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.”


Huge relief as Kaftrio approved for 35 children who were locked out

  • Life-changing drug to be issued to all 6-11 year old CF sufferers
  • Brings to end a lengthy campaign


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed confirmation that the HSE has approved the Kaftrio drug for children with cystic fibrosis between the ages of 6 and 11, who previously fell outside the eligibility criteria.

After lengthy engagements with the drug manufacturer Vertex, the HSE has confirmed that the cohort of children who were missing out can finally access the drug.

“This is a monumental day for the children and families impacted by CF that heretofore have been unable to access this life-changing medicine,” said Deputy Crowe.

“Just 35 children across the country were locked out of this drug and the battle fought in particular by their parents must be hugely commended.

“Their frustration, rightly so, was grounded in the fact that 140 children in the same age bracket but with a different genotype were entitled to avail of the drug, while their kids – who are heterozygous for the F508del mutation and either a minimal function mutation, or an unknown mutation, were not.

“I have no doubt that the 35 children who can now utilise this drug will have a much better quality of life as a result.

“It’s vital that we do all we do all we can to improve the outcomes for people suffering from cystic fibrosis.

“Ireland has the highest incidence of this condition in the entire world, with one in every 1,353 suffering from it so those living with the condition, and their families, need to see unequivocal support from the HSE and the government to improve their lives.”


Almost €38.8 million allocation to Clare for regional and local road works – Crowe

  • €15m ringfenced for Killaloe Bypass/Shannon River Crossing Project
  • Adds to €600,000 announced this week for LIS


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed the allocation of €38,784,600 for Clare County Council under the 2023 investment programme for regional and local roads.

The money has been announced as part of a total €626m nationwide investment in the country’s roads, which will see 3,100km of local and regional roads maintained and 2,500km strengthened.

“A county like Clare is extremely reliant on a decent road network and without capital investment like this, it would not be possible to address issues on our roads,” said Deputy Crowe.

“We’re a mainly rural county and the vast majority of these regional and local roads lead to remote extremities of Clare that rely on proper links to the urban centres for basic services.

“Over €12.8m has been allocated to restoration improvement works in the county; while €1.8m will go towards maintenance works.

“It’s fantastic to see a sum of €15 million ringfenced specifically for the Killaloe Bypass, Shannon Bridge Crossing and R494 Improvement Scheme, which includes 12.4km of foot and cycleways and would potentially provide access to the proposed Limerick to Scariff Greenway.

“In addition, €739,000 has been allocated to climate change adaptation and resilience works which includes key drainage and road stabilisation works in many parts of the county.

“€612,000 will be spent on upgrading 22 bridges around the county, while €530,000 is going towards safety improvement works.

“A segment of €500,000, meanwhile, is to be spent on rehabilitation works on the R458 – formerly the N85.

“All of this funding comes in addition to the almost €600,000 announced by Minister Heather Humphreys yesterday for the Local Improvement Scheme in Clare, which will target smaller boreens and laneways not maintained by the council.

“It’s extremely welcome to see an investment of this scale in our county’s roads.”


Shannon Airport boosted with new daily seasonal Chicago route

  • United Airlines to operate the route
  • First flight to take off May 2023


Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Aviation and Tourism Cathal Crowe has welcomed the announcement today of a new service from Shannon Airport to Chicago O’Hare Airport.

The seasonal route will be operated by United Airlines and will take off daily between May and September next year.

This route was previously operated by United on a five-day-a-week basis from 2013 to 2017.

“This is hugely, hugely significant news for Shannon Airport today,” said Deputy Crowe.

“To have an airline like United come back to operate this route but also to increase it to seven days a week is a massive endorsement of our airport and our region.

“The new direct route will begin from May 26th next year and the flights will be at 9:30am each day until September 28th.

“Not only will this mean there will be people from across Ireland coming to Shannon to fly out directly to Chicago but it also brings huge inward tourism potential to this region, from the US.

“This, coupled with the US preclearance offered at Shannon, is invaluable.

“Today’s announcement adds to the routes already offered from Shannon to the States to New York, New Jersey and Boston.

“It’s very exciting to see so many positive announcements for Shannon over the past number of weeks – the new Chicago route adds to the recent good news with routes to Paris Orly and Beziers, as well as Newcastle in the UK.

“The future is bright for Shannon and positive news leads to further positive news so I’m excited to see what’s the come for our region’s airport.”


Almost €200,000 in CLÁR funding announced for Clare – Crowe

  • Four successful projects announced in latest tranche
  • Part of €2.75m nationwide announcement


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed today’s announcement of €197,754 in funding for four successful projects in Clare under the CLÁR programme.

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys has announced a total of €2.75 million to support 74 community projects nationwide in the latest tranche of funding under the scheme.

The successful projects in Clare are:

  • St Flannan’s NS Inagh – €50,000 (Inagh community car park – resurfacing car park, disabled parking and green school biodiversity)
  • Doonbeg Tidy Towns – €47,754 (Fair green community sensory garden)
  • Miltown Malbay NS – €50,000 (Multi-Use Games Area)
  • Cloonanaha NS – €50,000 (Develop community garden and outdoor recreation area)

Commenting on the announcement, Deputy Crowe said:

“I’m delighted to see these four projects be successful today in their bids for funding under the CLÁR programme.

“Not only do these grants benefit to schools and committees that they are allocated to, they also have a huge positive impact on these rural communities as a whole.

“Our sports clubs, schools and community groups are the lifeblood of out county and they’re where people of all ages and backgrounds come together as one community.

“The successful applicants in Clare in this round of funding have all looked at future-proofing their local facilities and making sure they are inclusive and widely available for use by all people living locally.

“There will be disappointed community groups around the county seeing today’s announcement but I would say to those groups that this isn’t the end of the road – we will see further announcements under the CLÁR programme coming up and there’s plenty of scope still for work to be done.

“I look forward to stopping to see works underway in Inagh, Doonbeg, Miltown Malbay and Cloonanaha on my travels around the county in the coming months.”


Threshold for social housing in Clare to increase from October 1st

  • Clare to move from Band 3 to Band 2
  • Move approved by Housing Minister


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed a change in social housing thresholds in Clare, which will make housing more accessible to many more people.

From October 1st, Clare will move from Band 3 to Band 2 in terms of eligibility for housing, which will better reflect the housing costs across the county.

This means that the cut-off household will increase, meaning more people will be able to apply to Clare County Council for housing supports.

“We are in the middle of a housing crisis, coupled with a major cost of living crisis at present,” said Deputy Crowe.

“This has left a huge number of people struggling and desperately concerned about their housing prospects – living in fear of their rent being increased or their landlord evicting them, in order to sell their home.

“For many, they have heretofore not been eligible for social housing because their income has been too high for that; yet it is too low for a mortgage and they struggle to afford rising rents.

“This change from October 1st, which has been signed off by my colleague Minister Darragh O’Brien, means that a single person will now be eligible to apply for social housing on an income of up to €30,000, compared to €25,000 previously; while a family of two adults and two children will now be eligible on an income of €33,000 rather than the €27,500 cut-off.

“While this is by no means a magic fix, it certainly will mean that social housing will be an option and within reach for a great many who have been locked out of that system up until now.

“Nevertheless, there is still an issue with housing supply which remains one of my key focuses and one of the things I will continue to lobby my colleagues in Cabinet on.

“I hope that the move to make social housing more accessible in Clare is the first step in addressing the housing crisis currently facing our friends and neighbours in this county.

“As always, I stand ready to help anybody who needs assistance with their housing application.”