Shannon Airport can play role in assisting Dublin Airport during difficult time

  • Major security delays expected to last 10 weeks
  • Poses risk of putting people off of flying to Ireland


Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Tourism and Aviation Cathal Crowe is calling for Shannon Airport to be utilised to alleviate pressure on passenger both inbound and outbound to Ireland, via Dublin Airport.

Issues with security are at present leading to significant delays for those using Dublin Airport as a terminus for their travels.

“This afternoon, I joined my Oireachtas Transport Committee colleagues in meeting Dublin Airport Authority’s Chief Executive Dalton Philips and his management staff,” said Deputy Crowe.

“They are doing everything possible to recruit additional security staff but are finding that delays in the Garda vetting process and also enhanced screening measures to be a huge impediment in terms of having staff on the ground.

“I have suggested to the management that flights should be diverted to Shannon Airport, where there is plenty of additional capacity.

“I believe that Shannon could play a significant role in easing the problems that Dublin Airport is facing at this time.

“Shannon is a 30-minute domestic flight from Dublin Airport and a two-and-a-half-hour journey by car or bus.

“When someone arrives at the departure hall of Shannon Airport, they can expect to have gone through the entire security screening process, often in less than half an hour.

“At the moment, passengers arriving at Dublin are being advised to arrive three and a half hours before their flight time.

“Dublin Airport management today advised that it could take anything up to 10 weeks to achieve a full complement of security staff and this 10-week period, worryingly, will coincide with the Easter holiday break and the beginning of the peak summer season.

“Everyone in the tourism sector really looks forward to a recovery this summer but this can only happen if we’re getting visitors into our country.

“I think Shannon, and indeed other airports, can play a major role in that regard over the coming months.

“Dublin Airport management, in response to my proposal, emphasised that flight diversions would be a decision for individual airlines to determine and I know hope to take up the matter with the chief executives of Ryanair and Aer Lingus.”


Additional supports vital for Clare’s Ukrainian school children

  • Translators essential to integration
  • Generosity of Clare people to be commended


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling for increased supports to be put in place for Clare’s Ukrainian school population as a matter of priority.

Hundreds of displaced Ukrainians have taken up residence in the county, with more expected, and voluntary groups and donations from members of the public have been hugely forthcoming – but more help is needed.

“Over the past fortnight, I have visited most of the accommodation centres that are being used to house Ukrainian refugees in the county,” said Deputy Crowe.

“These people have come from very harrowing situations and are hugely appreciative of the warm welcome they’ve received from the people of Clare.

“It’s incredible to think that, on Census night 2022, 1.5% of Clare’s population – ordinarily 118,000 – are now Ukrainian nationals.

“In 100 years’ time, when people look back and study this period of our history, this will tell a lot about who we are as a people and how accommodating we were to our new Ukrainian friends.

“When I visited these accommodation centres, I took time to chat with the people there.

“Their stories were very similar and most spent days driving in their family car or taking public transport to flee eastwards through Lviv and across the Polish border.

“Most made this journey with just the shirt on their back and a small bag of belongings.

“In most of the accommodation centres in Clare, the Ukrainian people have been given clothing, both new and old, to wear but many have told me that they have a lack of quality footwear.

“This prompted me to go on social media asking people to consider donating shoes and runners for all ages, all sizes and all genders.

“I’m delighted to say that the response to this has been immense.

“Some have even donated football boots as a lot of the Ukrainian children want to partake in sport whilst they’re here in Ireland – others have donated cash vouchers for shops.

“I’ve also met with schools in the county who’ve been welcoming Ukrainian pupils and speaking directly to government on their behalf, in terms of trying to have additional supports sanctioned.

“Their main needs right now revolve around requirements of English as an Additional Language (EAL) teachers, translators and school transportation.

“Progress is being made but thus far translator posts haven’t been sanctioned.

“AS a former teacher, and as someone who has experience of teaching children from the direct provision system, I believe that a translation capacity is essential for all schools who have Ukrainian pupils.

“A translator could provide an invaluable home-school link and also provide much needed pastoral care for the children.”


New Shannon Group chair must be present on day-to-day basis

  • Conal Henry takes over from Pádraig Ó Céidigh
  • To be formally appointed shortly


Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Tourism and Aviation Cathal Crowe has welcomed the swift appointment of Conal Henry as the new chair of Shannon Group – but is calling on Minister Eamon Ryan to change the terms of his appointment.

