€6 million in funding confirmed for Clare’s national roads and greenways

–                  Part of €440m national investment

–                  Issued via Transport Infrastructure Ireland


Clare Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe has welcomed the allocation of €6,035,946 in funding for Clare’s national roads and greenways.

The funds, which will be issued to local authorities through Transport Infrastructure Ireland, form part of an overall €440 million investment nationally.

“This is hugely welcome news for Co. Clare today,” said Deputy Crowe.

“To have an investment of this size in our national roads and greenway infrastructure is fantastic.

“It will help ensure that our roads are safe, reliable and accessible for everyone who uses them.

“The funding is broken down into categories, with €3.2m ringfenced for capital investment works. Included in this is €500,000 for Shannon Airport Access on the N19 and €1.1m for a Doonbeg pavement as part of a suite of works on the N67.

“€2.2m has been earmarked for our county’s fabulous greenways and the final €571,946 is for maintenance on the current road network.

“This announcement follows that of last week, which saw €43.5m announcement for our county’s local and regional roads, meaning an investment in the region of €50m on Clare’s roads network this year.

“I very much welcome this news and look forward to seeing the highlighted projects come to fruition.

“This is a huge investment and I hope to see it wisely spent over the coming months.”


12 new accessible homes to be confirmed for Ennis

–                  Approval in principle will issue on Wednesday

–                  Clon Road homes will be age friendly and disability friendly


Clare Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe has welcomed the announcement that 12 new age and disability friendly home are to be confirmed for Ennis this week.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien will issue approval in principle on Wednesday for the 12 two-bed apartments on Clon Road, Ennis.

“This is a really welcome development for Ennis town,” said Deputy Crowe.

“My office is inundated each week with people seeking assistance in their quest for social housing.

“It’s often young couples and families looking for a home to call their own, but I’m also regularly contacted by elderly people who are empty nesters who can free up a larger home for a family or those who, because of various life situations, find themselves without a permanent home.

“Whilst it will take some time for these apartments to come on stream, I’m certain there will be high demand for them and I’m confident that they’ll only be the starting point for more housing provision for the elderly and disabled in our county.

“I’ve also been contacted by a number of community groups across Clare who have identified large buildings in their areas that could be suitable for supportive living for our county’s older population.

Deputy Crowe continued: “I think that Minister O’Brien and his department should also give positive consideration to these proposals.

“Many older people may be quite a distance off requiring nursing home care but they would much rather live in a community environment, where there are certain care supports available to them, and the type of projects that have been presented to me would very much tick all of these boxes.

“After 10 years of huge underinvestment, some very positive inroads are finally being made in terms of housing for our county and I very much look forward to further announcements in this regard from the government.”


Issue with feral horses in Clare-Limerick border must be tackled

–                  Horses roaming free in Moyross area

–                  Presents both danger to motorists and animal welfare issues


Clare Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe is calling on Limerick City and County Council and An Garda Síochána to urgently bring control to the feral horse situation in Moyross.

“Throughout last week and over the weekend, I received many phone calls from Meelick and Parteen residents who encountered up to 15 feral horses at a time galloping along the Knockalisheen and Long Pavement Roads,” said Deputy Crowe.

“These horses were not haltered, not tethered nor were they confined to any enclosure. They were simply running at free will across roads and footpaths.

“Several of these horses had small foals and they were in a distressed state when they encountered cars.

“My fear is that if these horses are not brought to safe enclosures, there will be a very serious road traffic accident – and possibly a life lost.

“I also fear for the welfare of these horses.

Deputy Crowe continued: “These animals should be properly cared for in fields with appropriate fodder and secure fence enclosures. The era of long acre grazing should be confined to the past.

“I don’t want to see these horses impounded because I know that would spell a very sorry end for these beautiful animals, but the owners need to take responsibility for them.

“I believe these horses were, until recently, grazing fields along the route of the Knockalisheen to Coonagh distributor road but in recent days they’ve spilled out from local fields and are now all along the road network.

“This is a Limerick issue in some ways but fully impacts residents of Parteen and Meelick and I’m calling now on all agencies to ensure that the horses are brought to a secure enclosure where their lives aren’t at risk, nor those of passing motorists either.”


Phantom bus stops must be reinstated throughout Co. Clare

–        People should be encouraged to look at public transport

–        Lack of stops making it harder to use bus services


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling on Transport Infrastructure Ireland to reinstate phantom bus stops throughout Co. Clare.

