Over €4.3 million in funding for Shannon Airport

  • Latest tranche of funding has been issued
  • Shannon benefits due to lower passenger numbers in pandemic


Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Tourism and Aviation Cathal Crowe has welcomed the latest tranche of funding for Shannon Airport.

The airport has been allocated a further €4,347,750, through the Regional Airports Programme 2021-2025, announced in the Budget.

“Growth in Shannon Airport is better than many would’ve anticipated for 2022,” said Deputy Crowe.

“In its past 2 budgets the government has committed unprecedented levels of funding for regional airports.

“Being a regional state airport, Shannon wouldn’t ordinarily qualify for this funding – nor would Cork – but due to lower passenger numbers in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the Covid pandemic, the draw-down of this finance has been made possible.

“I recently met with representatives for IATA and they, along with others in the aviation industry, are now predicting that a recovery to pre-pandemic air travel could be achieved by 2024, rather than the previous estimate of 2025.

“There’s much to be optimistic about in Shannon Airport with transatlantic flights now very much resumed and Ryanair offering a bumper season of inbound and outbound flights.

“Also, with a new chairperson at the helm working in tandem with Mary Considine, we’re all hoping for further growth at the airport.

“I recently accompanied a group of senators and assembly members from New Jersey, USA to the airport and I am in talks with them and other foreign dignitaries in terms of developing new potential air routes from Shannon.”


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.”


€4.6m Sports Capital Grant Funding for Clare clubs

  • Part of €150m million investment in sport
  • Significant boost for variety of clubs

Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed the allocation of over €4.6 million in Sports Capital Grant funding to 69 clubs in Clare.

Minister for Sport Jack Chambers has today confirmed that his department will issues grants totalling €150m to clubs nationally under the latest round of funding of this programme.

“I’m delighted to see this huge investment in sports facilities throughout Co. Clare,” said Deputy Crowe.

“I have spent a number of months criss-crossing the county meeting sports clubs, community groups and a broad spectrum of people who enjoy using these fantastic facilities and I’ve worn a path to Minister Chambers’ office to try to secure funding for them.

“I love sports myself and played with my local GAA club in Meelick and also played rugby growing up.

“In more recent years, I’ve been involved in coaching hurling, football and rugby teams when I was teaching in Parteen NS and I’m proud to say that my children are now playing with a number of our local teams.

“Time spent involved in sports is golden time for young people and it’s only right that we invest in the facilities that improve participation.

“This year, Minister Chambers placed particular emphasis on clubs that prioritised female participation and also reached out to others in the community.

“I’ve been hugely impressed by the way in which some of our county’s sports clubs have teamed up with the likes of disability groups and active retirement groups.

“Many of our county’s sports fields are these days not just used for training sessions and matches but also by local people walking and jogging to keep fit.

“In this sense, sports clubs have become much more inclusive and really are the backbone of the community.

“Our collective experience of Covid over the past two years has really made us appreciate community and community organisations all the more.

“I hope over the next 12 months, a new round of applications for Sports Capital Funding can be announced and I will again help Clare sports groups to achieve a maximum allocation within this.”


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.”


New school to replace Mary Immaculate College, Lisdoonvarna

  • Department officials deemed new site optimum solution


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed confirmation from Education Minister Norma Foley that a new school building on a new site will be progressed to replace Mary Immaculate College, Lisdoonvarna.

“It’s hugely welcome news to see that this much-needed replacement school will see the light of day,” said Deputy Crowe.

“As someone with 15 years of teaching in classrooms, I know only too well the need for learning facilities to be of a high standard and Mary Immaculate College in Lisdoonvarna is an old building which has reached an end-of-life point in terms of being an educational facility.

“I’m glad that the department have taken the decisive decision to now progress this to an outright new build.

“Now the real work begins in terms of identifying a new site and engaging proactively with school patrons to progress a design, obtain planning permission and to bring this to the point of construction.”

