€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.”


€4.6m in funding for Shannon Airport – Crowe

  • Largest portion of funding for airfield rehabilitation
  • Two sustainability projects also funded


Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Aviation and Tourism Cathal Crowe has welcomed the allocation of €4,623,486 in capital funding to Shannon Airport.

Minister of State for Transport Jack Chambers has confirmed the funding today, as part of his visit to the Midwest airport.

“This is a hugely welcome announcement for Shannon, for Clare and the Midwest region as a whole,” said Deputy Crowe.

“The largest portion of funding will go towards airfield restoration, which will build on a five-year upgrade to the airfield completed last week.

“This is the most essential part of the announcement as it ensures that Shannon is capable of taking in aircraft safely and effectively.

“There is also further investment of €396,000 in the security screening section for equipment upgrades.

“This, combined with the extensive new screening system rolled out 18 months ago, means Shannon has one of the most up to date systems available.

“Last summer, Shannon Airport announced plans to spend €22m on three new airbridges and this project will be enabled to continue, with an investment of €1.3m for these works.

“Finally, over €600,000 has been ringfenced for two sustainability projects – €450,000 to continue the upgrade of water supply system, and €158,736 for electric vehicles to replace some of the existing airport vehicles.

“It is, I believe, particularly welcome to see a positive development for Shannon in light of Vueling’s recent decision not to maintain its Shannon to Paris Orly route that launched last year.

“An investment of €4.6m in improving facilities at Shannon can only encourage other airlines to look to our airport for future route planning.

“The future is bright for Shannon Airport and this investment is indicative of that.”

Grant details

No. Project Sustainability


Scheme Proposed Grant

1. Airfield Rehabilitation Project No CAPEX 2,250,000
2. Continuation airbridge replacement programme No CAPEX 1,368,750
3. Continuation water supply system upgrade Yes CAPEX 450,000
4. Replacement of 4 airport vehicles with Electric Vehicles Yes CAPEX 158,736
5. Security Screening Equipment Upgrades No PPR-C 396,000
  Total     4,623,486


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.”


€4.5 million for Clare Active Travel infrastructure

  • 28 projects county-wide to benefit
  • Funding targets walking and cycling infrastructure


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed the allocation of €4.5 million in funding for Clare County Council, for the progression of Active Travel infrastructure around the county.

The funding has been announced today by the National Transport Authority and Minister Eamon Ryan, as part of a total national fund of €290m.

The grants will see new and improved walking and cycling infrastructure across the county progress.

“I’m delighted to see such a generous portion of funding allocated to Co. Clare,” said Deputy Crowe.

“I think one very important point to make today is that while walking and cycling infrastructure is very beneficial for the tourist trade – particularly in a county like Clare – it’s also essential that we maintain a good level of service to those living locally to allow them to walk and cycle where possible.

“I cycle from Heuston Station to Leinster House every day when I’m in Dublin so I see first-hand how vital it is to invest properly in this infrastructure.

“We, as a country and as a government, are working hard to reduce our emissions in transport by 50% by 2030 and I think investment in cycling is a key part of this.

“It’s very encouraging, also, to see such a wide spread of grants around the county.

“Ennis is benefitting enormously from this funding, with over €2.2m ringfenced for the county town.

“The main thoroughfares into the town will be targeted here; with Active Travel Schemes for the Lahinch, Gort and Limerick Roads all earmarked for funding, as well as a massive €1.8m for the Tulla Road Rapid Implementation Active Travel Scheme.

“Communities in Shannon, Sixmilebridge, Tulla, Ardnacrusha, Miltown Malbay, Spanish Point, Killaloe, and so many other areas will all receive grants too.

“As a former teacher in a rural school, I’m also pleased to see that six primary schools in the county will receive funding for Safe Routes to School projects – a programme designed to encourage as many pupils and students as possible to walk and cycle.”


€2.9m for Clare under Community Recognition Fund

  • Funding to support communities that have welcomed Ukrainians and other nationalities
  • Will benefit sports clubs, community organisations, transport infrastructure and local groups


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed the allocation of over €2.9 million in funding for Clare County Council, under the Community Recognition Fund.