“Over the years, TII has taken over full responsibility for bus routing and also determining where buses should stop,” said Deputy Crowe.

“In some locations, people stop their local bus service by simply standing at the side of the road and waving it down but in other areas the stops are far more formal with bus stop signage and shelters.

“I have noticed a trend in recent years whereby TII are insisting that buses should no longer stop at locations that don’t have signage and the most recent example I’ve come across is the community of Shannon Banks in Co. Clare where the 301 service operates every 30 minutes or so into Limerick City.

“This now won’t stop at the top of the estate when travelling in an outbound direction.

Crowe continued: “In this instance, I’ve had some success – following contact with TII, they’ve agreed to reinstate this stop officially and put up a new sign but there are other examples I can think of in the Cratloe and Sixmilebridge area where the stops have simply vanished.

“This is rather punitive and unfair to communities who see a bus shuttling along the road but unable to stop to pick them up.

“At a time when we are encouraging the population to leave the car at home and look at changes in how they travel, I think that we should be doing everything in our power to ensure that we’re making it as easy as possible for people to do so.”


Plans to change beef indices will directly hit Clare farmers in pocket

–        ICBF plans proving controversial among farmers

–        Must be halted until proper consultation is carried out


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling on the Irish Cattle Breeders Federation (ICBF) to immediately halt controversial changes to beef indices that are disputed by the farming community.

“I recently met with members of the Clare Beef Plan Movement and have also had a lot of engagement through my office with farmers throughout the county on this matter,” said Deputy Crowe.

“I’m an organic farmer myself with a herd of Hereford and Shorthorn cattle and I am quite familiar with the devastating impact that these changes will have on the farm community in Clare.

“Whilst many parts of Ireland have a prominent diary industry, Co. Clare is very much considered to be the home of the suckler beef industry, with upwards of 85% of farming families involved in this enterprise.

“Many of these families have invested in bulls and breeding cattle that followed ICBF best advice over the years, so that an optimum animal can be bred leading to optimum replacement heifers.

“The suggested index changes that the ICBF are seeking to bring forward would utterly change how these animals are now rated and for many.

“This would lead to a collapse of income.

Crowe continued: “The consultation to date has been extremely poor and I also think it’s reasonable for people to question the scientific data that’s gone into this.

“Over the years, when index changes have been introduced to the dairy herd, there’s been a widespread analysis of herd data throughout the country whereas in this case, I understand that the farm data has only been collected from one system.

“This, in my opinion, makes it rather flawed and I think that the ICBF need to slow down this entire process and better engage with farming representative and breeding associations.

“I can only see some very small positives in the suggested changes.

“One of these is a new index being introduced to identify resilience to tuberculosis – apart from that, most of the changes herald bad news for farmers and this will be mostly felt in counties like Clare.


Department of Education must give strong consideration to brand new secondary school for Sixmilebridge

–        Enrolment figures in local primary schools show demand

–        Analysis will be undertaken


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling for the construction of a new secondary school in Sixmilebridge, to alleviate pressure on schools in the South Clare area where those leaving primary schools are struggling to attain a place in second level.

“I have asked Minister Norma Foley and officials in the building unit of the Department of Education to do an analysis of school enrolment in the South Clare area, with the possible view to opening a new secondary school in Sixmilebridge,” said Deputy Crowe.

“By my own calculations, I reckon there are upwards of 3,000 pupils currently enrolled in primary schools south of Newmarket-on-Fergus right down to the Clare border area and when these kids complete their eight years of primary school, they typically try to enrol in the two secondary schools in Shannon, St Joseph’s in Tulla and many closer to the Limerick border – such as Meelick, Cratloe, Parteen and Clonlara – apply for schools in Limerick City.

Crowe continued: “I know all too well from my 14 years teaching in Parteen NS, the challenges that 6th Class pupils have in terms of enrolling in their secondary school of choice.

“They have to apply through a common application system in which they have to list their preferences across 17 secondary schools.

“Very often this works out perfectly and they get their school of choice, but I’ve also seen very difficult situations where a child living in South Clare is enrolled in schools as far away as Pallaskenry and Croom, in Co. Limerick.

“Sixmilebridge is no longer a village – it’s now a thriving town with a growing population and there are many towns in Clare of smaller size which already have a secondary school.

