Anonymous abuse of people on Tattle must be tackled

–                  Website allows for anonymous vitriol with no consequences

–                  Danger to people’s mental health


Clare Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe is calling for stricter regulation to be introduced around anonymised online bullying and abuse via the website Tattle.

Tattle is a forum on which threads are started relating to a specific person – often a public figure or celebrity, but also well-known community leaders – and anonymous accounts share their opinions on the person, most often negatively.

“Until very recently, I was blissfully unaware of Tattle’s existence – but when it was raised with me, and I had a look, I was disgusted by what I read,” said Deputy Crowe.

“People are, of course, entitled to their opinions and when someone is in the public eye, it means they are going to get judged but the anonymous nature of this particular forum means it gets incredibly personal incredibly quickly and there’s no consequences to this.

“What’s even more worrying is that it has progressed beyond those in the public eye and it now seems to even include anybody who has a bit of prominence in their local community.

“Very often, too, the abuse is not only directed at the person in question – but also their partners, parents or children and it’s really disgusting to see.

“This is adults on this, and they conduct themselves in a horrible way that I’ve no doubt they would never do if this wasn’t an anonymised platform.

“Much of the snarky and hateful commentary would suggest that the anonymous trolls know their target people very well – they could be ‘friends’, neighbours or colleagues – which makes it all the more worse.

Deputy Crowe continued: “Since I posted my thoughts on Tattle on social media, I’ve been contacted by multiple constituents who have fallen victim to a Tattle thread, who outlined the enormous impact this has had on their mental health.

“There’s no doubt that these anonymous keyboard warriors are present across multiple platforms – the likes of X, Instagram, etc – but Tattle is in my view much more dangerous as they’re not just throwaway comments beneath a post online; rather specific threads on people which are dedicated to ripping them apart.

“What will it take to stop the rot? What if someone takes their own life following a pile-on of hatred?

“It reminds me of the days of which – quite rightly – came under intense scrutiny following some well-known tragic incidents relating to bullying via its platform.

“The same scrutiny must now be applied to Tattle and  I think it’s time that something is done to unveil the anonymous vitriol on this forum.”


Crowe pays tribute to Cllr Pat McMahon on his retirement from politics

“Pat is a great personal friend and running mate of mine and I can’t let the opportunity past without paying tribute to him for his stellar work over the years.

As many of you will know, Pat has had a lifelong passion for Shannon Airport and would frequently table motions at council meetings about it. When I contested the 2020 General Election, Pat was one of my close confidants and mentors along with former TDs for the county Tony Killeen and Brendan Daly.

Pat has always been a very proud Newmarket-on-Fergus man, following in the footsteps of his father who served before him. We would often co-host advice clinics in the community hall in Newmarket and it was evident on those days that he was very much loved by his community and they hugely value the decades of work he has put in for them.

His term of office will run up until next June and I have no doubt that he’ll continue his sterling work for his locality until then.”


Certainty needed on future of Ennis town bus service

  • NTA casts doubt over plans but Minister Chambers committed
  • Things remain positive but certainty required


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling for certainty to be given as soon as possible on the advancement of an Ennis town bus service.

The service has been committed to already but the NTA has cast some doubt over the plans, pointing to funding difficulties.

Deputy Crowe arranged for Minister of State at the Department of Transport Jack Chambers to meet with officials in Clare this morning to discuss the matter.

“I was extremely concerned yesterday afternoon when I received an email from the National Transport Authority, outlining what they called a funding uncertainty for 2024 which means that – in their view – they are somewhat inhibited from advancing the procurement phase of a new Ennis town bus service,” said Deputy Crowe.

“I immediately contacted my colleague, Minister Jack Chambers, on receipt of this email, as he happened to be in Co. Clare today, and asked him to attend an early morning meeting with officials and elected members from Clare County Council, which he agreed to.

“This took place this morning in the Park Inn Hotel in Shannon and those in attendance included Mayor of Ennis Pat Daly, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy, Cllr Mary Howard, Cllr Paul Murphy, Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne and Senator Timmy Dooley.

“The council was represented by Carmel Kirby, director of services, and Eamon O’Dea.

“The Minister explained that in the recent Budget passed by the Dáil, there is a €10m fund allocated to his department for new bus routes and he will be meeting with the NTA in the next few weeks to discuss the spending of this sum.

“I am confident that this will lead to a good outcome for Ennis, but yet we need certainty on this as soon as possible.

“Ennis, with a population closing in on 30,000, is the largest town in Munster, with lofty ambitions to grow enterprise and retail in the town, underpinned by the motorway network between two major cities and a nearby international airport.

“The technological university campus also brings a lot of young people into the town.

“If we are to encourage more people to look to Ennis as a place to live and do business, and moreover to leave the car at home and opt for public transport, we will need a decent transport network here.

“Draft plans for the service include two routes – one travelling east-west and one going north-south, with both wrapping around the town centre.

“It is anticipated that the total initial cost would be in the region of €800,000 which breaks down as approximately €400,000 per route.