Approval of student teachers for subbing could add 1,000 to workforce

  • Department has given green light
  • Vital to meet shortfall in substitute teachers


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed the confirmation that a cohort of student teachers will be permitted to fill in for schools where substitute teachers are scarce.

Following positive engagement between the Department of Education and Higher Education Institutions who provide primary initial teacher education programmes, it has been agreed to facilitate release of PME and B.Ed. year 3 and year 4 students to support schools up to the end of term.

They have also agreed to explore flexible options in relation to the assessment requirement for programmes in the context of students being available to support schools.

“This is a suggestion I had brought directly to Minister Norma Foley over the past fortnight and I saw first-hand how schools have been struggling – but in particular, I felt that there was a potential role to be played by student teachers,”

“These are teachers who have largely completed their degree – following the Christmas break, they’re down to examinations and project work.

“Their teaching practice placements have largely been fulfilled and so too have most of their pedological studies.

“It makes sense that we would deploy them to the frontline at this time of crisis.

“The cumulative effect of having student teachers from all colleges could add an additional 1,000 teachers to classroom duties over the coming weeks, which would significantly alleviate the current problem.

“I’m glad also that teachers on secondment to the PDST will also now, in many instances, return to the classroom.

“These are teachers who ordinarily would be teaching their own class but they’re now working with the Department of Education to assist with the upskilling and continuous professional development in the areas of literacy and numeracy.

“I believe that there is still a role for the inspectorate to also help at this time and I hope that the cumulative efforts of all of these groups will address the significant shortfall in terms of substitute teachers that we, as a country, are facing at this time.

“As always, until such a time that the shortage has been met, I stand ready to assist with schools in Clare in cases where I will not displace any other teacher.”


Urgent independent inquiry into Irish Coast Guard management needed

  • Oireachtas Transport Committee discussing Doolin Coast Guard
  • Doolin branch must get back up and running


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling for an urgent independent inquiry to be established to examine the central management system of the Irish Coast Guard.

The Oireachtas Transport Committee is sitting today, with Eugene Clonan, acting director of the Irish Coast Guard, Deirdre O’Keeffe, assistant secretary general at the Department of Transport, and other officials appearing before the members to discuss the ongoing controversy surrounding the Doolin station.

An independent mediator has been appointed in the form of Kieran Mulvey to oversee talks aimed at reaching a resolution in the dispute, but Deputy Crowe believes it is now time to take things one step further.

“The Irish Coast Guard, it appears to me, is in a state of organisational rot,” said Deputy Crowe.

“Since the Doolin Coast Guard controversy first emerged, I’ve been speaking extensively with volunteers associated with the station as well as the Irish Coast Guard Volunteers Representative Association.

“To quote directly from the ICGVRA – ‘Irish Coast Guard members are afraid to raise issues in coastguard units or with Irish coastguard management for fear of retribution by way of disciplinary action’.”

“This, simply, isn’t right and needs to be addressed by means of an independent inquiry into how the organisation’s central axis works – it’s clear to me that there are deep problems running from the higher echelons of management right down to each station around the country, and Doolin isn’t alone in experiencing this.

“Furthermore, and more urgently, I believe work needs to immediately be undertaken to get the Doolin Coast Guard station back up and running.

“All Doolin Coastguard volunteers live locally and are ready to respond within minutes.

“Other stakeholders, which are now expected to provide cover are too far away – the Kilkee Coast Guard Unit is 55 km away; the fire brigade based in Ennistymon 18km away; the Civil Defence in Ennis is 32km away.

“Perhaps most worryingly of all, the Aran Island lifeboat, operating in average sea conditions, takes about 60 mins, including launch time to get from Inis Mór to Doolin. The average launch time at Doolin is 15 to 20 minutes.

“A prolonged closure simply isn’t an option.

“We need action to be taken immediately to address the issues present in the Irish Coast Guard, for the safety of the volunteers but moreover to allow them to effectively continue to save the many lives they save on an annual basis.

“There is no other option here – we can’t afford to put this on the long finger.”