Mr Henry has held senior management positions including Founder and Chair of Fibrus Networks since 2018 and Chief Executive Officer of e|net (NBI) from 2006 to 2018.

He was also Commercial Director at Ryanair and served on the Board of Shannon Foynes Port Company.  He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and holds a law degree from Queen’s University Belfast.

“Whilst I welcome Mr Henry’s appointment, it concerns me that Pádraig Ó Céidigh’s tenure was a board chairperson so in effect his functions were limited to just being at the airport when the board was actually meeting but I believe in order to see a full recovery to pre-Covid levels, we need to see Mr Henry in an executive chairperson role.

“This would ensure that he’s in the airport on a more permanent basis – that is the only way that somebody can effectively oversee the running of Shannon Group and Shannon Airport.

“This is an issue I will be taking up with Minister Ryan.

“Today, I am writing to you him to ask that he change the terms of Mr Henry’s appointment so that we ensure a very hands-on chair is leading Shannon Group at this critical time.

“Now that we have transatlantic fights back at Shannon, we need to try to secure further routes into continental Europe.

“Whilst the Ryanair routes are hugely attractive and positive for the Midwest region, we do also need to see air connectivity to major European hubs that provide onward flights to Asia, the Middle East and Australia.

“Because of Mr Henry’s Ryanair background, he understands aviation but to really be a positive driving force for Shannon Group, he will need to be there on a day-to-day basis working in tandem with Mary Considine and her team.”


Shannon Group chair resignation leaves questions

  • Pádraig Ó Céidigh has stepped down after six months
  • Leaves fresh uncertainty for Shannon Group


Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Tourism and Aviation Cathal Crowe is calling for representatives of Shannon Group and the Department of Transport to appear before the Oireachtas Transport Committee to discuss the path forward for Shannon Group.

Last night, it was confirmed that Pádraig Ó Céidigh has resigned from his role as Chairman of the Shannon Group after just six months.

“I, like so many people in this region with high interest and concern for Shannon Airport, saw huge hope in Ó Céidigh’s appointment,” said Deputy Crowe.

“We need to know why he is no longer able to fulfil his role and also appoint a suitable replacement ASAP.

“Mr Ó Céidigh, who founded Aer Arann in 1970, took up the role in September after it had been left vacant for a period of 13 months.

“His decades of experience in aviation led to renewed hope for Shannon Airport – I had significant optimism for the airport’s future and had hoped we would see a return to the glory days of the 1990s.

“I’ve written to the chairperson of the Oireachtas Transport Committee, Deputy Kieran O’Donnell, to suggest that we urgently summon Mr Ó Céidigh, Mary Considine and Fintan Towey, Assistant Secretary for Aviation in the Department of Transport, to appear before our committee to discuss the reasons behind this resignation and the pathway forward in terms of a replacement.

“Shannon Airport enjoyed bumper passenger numbers last weekend and overall is making good inroads in terms of recovery to pre-Covid levels of operation.

“A strong character, with an aviation background, is urgently needed to drive on this recovery and we need to strike while the iron is hot here.”


Fast-tracked vetting needed for offers of accommodation for Ukrainians

  • Clare landlord exposed as exploiting Ukrainians
  • Undermines good intentions of vast majority


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has slammed a Clare landlord, who has reportedly offered accommodation to Ukrainian women in a sex-for-rent arrangement.

According to today’s Irish Examiner, the anonymous landlord has offered a room in his home to a “slim Ukrainian woman” with the expectation of sex in return.

It goes on to say that he requires a photo of the woman in advance before he will reveal the location of his home.

“This is disgusting, abhorrent and pathetic in every way possible,” said Deputy Crowe.

“It’s beyond belief that somebody would use such a devastating situation to exploit a person forced to flee their home country and arrive into the unknown.

“Unfortunately, the sex industry has always exploited vulnerable women and children and seized on opportunities like war, persecution and famine to enslave them.

“The disgusting individual referenced in this story thankfully is unrepresentative of the incredible generosity, solidarity and spirit of care that most Clare, and Irish people overall, are instinctively showing.

“I have written to Justice Minister Helen McEntee asking that her department look at a fast-track vetting regime for offers of accommodation.

“It’s desperately sad that this request is needed but sadly, there are people out there like this man who will take advantage at any given opportunity.

“You can be sure that the vast, vast majority of offers are genuine and instinctively caring but we, nonetheless, need to have stringent oversight to ensure that people fleeing here from war-torn Ukraine are being safely and appropriately accommodated.