“I hope that Minister Chambers will have a successful outcome to his meeting with the NTA and that we very soon start hearing about where and how this €10m fund will be spent.

“I am hopeful that Ennis will be a major beneficiary of this fund and that we remain on course to deliver an Ennis town bus service by 2025.”


Shannon Airport report highlights what Midwest has felt for years

  • Dominance of Dublin Airport spelled out in black and white
  • Aviation policy needs radical overhaul


Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Tourism and Aviation Cathal Crowe is calling for an overhaul of Ireland’s aviation policy to be given serious consideration.

His comments come ahead of the launch of a report on the economic impact of Shannon Airport on the Irish economy and the wider Midwest region, which has concluded that Ireland’s aviation policy has to date failed to create a level playing field for airports outside of the capital to flourish.

Minister of State Jack Chambers will officially launch the report at Shannon Airport this morning.

“This report highlights what we’ve felt in the Midwest region for quite a long time,” said Deputy Crowe.

“Dublin Airport is enjoying excessive dominance in the market.

“This is typical in many European countries, where the capital airport does far better than the other airports in the country, but it’s felt all the more here as a small island nation.

“The argument for capping flights in and out of Dublin Airport and sharing that across other airports has added significance now, with Dublin reaching its own cap.

“The regional airports funding has been very generous to Shannon, Cork and Knock in recent years but it is determined by passenger threshold.

“This is currently being reviewed and I hope that the threshold can be lowered because Ireland has capacity within EU state aid rules to better fund its airports, but this can only happen if a more realistic passenger number threshold is used.

“Whilst Dublin welcomes more than 30 million passengers per year, Shannon and the other airports only receive a fraction of this and therefore these airports’ incomes are lower, and this is a major hurdle in trying to expand and pursue capital projects to increase passenger numbers.

“As my party’s aviation spokesperson, I’ve already held a series of public consultation events in the county, and I will be continuing this in the coming months – it’s key to hear directly from those on the ground who rely on Shannon.

“I’m delighted to have Minister Jack Chambers visit Shannon Airport today for the launch of this report.

“He’s a very proactive minister in the Department of Transport and really understands airports – I’ll be pressing the importance of the outcomes of this report to him and pursuing a change in Ireland’s aviation policy.”


Works finally to commence on Ballycannon Heights wastewater issue

  • Contractors will be on site next week
  • Parteen water works also getting underway


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed news that work is due to commence on wasterwater upgrade works at Ballycannon Heights, Meelick.

Contractors appointed by Uisce Éireann will be on site; while next week also sees works to replace the water mains pipe between Larkin’s Cross and O’Connor’s Cross getting underway.

“This is huge news for the residents of the 62 homes in Ballycannon Heights,” said Deputy Crowe.

“Next week, work is finally getting underway on the construction of the new pumping station and sewer network pipe, as part of the long-awaited upgrade works which will see a new pump station built.

“Their issues with malodours have been long documented in the media due to the insufficient infrastructure that’s been in place since the estate was first built.

“I’ve been out there countless times myself to experience these noxious, harmful odours and it’s no wonder that the residents have been at their wits’ end.

“I’ve been fighting for many years for something to be done to address this, for basically my entire political career, and was glad to be able to play some part in securing this necessary funding.

“It will also be of huge relief to those in Parteen to learn that next week also sees the commencement of works to replace the water mains pipe between Larkin’s Cross and O’Connor’s Cross.

“This part of the county has been plagued by water outages for far too long and it’s high time something was done – thankfully, the beginning of the end is in sight now.

“I will continue to monitor the situations closely and ensure that there are no delays in getting the remainder of the works carried out so that these projects are finished as quickly as possible.”


Handover of Search and Rescue contracts must protect existing crews

  • Bristow Ireland will now hold contract
  • Worth €1B over 10 years to company


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling on the Minister for Transport to ensure that employment conditions for crews on Search and Rescue teams nationwide are protected, as the SAR handover takes place.

The Department of Transport has awarded a new Search and Rescue (SAR) contract to Bristow Ireland, a subsidiary of Bristow Group Ltd, which will receive €1 billion over the 10-year lifetime of the contract.

“As a country, we are forever indebted to the SAR teams across Ireland who put their own lives in danger to rescue others,” said Deputy Crowe.

“They carry out work that only a select few are cut out for and not always with a positive outcome – it’s something that we take for granted and we must commend them for what they do.

“I am calling on the Minister for Transport to ensure that the Protection of Employees on Transport of Undertakings Regulations 2003 is applied to this handover.

“It is vital that the existing hard-fought terms and conditions of crews are not compromised during this handover between the outgoing and incoming companies.

“Our SAR crews here in Clare have responded to injured residents, tourists, searches for missing people and other high-risk operations.

“They fly in all conditions to help the people of Ireland and anybody who is here who needs their assistance.

“I think it is vital now that we step up to the plate and support them at their hour of need, just as they have done so many times for everybody else.”


€7 million Liscannor wastewater treatment plant officially opened

  • Will end discharge of raw sewerage
  • Two more similar projects to go for planning soon


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed the official opening of the Liscannor wastewater treatment plant, which will end the discharge of raw sewerage into Liscannor Bay.