“At this time, my suggestion is just a concept, but I think we need to get an in-depth analysis of enrolment figures in primary schools and also the pathway these pupils follow in terms of moving on to secondary education.

“Whilst there has always been a difficulty in children enrolling in Limerick City schools, in recent years similar problems have been encountered in Clare secondary schools, with schools fully subscribed and many kids left waiting in a queue to see if a place frees up for them.

“Limerick has had two new secondary schools built, but the South Clare area has not – and I think the natural place to locate one would be somewhere near Sixmilebridge.

Crowe concluded: “The benefit would not just be for Sixmilebridge families but also their neighbouring communities of Quin, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Broadford, Clonlara, Meelick, Parteen and Shannon town itself.

“If the analysis that I receive back from the Department is strong and positive, I will pursue this matter much further and hold dialogue with other schools and stakeholders.


Clarity urgently needed on rules around wind turbine setback distance

  • Turbine-to-house rules clear, but reverse not so much
  • Has potential to hugely negatively impact rural areas


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling for clarity to be issued on the 500-metre setback rule for wind turbine developments, as it pertains to new house builds.

The current uncertainty has the potential to negatively impact on the potential for rural building, unless certainty is issued by the appropriate authorities, Deputy Crowe feels.

“I’m calling on the Office of the Planning Regulator to immediately clarify the setback distances for wind turbines,” said Deputy Crowe.

“At the moment, the national planning guidelines for wind energy date back to 2006 and are hugely outdated. A newer version of these guidelines is needed to provide clarity for the wind energy sector and also to provide protection for local communities.

“As a rule of thumb, wind turbines are generally set back a distance of 500m from the nearest residence.

“This buffer is for safety reasons but also to ensure that turbines don’t have a visual overbearing insofar as neighbouring dwellings are concerned.

“I’ve attended a number of community meetings in Co. Clare over the last three years and we are seeing a long litany of applications for new wind farms being queued up at this time.

He continued: “A major concern that I have is that the setback distance has the potential to work in reverse – by this I believe that, if a turbine cannot be constructed within 500m of an existing house, surely a house cannot be constructed within 500m of an existing turbine.

“The cumulative effect of this could be devastating in a rural area like East Clare, where approximately 80 wind turbines could be built over the coming years.

“If each of these turbines had a setback distance of 500m, you would have an unworkable situation whereby there would be many intersecting setback radiuses of 500m, thereby potentially prohibiting people building dwellings anywhere between them.

“In summary, the setback distance from turbine to house is somewhat clear – but there’s very little clarity in how the reverse of this might work.

“For this reason, the Office of the Planning Regulator needs to clearly articulate position on this, so that communities in rural Ireland aren’t sleep walking into scenarios whereby large sections of their communities are essentially blocked from future development for housing.”


Reclassification of Euro-Star beef breeding index must be halted

  • Changes will negatively impact suckler farmers
  • Consultation needs to happen


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling on the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation to urgently suspend their recently announced reclassification of the Euro-Star beef breeding index to give beef farmers a fighting chance.

Speaking to ICBF representatives at the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee today, Deputy Crowe requested the suspension of the measure until they hold their stakeholder consultation forum in early spring period.

“It is abundantly obvious to me that the many stakeholders involved in this process feel that they have not been properly consulted so far and that the communication from the ICBF has left a lot to be desired,” said Deputy Crowe.

“Some of the breeding associations cite examples of indexes plummeting and it very much looks like the large-bodied animals have been the fall guy in this re-evaluation, with lighter animals climbing, in some instances, up the index scale.

“All of these changes mean only one thing for beef suckler farmers – a drop in prices.

“This will have a devastating impact on so many farming families who depend hugely on the income derived from cattle sales.

“In recent years, suckler farming has very much become the poor relation of dairy farming and we need to do everything we can to protect this vital sector of our economy.

“I am being inundated with calls from beef farmers throughout the county and indeed elsewhere in the country – and being a suckler farmer myself, with a herd of Hereford and Shorthorn cattle, I can absolutely empathise with their situation.

“I also find it illogical that members of the ICBF board signed off on these new evaluations given that they themselves represent farming organisations and the breeding sector.

“A row back has to happen, and I think the obvious thing to do now is to suspend all changes until proper stakeholder consultation begins – as promised – in the spring period.”


