Two Clare facilities to benefit from Fáilte Ireland’s €19m investment in water activities

  • Facilities in Kilkee and Ogonnelloe among those chosen
  • Funding targets outdoor water-based activities


Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Tourism and Aviation Cathal Crowe has welcomed confirmation that two facilities in Clare are to benefit from a new Fáilte Ireland fund, targeting outdoor water-based activities.

The €19 million investment is being issued to 22 projects nationwide, including the Ballycuggaran Sports Activity Facility in Ogonnelloe and Kilkee Waterworld Activity Facilities.

“As my party’s Tourism Spokesperson, I am delighted to see two locations in Clare chosen to benefit from this funding,” said Deputy Crowe.

“We’ve all seen the rise in popularity of water-based activities in recent years and for a county like Clare, this opens up a sizeable tourist market, once Covid allows for travel once again.

“This investment will significantly improve the overall visitor experience in both of the Clare locations chosen and, I hope, will play a part in providing new business and job opportunities in the communities, particularly in rural areas and allow for an extension of the traditional tourism season beyond the summer months.

“Our magnificent Atlantic coastline is widely known around Ireland and further afield for its beauty and potential for surfing, sailing, swimming and so on but it’s hugely encouraging to see massive efforts in East Clare to lure visitors to Lough Derg and the Shannon.

“With the rise in popularity of slow tourism, there’s huge potential in this part of the county for targeting a very specific type of tourist.

“For other water-adjacent communities in the county, there’s still plenty of scope for an injection of funding, as this is Phase 1 of this scheme, due to be completed by the summer of 2022, and Phase 2 will be announced next year.

“I’m on hand to work with any community group that would be interested in preparing for an application next year.

“I look forward to seeing the fruits of the labour in both Ogonnelloe and Kilkee once this funding is issued.”


Housing Update – April 14th

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: 100 Cul na Greine, Shannon, Co.Clare

Details: 2-bed, terraced

Kitchen/Dining area; Sitting Room; Heating – Gas Heating; Shower in bath; Front Garden; Rear Garden; Private 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

Parteen wind turbine issue will escalate unless it’s removed

  • Deadline for removal has passed
  • Turbine still turning


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has warned that there will be an escalation by Clare County Council unless a controversial wind turbine erected in Parteen is removed as requested.

The developer was mandated by a planning enforcement order to remove the windmill on his property by Thursday, April 8th but this has yet to happen.

“As of now, the structure hasn’t been removed and still stands 100m tall over the surrounding village and homes,” said Deputy Crowe.

“Throughout the four-week period through which the developer was required to comply with this directive, the windmill rotated and operated on an almost continual basis which really frustrated residents.

“I have made the council aware of this and have asked them to expediently now move this dispute to its next phase, which may now involve a legal process up to and including a court case and possible a hefty fine.

“In the month since the enforcement order was issued by Clare County Council, we have seen a very positive announcement made by the ESB in terms of developing a colossal offshore windfarm along the Clare and Kerry coasts.

“I really see this as being the future of renewable energy both in Clare and the West of Ireland, with this development alone having the capacity to provide electricity to 85 percent of all Irish homes.

“We need quickly to move to an economy that’s more dependent on renewable energy but in the national rush to develop this infrastructure, we can’t install it at inappropriate locations on an ad hoc basis.

“I think that the siting of a windmill in a village centre is entirely inappropriate, owing to the scale of it and its dominance in the skyline.

“Many people in Clare struggle to obtain planning permission to build homes and often must lower the roof height in order to be granted permission – yet it’s wrong in an area that’s residential and largely made up of bungalows and dormers that a structure seven or eight times their height would be allowed to be built.

“The Parteen wind turbine is of similar height to Big Ben at Westminster in London – it’s far too large for its location.

“Going forward there’s an urgent need for the new wind energy guidelines which are at a very advanced stage and undergoing final scrutiny with the department to be formally issued to all local authorities.

“A very delicate balance has to be struck between achieving a low carbon emission economy and also not landing colossal and intrusive infrastructure on top of communities.

“The new draft guidelines crucially will include a stipulation that wind turbines should be set back at least 500m from nearby homes.

“I think that this stipulation will ensure that future wind turbines will only be developed in the most rural parts of out countryside and also increasingly on an offshore basis.

“The ticking clock has run out in Parteen and now it is imperative that Clare County Council quickly move to escalate matters so that the wind turbine there is dismantled and that the field in which it’s located is restored to its normal agricultural state in the quickest possible time.”


