Broadband, employment and the future of West Clare dominated proceedings in the final of the Clare FM local election debates.
Independent candidates Joseph Woulfe and Noreen Lynch, Fine Gael hopeful Mike Taylor and Fianna Fáil runner Cillian Murphy joined sitting Fianna Fáil Councillor Bill Chambers for last evening’s discussion.
It’s now just over a week to the local and European elections polling day and in the final debate on Clare FM, the last of the Kilrush electoral area candidates discussed the issues presenting on doorsteps in their neck of the woods.
Employment creation once again reared its head as a prominent concern, as did infrastructure including roads and broadband and the future of West Clare for generations to come.
On that topic, Fianna Fáil hopeful Cillian Murphy, who lives in Kilkee, expressed his concern that there’s nothing there to bring back those who grew up in the area when they want to settle down.
Fine Gael candidate Mike Taylor – himself one of the county’s youngest candidates – agrees that there’s not much there for young people.
The 20 year old wants to see the National Broadband Plan rolled out quickly and in its current form, to ensure that basic infrastructure is in place for those living in rural Clare.
Noreen Lynch is a native of Dublin, who moved to West Clare as part of the Rural Resettlement Ireland scheme.
Though she feels it’s a great place to live, the Independent candidate says more needs to be put in place for people both young and old so they have something to do.
Tourism also drove the debate, with Fianna Fáil Councillor Bill Chambers expressing concern that, while West Clare enjoys heavy footfall in peak season, many visitors are not choosing to stay locally.
Quilty man Joseph Woulfe, who is running as an Independent candidate, feels farmers and local producers can be taking advantage of the level of tourists coming to the region.
He believes there’s strong interest in local, organic produce.
Last evening’s discussion concludes the Clare FM local debates, and you can listen back to the debate in full below.