that these grants supplement local authorities’ own resources expenditure on regional and local road projects and do not represent the total investment in our county for the year – but this financing will play a huge role in ensuring that the network of roads here is up to scratch.”


Phase 1 of Limerick Northern Distributor Road finally given go-ahead

  • Minister Eamon Ryan confirms news
  • Long-awaited project can now proceed


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed confirmation from Minister Eamon Ryan that his department has given the green light to Phase 1 of the Limerick Northern Distributor Road and the project can finally proceed.

The news brings an end to a significant amount of doubt over the future of the entire project in recent weeks, which has been 12 years in the making.

“I’m delighted that Minister Ryan confirmed on Limerick’s Live 95fm Limerick Today programme that Phase 1 of this long-awaited project can finally go ahead,” said Deputy Crowe.

“This ends weeks of recent uncertainty and alarm in the locality that this road, despite 12 years of public consultation and preparatory works may not take place

“I’m grateful that Minister Ryan has taken time to consider the merits of Phase 1 of this project and that it can now proceed immediately, and a contractor is in place so construction could very realistically begin this side of the summer

“Already, there is a causeway built along the Coonagh to Caherdavin stretch of the roadway, comprised of large boulders with an earth embankment.

“There is already an extensive network of drainage of sluice gates in place and the entire corridor from Coonagh as far as Meelick has already been fenced off.

“The road will incorporate approximately 10km of new footpath and 10km of new cycleway and it will open up South-East Clare to new opportunities, also alleviate traffic problems in South Clare and the north suburbs of Limerick City.

“In all of my years as a councillor, I attended briefing sessions and meetings relating to Phase 1 of this road and a lot of work has been undertaken in partnership with local community over the years.

“It would have been wrong for landowners and homeowners nearby to have seen this project pulled at the eleventh hour so thankfully, that concern is no longer there for them.

“At last week’s Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting, I joined with my colleague Willie O’Dea in tabling a motion calling for this road to progress.

“Our motion got full backing of the party colleagues and it resulted in the Taoiseach contacting Minister Ryan directly to make this call.

“I think people in South Clare will breathe a sigh of relief knowing that years of uncertainty will now end and this project will begin in earnest.

“The opportunities with this are endless and it’s now vital that both Clare and Limerick councils engage proactively with residents along the corridor of Phase 2 of this road so that their concerns can be listened to and some certainty can also be found for them.”


Two vaccination centres on the horizon for Clare

  • Radisson Blu to operate as major vax centre
  • West County in Ennis also in the works


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed the news that two significant Covid-19 vaccination centres are planned for Co. Clare.

On top of the news that the Radisson Blu Hotel on the Ennis Road near Limerick will be used as a major centre, Treacy’s West County Hotel in Ennis is also expected to come on stream as a centre.

“I understand that HSE officials are examining the Radisson, near my home in Meelick, this week to see what work needs to be done to get it ready to operate as a vaccination centre,” said Deputy Crowe.

“This is a hugely significant step as this would be a large distribution centre where all those living in south and east Clare can be vaccinated in accordance with the government plans.

“I am hopeful that we will see this centre up and running by the end of this month.

“On top of that, Treacy’s West County Hotel in Ennis is also to be utilised as a vaccination centre, which is welcome news for those in the county town and its surrounds, as well as those in west and north Clare, who are too far from the Radisson to travel for vaccines.

“Plans for this centre are not as advanced as the Radisson but I will liaise with the HSE and Health Minister to expedite this as quickly as possible.

“I believe there will also be smaller centres where GPs will be able to administer the injections once we reach mass distribution too so I am confident that there will be plenty of options for people to get vaccinated in Clare.”