Shannon Masterplan must be conducted in close consultation with residents

  • Shannon has lost had too many false dawns
  • Crying out for town centre


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is urging Clare County Council to engage closely with the people of Shannon town in developing a masterplan for the town’s centre.

Though it is the second-largest town in the county in terms of population, the residents have felt forgotten about for decades, with large-scale developments going on around them despite no real town centre to speak of.

Most recently, the town suffered a blow when Ennis was granted over €4 million under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, while Shannon – the only other town in the county to apply – missed out.

Despite this, the local authority continues to work on a masterplan for Shannon town.

“I’m asking Clare County Council to have a broad public consultation process with residents of Shannon town and also the Love Shannon Group as plans to finalise a masterplan for Shannon town centre gather momentum,” said Deputy Crowe.

“This new masterplan has the potential to be a game changer for Shannon town and it’s important that the greatest stakeholders of all – that being the body of residents – have a major say in this process before it concludes.

“Clare County Council has a very ambitious vision for Shannon and this will involve putting a heart and streetscape into the town that isn’t just solely reliant on the Skycourt Shopping Centre.

“Shannon was developed as a town in the 1960s and the decades that followed. It was built in a very linear, block pattern which lent itself to the rapid development of housing and industrial units but there was less prioritisation given to retail, commercial activity and placemaking.

“Placemaking is a jargonistic term often used by planning departments and county councils but Shannon above all epitomises the need for placemaking.

“The town is crying out for more than house after house after house, followed by a shopping centre.

“It needs more civic spaces and a streetscape and a high street so that when one goes shopping in Shannon, they get a town centre experience, with small shops, cafés and nice public spaces where people can meet and congregate.

“The last number of years have proven that public money follows plans and Shannon residents were recently hugely frustrated when they saw Ennis town receive more than €4 million in Urban Regeneration and Development Funding, whereas their town lost out.

“Having a comprehensive future plan for the centre of Shannon town will position it for plenty of funding opportunities in the years ahead.

“As a TD, but moreover as someone who represented Shannon town on Clare County Council for 10 years, I know how great a community Shannon is but the people of Shannon yearn for more and they want their town, which is the second most populous town in Clare and which is a major revenue generator for Clare County Council, to get a larger slice of the proverbial cake when funding opportunities arise.

“Shannon residents very often accuse all of the public representatives in the county of speaking only of the airport and industrial estates when speaking of Shannon.

“In many ways, their criticisms can be considered fair – there’s a lot more to Shannon than the airport and factories and now is a crucial time in terms of planning for a very positive future for our county’s second town.

“When a masterplan is in place, following hopefully plenty of consultation with the community, I look forward to lobbying for public money to follow the plan.”


Transport Minister must renege on comments about cheap flights

  • Airlines need significant post-Covid boost
  • Cheap flights will be key


Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Tourism and Aviation Cathal Crowe is calling on Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to renege on comments he has made about budget flights in a post-Covid world.

Speaking to The Irish Examiner, Minister Ryan has said that €10 flights will become a thing of the past as we continue the climate fight.

While supportive of climate measures, Deputy Crowe has reacted with dismay at these comments, at a time when the aviation sector is on its knees.

“It’s absurd that there would be any talk of ending discounted flights in the post-Covid era,” said Deputy Crowe.

“Aviation is at its lowest all-time ebb and right now those who work in the tourism and aviation sectors need to hear positive talk about how this sector will be stimulated and supported in the months ahead.

“Talk of reducing climate emissions and putting an end to discounted air fares has potential undertones of hefty carbon levies for the sector and it has left many feeling both concerned and frustrated.

“Flights in and out of Ireland for the past 12 months have, in the main, only been for essential travel and in bound shipments of PPE and medical equipment but everyone dreams of a normal return to international air travel, as the vaccination rollout ramps up.

“The European Commission is devising a new regulation titled the Digital Green Certificate which should make it far easier for passengers to travel internationally as the Covid situation improves but experts in the aviation sector continue to warn us that it could take four to five years for airlines to make a full recovery to 2019 levels.

“If this is the case, which I have no reason to doubt, then any plans to burden airlines and the wider aviation sector with additional environmental levies or charges should be put on hold.

“The opposite is needed at this time. The sector needs a financial adrenaline shot and a suite of policies at both national and European level that ensures planes are back in the skies and vital connectivity is restored.

“A below-par aviation recovery would impact Ireland most of all, due to our peripheral geographic location and our high dependency on inbound and outbound traffic to North America.