“I believe this matter is of extreme urgency so that the genuine people out there who want to help can do so and more importantly, so that the Ukrainians arriving into our country at their most desperate hour of need experience our world-famous thousand welcomes – and don’t get met by pathetic individuals like this man.”


End in sight to Newmarket-on-Fergus sewage issues

  • Planning almost ready to be submitted
  • Positive news for growth of village


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed confirmation from Irish Water that on plans to upgrade the sewage treatment plant serving Newmarket-on-Fergus are at an advanced stage.

Survey work has now been completed and an application for planning is ready to be submitted by the end of Q2 2022.

After this, it is hoped that a tender can be issued for the construction.

“This is hugely positive news for the village of Newmarket-on-Fergus,” said Deputy Crowe.

“These works will see the relocation of the existing treated effluent outfall from the current discharge point at the Lough Gash turlough.

“The growth of Newmarket has been limited for quite some time now due to the capacity of the treatment of sewage in the village.

“The key thing about upgrading this infrastructure is that it means that this hurdle can be overcome and this makes Newmarket more attractive to young families looking to set up home and indeed to young people from Newmarket-on-Fergus who have left but would be keen to move back to put down roots.

“I’ve been over and back with Irish Water and Minister Darragh O’Brien on this issue and have worked closely with Councillor Pat McMahon to bring this to a resolution.

“It’s key now that there are no further delays to addressing the sewage issues in Newmarket and Cllr McMahon and I will work our utmost and continue to liaise with Irish Water to ensure that this is the case”.


Ryanair route to Marseille significant boost to Shannon and Midwest

  • Twice weekly service launched
  • Further boost for Midwest region


Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Tourism and Aviation Cathal Crowe has welcomed today’s announcement that Ryanair is to commence a twice-weekly service from Shannon Airport to Marseille.

The route to the port city in the south of France will operate twice weekly, each Wednesday and Saturday, commencing Wednesday 4th May.

“Ryanair’s announcement today is another positive move for Shannon Airport and indeed for the Midwest region,” said Deputy Crowe.

“This announcement now brings Ryanair’s total number of destination routes from Shannon to 25 – hugely significant in terms of the knock-on economic impact in Clare and across the region.

“In 2019, during my mayoral term, I held a series of meetings with Dr. Loïc Guyon, the French Consul to Ireland, to try to establish air routes between France and Ireland.

“Covid upset these plans but I’m delighted that now progress is again being made.

“Brexit has reminded us of how geographically peripheral Ireland and indeed Shannon Airport is in the EU.

“While the Marseille route will be very popular with tourists both in France and Ireland, it would be a real win to establish an air route between Shannon and Charles de Gaulle airport.

“Access to a European airport hub would provide people in the west of Ireland with huge connection possibilities with Europe, Asia and Oceania.

“We also need, as we emerge from Covid, to really market the preclearance facility that Shannon offers to passengers entering the United States.

“The potential is huge and I would hope that we continue to see a more balanced regional aviation policy rolled out in this country.”


Major expansion of DEIS schools in Clare

  • 14 new DEIS status schools
  • Four existing DEIS schools to be reclassified


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed a significant expansion of DEIS schools in Clare by the Department of Education.

It’s been confirmed this afternoon that a €32 million expansion of the DEIS programme is being rolled out, which will see 14 schools in Clare receive DEIS status for the first time; while four existing DEIS schools here will be reclassified.

“This is a hugely positive announcement from my colleague, Minister Norma Foley,” said Deputy Crowe.

“DEIS is disadvantaged status and tracks many metrics, such as the socio-economic background of people, the community hinterland and so on.

“The benefit for the schools here is that money follows DEIS designation and allows these schools to pursue a lot – a much more extensive range of programmes to enhance literacy, numeracy and to better meet the needs of the children.

“The DEIS programme really amounts to a levelling of the playing field so that children of all backgrounds can achieve the same educational outcomes.

“Schools in almost every corner of the county have been chosen to benefit from the DEIS categorisation – as far north as Lisdoonvarna NS, Carrigaholt NS out on the Loop Head peninsula in the West, Killaloe Boys NS over in the east, my own local school in Meelick and more.

“Shannon, in particular, is to benefit well from this announcement with news that both Gaelscoil Donncha Rua and St Senan’s NS have been classified as DEIS schools, providing a significant boost to the children of the town and surrounding areas.