The new facility was officially opened this morning by the Mayor of Clare, after significant work by Clare County Council and Uisce Éireann, made possible with a €7 million funding allocation from the government.

“This new state-of-the-art facility will ensure that the discharge of raw sewerage into beautiful Liscannor Bay will finally end, after many, many years,” said Deputy Crowe.

“Not only is this good for the environment – and indeed for tourism – but it also means the village now has space to grow and play a role in terms of providing housing for all, meaning there’s a vital role for Liscannor to play down the line.

“I want to acknowledge the work that all organisations put in to bringing this over the line and in particular, commend my party colleagues, Councillors Shane Talty and Joe Killeen for their consistent advocating for this project.

“I was also pleased today to learn that similar treatment plants in Ballyvaughan and Kilkee will also soon go for planning permission.

“The Liscannor build took a little less than two years so I’d be hopeful that Ballyvaughan and Kilkee’s builds could commence by 2024 or 2025.”


International Protection Integration Funding for Clare

  • €1.2 million nationally for 70 support projects
  • Three projects in Clare to benefit


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed the allocation of funding for three projects in Clare, under the International Protection Integration Fund 2023.

Grants of up to €20,000 are being allocated to successful organisations to assist in the integration of International Protection Applicants, via a range of projects designed to provide additional services and capacity to those in the International Protection system.

€1.2 million nationally will be distributed to 70 projects around the country.

“As a county, Clare is more than playing its part in welcoming those seeking refuge in our country and it’s vital that funding like this is rolled out, to ensure that communities that have international protection seekers living here now can cater for that increase in population,” said Deputy Crowe.

“There are three successful projects in Clare that have been awarded funding – most significantly, €20,000 has been allocated to the Clare Immigration Support Network, to help support them in reaching out to international protection applicants.

“In addition, Clare will share two funds with neighbouring counties.

“€6,040 has been allocated to ADAPT Domestic Abuse Services in Clare and Limerick, for psychosocial support for female international protection applicants.

“Midwest Migrant Community Network across counties Clare, Limerick and Tipperary has also been allocated €20,000 – which will be used for health and wellbeing services for migrant women.

“This fund is a significant tool to assist civil society organisations with their invaluable work on helping to integrate people who come to Ireland seeking International Protection.

“The importance of this work with people who are at a particularly vulnerable time in their lives is crucial and every day we see the positive impact that civil society organisations make in helping to foster diverse and vibrant communities whilst supporting individuals.

“It’s also critically important that Clare continues to receive more funding to assist these communities, given the amount of international protection applicants that have arrived here, if we are to provide the necessary services.”


€2.5 million allocated to tackle vacancy and dereliction in Clare

Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed the allocation of €2.5 million in funding to Clare County Council, to tackle vacancy and dereliction across the county.

The funding is being allocated to Clare County Council in Call Three of the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF), a €150 million fund to tackle vacancy and dereliction in our towns and cities.

“This funding is of huge importance in light of the current housing and supply crisis we are experiencing,” said Deputy Crowe.

“To see properties lying idle in the centre of our towns and villages at a time when so many people can’t access a home is heartbreaking, so this funding will make a significant difference.

“This will work whereby local authorities will acquire vacant or derelict properties which are either not on the market for sale or to which the market has not responded.

“They will then offer these properties for private sale to individuals who in return will commit to bringing the property into use as a home.

“This also has the added benefit of allowing people to live and participate in their village and town centres – a trend which was one so common but in recent decades, has lessened significantly.

“I welcome my colleague, Minister O’Brien’s commitment to tackling vacancy and look forward to more positive announcements in the future.”


€2.9 million for Clare County Council under the Community Recognition Fund

  • Funding to support communities welcoming Ukrainians
  • 78 projects awarded funding


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed the allocation of €2,925,549 in Community Recognition Fund grants to Clare County Council, to support communities who have welcomed Ukrainian refugees.

A total of 78 applicants have been successful in their bids for funding, after the local authority shortlisted them.

“A massive well done to all of the successful groups who have today been awarded grants for a variety of projects under the Community Recognition Fund,” said Deputy Crowe.

“Clare has a sizeable Ukrainian population since the onset of the war with Russia last year and our towns and villages have been extremely welcoming and generous to them since their arrival here.

“Of course, with a population change of this size – 3% of our entire county population is now Ukrainian – there comes challenges and this is where this funding is vitally important.

“The funding will go to sports clubs, transport infrastructure, community organisations and local groups and these new facilities will be used by all members of the community.

“There was enormous interest in this scheme when it was announced and I know a huge number of applications were received, having personally worked with a number of the community groups and organisations to assist in their applications.

“Clare County Council created a shortlist from the pool of applicants and sent this to the department for approval, with 78 successful bids for funding being revealed today.

“I know a large number of applicants will be disappointed not to have received a grant in this scheme but I hope further funding streams will be made available that they can express interest in and I will assist in any way possible.”