Long-awaited sewerage schemes finally delivered for Broadford and Cooraclare

  • Minister O’Brien has confirmed funding for vital schemes
  • Both villages waiting decades for news


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed news that the long-awaited sewerage schemes for the villages of Broadford and Cooraclare have been confirmed.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien has confirmed this morning a €50 million rural wastewater collection and treatment scheme and has confirmed the inclusion of both Broadford and Cooraclare in the same.

“I am so pleased today to finally have received confirmation on the long-awaited sewerage schemes for these two villages,” said Deputy Crowe.

“When Fianna Fáil entered government in 2020, I was asked by party leadership what issues I wanted to see included in the Programme for Government.

“I said that the provision of rural sewerage schemes would be a redline issue for me and I am delighted that I have been able to pursue this issue in government and now secure the necessary funding from Minister Darragh O’Brien.

“Both villages have waited many decades for such infrastructure and local action groups in both areas have been frustrated at the length of time it took to achieve this.

“Rural villages have long been a priority of mine, as without a sewerage scheme, these villages can’t grow, housing cannot be provided and there’s also the ongoing environmental hazard of raw sewerage being discharged into drains and watercourses that has the potential of contaminating drinking waters.

“It’s regrettable that politicians and governments that served Co. Clare over the years didn’t deliver on this scheme heretofore.

“However, Minister O’Brien has been very proactively engaging with me on this issue and visited Broadford back in summer 2021 to see for himself how needed a scheme like this is.

“In recent weeks, he gave notice to Oireachtas representatives that he would be imminently signing off on the scheme – so I’ve been over and back in trying to pin down a date since then.

“I will be pushing to have this pilot scheme now made a multi-annual scheme – there are more villages in Clare that will need this level of investment.

“I want to also pay tribute to the Broadford Action Group led by PJ Mason and Cllr Bill Chambers and the late Brendan Daly in Cooraclare who have fought doggedly for this day – as well as the other elected representatives.”



Aer Lingus’ Shannon-Boston flights temporarily cancelled in lead-in to Christmas

  • Operations between Dec 11th & 17th impacted
  • Comes ahead of busy Christmas schedule


Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Tourism and Aviation Cathal Crowe is expressing disappointment at the cancellation of Aer Lingus’ Boston flights to and from Shannon Airport at one of the busiest times of the year.

The airline has confirmed that its flights between Boston Shannon are not operating between December 11th and 17th, with passengers booked onto various services being accommodated on flights in and out of Dublin instead.

There have also been some ongoing tactical cancellations in Dublin Airport.

“It’s very disappointing to see this happening,” said Deputy Crowe.

“We are building up to the Christmas season – a time of year when there’s usually an increase to air travel, as people fly home to Shannon to spend time with loved ones.

“For decades, Shannon Airport has beena famous gateway to expats and Irish immigrants in North America who yearn to be home at Christmas time and many Irish people have in recent years tried to squeeze in a visit to iconic US cities like New York in the build-up to December 25th.

“Whilst I appreciate that the technical difficulties that Aer Lingus are experiencing are unavoidable, it’s unfortunate that Shannon Airport has to lose out on one of the busiest weeks of the year.

“Transatlantic flights to and from Shannon are an integral part of Aer Lingus’s annual flight schedule.

“Passengers will be very discommoded by this move but Aer Lingus have assured me that they will accommodate them on alternative flights in and out of Ireland.

“I’ve been in contact with Aer Lingus on the matter but there’s very little change that can be politically affected here, as Aer Lingus trade as a commercial company and make all of their own decisions.

“I hope that 2024 will see Aer Lingus and other airlines, including Ryanair, commit heavily to Shannon Airport once again.

“Shannon has enjoyed a great resurgence since Ireland has emerged from the Covid pandemic but Shannon Airport management, and the many people in the Midwest region who are staunch advocates for the airport feel that it can grow even further.

“As my party’s Aviation Spokesperson and a TD for Clare I will continue to work to ensure Shannon’s future growth.”

Statement from Aer Lingus

“Aer Lingus has had to make a number of tactical cancellations to our US operations between 11th and 17th Dec due to aircraft availability in this period. Any impacted customers have been re-accommodated onto alternative flights and will reach their US destinations. We plan to operate flights over the Christmas period as scheduled. Flights in both directions are impacted and it’s only Boston for the relevant period. There have been ongoing tactical cancellations in Dublin also.”