“In addition, we’ve seen the positive news that the junior and senior Holy Family schools in Ennis, the Convent of Mercy national school in Kilrush and Ennis Educate Together have all been reclassified from Urban 2 to Urban 1 status, which will see increased supports rolled out to them.

“It’s hugely important to remember that the DEIS programme is a positive one and the children that go to these schools will have the opportunity to achieve their dreams, with the benefit of the increased funding that their schools will receive.”


€1.6 million secured for Clare schools

  • Summer works funding to be issued nationwide
  • 19 schools in Clare chosen


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed the allocation of €1.6 million in funding for works across 19 schools in Clare.

The approvals in this county form part of a total of 497 projects nationwide which will benefit from funding under the Summer Works Scheme.

“I’m delighted that this funding has been secured for 15 primary schools and four secondary schools across our county,” said Deputy Crowe.

“I want to firstly thank my colleague, Minister Norma Foley, for green-lighting these allocations.

“As somebody who spent 16 years at the top of the classroom, I know first-hand how important it is to ensure that our school buildings and facilities are up to scratch, to ensure that the education of children is the number one priority of all of the school staff.

“It’s also important to note that the funding has been announced well in advance of the summer to give a decent lead-in period to all principals and staff to put the necessary preparations in place ahead of the summer break.

“One of the most significant projects that will be able to proceed thanks to this injection of funding is at St Michael’s Community College in Kilmihil.

“The school has been approved for new science labs, including gas works, which will greatly enhance the scientific education of the young people of Kilmihil going forward.

“I look forward to visiting the chosen schools over the coming months and seeing where this funding is utilised and I stand ready to speak to all of the principals and provide guidance and advice where possible.”

The Clare schools are as follows:

  • O’Callaghan’s Mills NS (Electrical works)
  • Holy Family Snr (Mechanical works)
  • Coolmeen NS (External environment)
  • Kilkishen NS (Electrical works)
  • Moveen NS (Mechanical works)
  • Tuamgraney NS (Electrical works)
  • SN an Phairtin Mixed (External environment)
  • Holy Family Jnr School (Mechanical works)
  • S N Chathair Aodha (Windows)
  • Shannon Airport 1 NS (External environment)
  • Labasheeda Central NS (Mechanical works)
  • Inchicronan Central NS (External environment)
  • St Aidan’s NS (Mechanical works)
  • Convent of Mercy National School (Windows)
  • Kilmurry McMahon National School (External environment)
  • St Flannan’s College (Roof works)
  • St Michael’s Community College (Science labs incl. gas works)
  • St Joseph’s Community College (Roof works)
  • Shannon Comprehensive School (Roof works)

Planning rejected for windfarm near Miltown Malbay

  • Third attempt to push application through fails
  • Concentration of windfarms too high in this region


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed the refusal of planning permission for a major new windfarm just 6km away from the town of Miltown Malbay.

Clare County Council has rejected the third attempt for the development, which would cover Glendine North, Fahanlunaghta More, Curraghodea,, Letterkelly, Cloghaun More, Tooreen, Silverhill, Doonsallagh East and Knockalassa, to go ahead.

“I was one of the objectors to this project and I want to make it crystal clear at the outset that I am 100% in favour of wind and renewable energy,” said Deputy Crowe.

“This issue here is that there is an excessive concentration of windfarms in this part of the county, far in excess of anything I’ve seen elsewhere in the country.

“I have a number of concerns relating to access, bird breeding habitats, the bog, displacement of turf banks and many more but one of the things that really struck me when I was back there lately was the noise already coming from Slieve Callan just across the valley from it.

“It reminds me of what I’m used to hearing on the apron of Shannon Airport’s runway – this loud, trundling noise each time the rotor of the turbine went around.

“The community have made it abundantly clear to me that while they support renewable energies, there comes a time when enough is enough and they’ve endured more than fair share and the proliferation of wind turbines and the issues these have brought to their community has to stop.

“I also want to say to the residents in the location that I’ve lodged a planning enforcement complaint relating to Slieve Callan.

“This farm is there and will be there for a long time to come but when that was granted planning permission, there were certain parameters relating to noise emissions, flicker effect etc and many have the belief that these thresholds are being breached and have raised this with me and others.

“On this basis, I have made a complaint and that investigation is now underway.

“Enough is enough – there’s more than enough wind turbine in this corner of our county and I reiterate my belief that the future of wind energy must now be focused on offshore developments.

“The winds are greater, the turbines are more efficient in the oceans and they are much less visually intrusive – it’s a no brainer.”