“As a TD for Clare, I am particularly concerned that it has been months since any commercial flight departed or landed at Shannon Airport.

“There has been a real sense of worry in this region for many months but yet there is now an emerging hope that we would get back to some normality shortly and the announcement last week that Ryanair were committing to a summer service from Shannon to Corfu has given cause for much hope.

“I hope that Minister Eamon Ryan will reconsider some of his comments relating to bargain air fares and also hope that he will, as our Transport Minister, champion for European-wide supports for the ailing aviation sector.”


UK must not play Brexit politics with aviation block permits

  • Permits are necessary to enter country’s airspace
  • Could have serious implications if permits are stopped


Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Tourism and Aviation Cathal Crowe is calling on Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that all block permits applied for by Irish aviation companies are given the green light.

A block permit is essentially an agreement between a relevant authority and a company to allow airlines and private jets from that company to fly through the country’s airspace.

Up until recently, there had been no impediments for Irish companies seeking a British block permit but now, it is becoming an issue of serious concern for many in this country.

“I’m concerned that the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK is playing Brexit politics with the future of airlines and charter air companies,” said Deputy Crowe.

“We’re now three months on from Brexit and heretofore there has been a general understanding that permits would issue without any rigmarole to charter companies on both sides of the Irish Sea.

“So far, no British charter company has been impeded from flying in Irish airspace – they have readily been granted their permits.

“However, I have recently seen correspondence received by one charter company in Ireland which leads me to believe that the CAA in Britain is trying to frustrate matters so that a new bilateral deal between the British and Irish governments can be struck.

“They have stopped giving automatic approval to block permit applications and are instead assessing applications on a case-by-case basis and have turned down some on a whim.

“I have brought this to the attention of senior officials in the Department of Transport who assure me that talks are at a very advanced stage in terms of having a deal struck with their counterparts in Britain.

“I would ask the CAA to desist from cherry picking applications and for making political points at this very delicate time.

“Right now, everyone who works in and depends on the aviation sector wants to see a recovery in the quickest possible time.

“Not issuing permits to Irish based charter companies could have a very damaging effect in the short to medium term and it flies in the face of good neighbourly arrangements that have existed between our two countries for many decades.

“A deal between both governments and their aviation bodies needs to be struck in the quickest possible time but in that interim period, the CAA needs to continue to approve all permits applied for by Irish companies.”


New plan for Moneypoint a lifeline for West Clare

  • Offshore wind development project proposed
  • Would generate power for up to 1.5m homes


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed news that a lifeline has been thrown for Moneypoint Power Station in West Clare.

An offshore wind development project is being planned off of the coast of Clare and Kerry under a new public-private partnership between the ESB and Equinor, a Norwegian-based global energy firm.

“I’ve long held the view that offshore wind energy is a strong means by which Moneypoint Power Station’s future can be secured,” said Deputy Crowe.

“I’ve seen first-hand how such developments are much, much less visually obtrusive than onshore wind farms and therefore much less likely to ruffle the feathers of objectors.

“More importantly than that is the fact that offshore wind farms have the potential to generate more electricity at a steadier rate than their onshore counterparts, due to higher and more consistent wind speeds.

“I’ve spent months engaging with the government and with the ESB on this project and I am so thrilled to be able to see its unveiling now.

“Crucially for West Clare is the fact that this will create in the region of 600 jobs and, should planning go through without any obstacles, this really could place Moneypoint and Clare at the centre of Ireland’s offshore wind energy future.

“The project is expected to be carried out in two phase – the first located 16km off of the Clare and Kerry coastline and the second 20km west of the first phase – the final windfarm is likely to cover an area of around 70km squared.

“We all know that coal-burning operations are on the wind-down at Moneypoint and I’ve long made the point that something needs to be looked at as an alternative or it could spell the death knell for West Clare, so I know this news will be so very, very welcome to the people of Kilrush and its surrounding communities.”

Housing Update – April 7th

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: 13 Aonach an Chlair, Clarecastle, Co.Clare

Details: 2-bed, terraced

Kitchen/Dining area; Sitting Room; Heating – Gas Heating; Shower in bath; Rear Garden; Private Entrance; Open fire heating

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



Address: 22 McHugh Villas, Ennis, Co.Clare

Details: 1-bed, terraced bungalow

Kitchen/Dining area; Heating – Electric Heating plus solid fuel stove; Accessible bathroom; Driveway; Front Garden; Rear Garden; Private 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



Address: 16 Beal an Inbhir, Kilrush, Co.Clare

Details: 3-bed, end of terrace

This 3 bedroom, 3 storey property is being made available through an Approved Housing Body, Cooperative Housing Ireland.