The initiative is aimed at communities that have, in recent times, welcomed people from Ukraine and other countries, to support them to cater for their new populations.

“It’s wonderful to see Clare get such a significant chunk of this €50 million national fund,” said Deputy Crowe.

“Communities across the county here have extended the warm hand of welcome to so many people from Ukraine, and indeed other countries, over the past 12 months and while everybody has put their shoulder to the wheel and helped to welcome and integrate them, local resources have of course been stretched.

“This €2.9m funding will be used for a number of projects including the refurbishment of local sports clubs and facilities; the upgrade of community facilities such as play areas, walkways, parks and community gardens; the purchase of equipment to benefit local clubs, festivals, music and arts organisations; the enhancement of school or parish facilities that are open to the wider community after hours or on weekends and transport infrastructure such as community vehicles and bus shelters.

“The significant investment in these projects will benefit all members of the community in each place that is successful in seeking funding.

“The funding will be drawn down over 2023 and 2024.

“Any community or voluntary group that feels it could benefit from this fund is encouraged to engage with Clare County Council directly over the coming weeks to ensure their fair share of funding.”


Must think outside the box to tackle hospital overcrowding

  • Meeting held between HSE and Oireachtas members
  • Number of measures must now be considered


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling for outside-the-box thinking when it comes to tackling hospital overcrowding in the Midwest – up to and including the use of local hotels for short-term bed capacity.

It follows a meeting held this morning between Midwest Oireachtas members, the UL Hospitals Group and the HSE, attended by an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and chaired by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

“I think the current crisis demands a thinking outside-the-box approach and we saw how successful that worked during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Deputy Crowe.

“There was a time when using hotel bedrooms and larger communal rooms, such as function rooms, to provide public healthcare would have been unthinkable, indeed many would have scoffed at the idea but there is a trialled and tested precedent in recent years.

“Prior to Covid, management at the UHL Maternity Hospital procured rooms at Limerick’s Strand Hotel and during Covid countless sports halls, large public venues and hotels were swiftly converted into acute healthcare environments.

“It is widely anticipated that a further 96 bed block will be applied for UHL this year but the construction and fulfilment of that could take more than 2 years and I don’t think the mid-west region can wait that long.

“Management at Tallaght University Hospital acquired a vacant retail building, across the road from their main hospital building, to open the Reeves Day Surgery Centre in 2020; by the same token, I has suggested to the Taoiseach, Minister Stephen Donnelly and Professor Colette Cowan that the Limerick South Court Hotel, less than a kilometre from UHL, should be considered as an additional capacity building option on an interim basis.

“In terms of other pressure-alleviating measures are concerned, I am becoming increasingly confident that the HSE will enhance operations at Nenagh General Hospital’s Medical Assessment Unit so, like Ennis General Hospital, it will be able to receive ambulances and provide immediate care to patients who have been triaged and screened by paramedics.”


Ennis General Hospital’s potential must be realised to tackle Midwest health system issues

  • Medical Assessment and Local Injuries Units have major role to play
  • 2009 decision to close A&E was wrong


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling on the HSE and the government to ensure 24-hour intermediate care at Ennis General Hospital is prioritised, to tackle emergency department overcrowding in the Midwest.

It comes as a pilot project to bring patients directly to Ennis, as opposed to the region’s main hospital, gets underway as one of the measures to ease severe and consistent overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick.

“The movement of ambulance patients to the Medical Assessment Unit at Ennis General Hospital this week has been a positive step,” said Deputy Crowe.

“I am confident that this intervention will help alleviate the inordinate pressures felt at UHL’s emergency department.

“It makes so much sense for patients in Clare to be treated in Clare where possible, and whilst many people in the south of our county are geographically closer to UHL, this decision is a major boost for those living in the west and north of our county.

“When I meet with HSE and UHL senior management this week, I intend to make the case for this arrangement to become a more permanent one and I also think it’s time to start looking at having the MAU and local injuries unit at Ennis General open on a 24/7 basis.

“This Christmas period once again laid bare how pressurised the public health system is in the Midwest region and the most tragic manifestation of this was the death of Aoife Johnston.

“No action by hospital management or government can ease the pain felt by her loved ones.

“I have now served almost three years as a TD for Clare and it is more obvious than ever that the decision taken in 2009 when my own party was in government to close the 24-hour A&E in Ennis General Hospital was absolutely wrong.

“At the time, it was touted that the closure would help to develop a centre of excellence in Limerick but this has never happened and if anything, things have gotten a lot worse over the past decade.

“Since 2009, various governments have stripped back Ennis General Hospital to the point that now it would be an incredibly difficult challenge to reopen a 24-hour A&E there – however, we should aim to significantly bolster the MAU and local injuries unit there.”


Government must retain reduced tourism VAT rate

  • Rate subject to review by end of February
  • Current 9% reduction should stay in place


Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Tourism Cathal Crowe is calling on government to bring certainty to the tourism sector by retaining the lower VAT rate that the industry is subject to.

Following Budget 2023, it was announced that the reduced rate of 9% would be extended until the end of February, at which stage it would be reviewed.

“I am calling on the government to bring certainty to the VAT rate applicable for the tourism and hospitality sector,” said Deputy Crowe.

“At the moment, it’s subject to a reduced rate of 9% introduced in 2021 as a way of stimulating activity in these sectors and giving businesspeople in tourism and hospitality some much-needed financial breathing space.

“On Budget Day, it was announced that this VAT rate would be reviewed at the end of February and many people who work in this sector saw this as an early warning that the rate would climb back up to the normal 13.5%.

“Now that we have finally reached 2023, many commentators are predicting a slump for tourism and hospitality this year and these sectors very much remain in recovery mode following the Covid pandemic.

“In order to allow them to rebuild, we need to ensure that the VAT rate is kept as low as possible and it is my sincere hope that it remains at 9%.

“The input costs for those in tourism and hospitality have also risen exponentially in recent months and colossal utility bills have already put some out of business.

“Many of the rising costs are being passed onto the consumer and I fear that if we tinker around with the VAT rate next month, it could have the unintended consequence of making commodities in these sectors more expensive and thereby discourage consumers from spending.

“January is typically a month where families begin to plan their summer holidays and for this reason, among others, I think it’s important to nail down VAT rates and pricing for the months ahead.

“January is also a slim trading month for many bars and restaurants after a busy Christmas season.

“They too want some certainty sooner rather than waiting until the end of February.

“Tourism and hospitality are vital to the Irish economy and as a representative for Co. Clare I know all too well the positive impact it’s had for us here locally – with more than 12,500 people employed in the sector.

“It’s vital that we act now to protect it.”


Almost €800,000 in funding for community centres in Clare

  • Seven groups to benefit from grants for upgrade/development works
  • Funding available under three categories


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed the allocation of almost €800,000 in funding for seven community centres across Co. Clare.

The funding, which has been unveiled today by Minister Heather Humphreys, will go towards upgrade and development works, with grants of up to €300,000 available.

“Today’s announcement is of massive benefit to Clare and the community centres here in our county,” said Deputy Crowe.

“I’m a regular user of these centres and halls for my monthly clinics and I’m always so impressed by the work that the groups carry out to keep their centres going – all of these people are volunteers and I think many of us take for granted the work that they do.

“Newmarket-on-Fergus will receive the largest grant in the county of €285,000, which will be used to renovate and repair the main hall, toilets and changing facilities, as well the installation of solar panels and LED lightning.

“This centre has already undergone an impressive transformation so Newmarket really will have one of the best of these facilities in the county.

“The 12th Clare Tulla Scout Group has also been granted an impressive €200,000, while Broadford Development Association has been allocated €194,625.

“All of these are in the top bracket – Category 3 – while there’s three more in Category 2.

“They are Ballynacally Development Association and Lissycasey Pastoral Council, both of which have been granted €25,000, and St Patrick’s Hall in Corofin which has been granted €57,400.

“The only Category 1 project in Clare is Kilfenora Community Centre, which has been given a grant of €6,800.

“In all cases, these grants are going to make a significant difference to the voluntary committees who put so much effort into securing such funding for their centres and I know that it’ll mean a major boost for each community.

“I very much look forward to my next round of clinics, to speak to each of these committees again and hear more about their plans.”