  • The property has 3 bedrooms, and is an end of terrace property, with 2 sets of stairs.
  • The property has three bathrooms, one with bath and the other 2 with showers.
  • Heating is provided by means of storage heating with stove located in the living room.
  • There is a large back garden, with driveway to front.

Tenants of AHBs are deemed to have their housing need met and their housing application with a local authority changes to status of an AHB tenant. Tenants of AHBs are subject to similar rules in relation to future transfers as Local Authority tenants, and need to be tenants for 2 years, with no rent or ASB concerns before applying for transfer based on an overcrowding situation, downsizing requirement, or  medical needs.


HSE’s Covid text system leading to mass confusion

  • Bulk text system being dismissed by some as scam
  • Leading to no-shows at vaccine clinics


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling on the HSE to urgently review its text alert system for Covid-19 vaccination appointments.

People have reported missing their scheduled time as they believe the text informing them of their appointment to be a scam, due to the nature of how it is issued.

“The text messages people are receiving are very casual,” said Deputy Crowe.

“They begin with ‘reply yes or no’ and in this day and age people are quite savvy to scams and phishing texts and this has been well flagged in the media, on Crimeline on RTÉ and so on.

“At any given time, there are quite a number of text scams circulating in the country and for this reason, a lot of people I believe have been put off from replying to the text and therefore have lost out on their vaccination appointment.

“One lady contacted me on Facebook after I highlighted this to say she didn’t reply to the text but nonetheless, presented herself for the vaccine at the Radisson Hotel at her scheduled time but couldn’t be vaccinated by staff because she hadn’t replied to the text – others have dismissed it completely and not attended at all.

“So the text is leading to mass confusion and in think this may, in some small way, account for the number of no-shows at the vaccination centres.

“I have been conducting my own investigation into how this is arising and it appears to me that the HSE has contracted a bulk text company to issue their messaging.

“This same company obviously has a number of other contracts, including a local auctioneering company so, for example, people who previously availed of services from this auctioneer and got a text from them are also getting texts from the same mobile number from the HSE, leading to people not trusting the legitimacy of the message.

“I’ve asked the HSE vaccination coordinating team to urgently look at devising a more formalised message or a better mechanism for announcing the schedule of vaccinations.

“I think better communication is badly needed if we are to ensure everybody gets their vaccine at the appropriate time.”


European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control should pull funding from other European agencies

  • Budget and staff numbers falling short
  • Europe lagging behind US


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling on the EU to redirect funding from other sources within its coffers to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, in an effort to up the ante in the fight to vaccinate the population.

At present, the ECDC’s budget falls well short of its equivalents elsewhere in the world, despite the centre being responsible for overseeing the bloc’s defences against infectious diseases like Covid-19.

“At the moment, we are living our lives dictated by figures and statistics from NIAC, NPHET, the HSE and so on,” said Deputy Crowe.

“The vast majority of us are happy to play our part in keeping the figures down to the best of our ability but we also need assurances that this disease is being fought by mothership Europe.

“The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control is a Stockholm-based organisation that is alarmingly small, with just 300 employees working within its walls. For comparison, our small country’s state broadcaster RTÉ has six times that number on its payroll.

“As well as its scale, it runs on annual budget of €50 million whereas its US equivalent has an annual budget of $12 billion.

“So it should come as no surprise, then, that an agency set up in the aftermath of the SARS outbreak in 2002 is finding itself rather inept 18 years on, in trying to steer every European nation through one of the most treacherous outbreaks we have faced.

“In fact, the likes of the HSE, the NHS all the national agencies across the continent are outperforming the main European body that is responsible for fighting back against viral spread of diseases.

“If you look at the European Space Agency, it has a €6.7 billion budget – that’s a budget that this year could be channelled back into public health rather than sending rockets into space, which is ordinarily a scientific exploration that I think most people would support.

“I also think EU needs to look at its expert labs and the vast scientific knowledge it has right throughout its member states and work towards the bloc having its own vaccination, its own rollout – we’re fully reliant on third parties at present and we’ve seen how AstraZenica has let us down.

“We also must look at countries like Norway – Norway is not in the bloc but time and time again has identified key strategic companies in their country over the past three decades and has become a stronghold for a number of industries.

“The bottom line is we need more money in Europe for the jabs and this must be the focus of the EU and the ECDC.”