East Clare Candidates Discuss Infrastructure And Rural Crime In Final Clare FM Local Election Debate

Photo (c) Clare FM

Infrastructure and rural crime were the main talking points of the final Clare FM local election debate.

It’s just two days until polling on June 7th when 59 candidates will be vying for 28 seats on Clare County Council.

Seven of the nine candidates running in the Killaloe Electoral Area have participated in today’s debate at Áras Contae an Chláir.


Listen to the full debate here. Continue reading below…

As a largely rural region where heavy goods vehicles and farming machinery are commonplace, the condition of East Clare’s roads has long been a bugbear of its residents and local representatives.

While local authorities receive funding in various forms for road maintenance, infrastructural improvements are also funded through Local Property Tax.

Mayor of Clare and Bodyke Fine Gael Councillor Joe Cooney claims those living in the east of the county feel they’re not getting the same value for money on their Local Property Tax as those in other areas.

Local opposition has frequently been expressed in East Clare to wind farm developments in recent times.

In February of this year, Clare County Council wrote to the Minister for the Environment requesting that plans for 66 turbines in East Clare be halted until updated wind farm guidelines are published.

The proposed developments would be located in Oatfield, Ballycar, Knockshanvo, Fahybeg, Carrownagowan and Lackareagh.

Killaloe Fianna Fáil Councillor Tony O’Brien believes having wind farms in East Clare is a net loss for the region.

Like many parts of the county, East Clare has been affected by the scourge of dereliction.

Since the introduction of the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant in late 2022, 24 applications have been approved in East Clare, accounting for 12% of total applications.

Mountshannon Social Democrats candidate Fiona Levie says the grant is helpful but local authorities need “more teeth” to tackle dereliction.

A common criticism of the grant has been that the applicant only receives the payment once works on their property have been completed.

Crusheen Sinn Féin candidate and Chair of the Clare Pyrite Action Group, Martina Cleary disputes the claim that the grant is the answer to revitalising vacant properties.

With burglary up 31% countywide so far this year, rural crime and the theft of farm machinery are an unfortunate reality in towns and villages across East Clare.

Maghera Fianna Fáil Councillor Pat Hayes is no stranger to crime – having had his car stolen in Clooney in 2020 while canvassing for Timmy Dooley.

He insists reporting instances of criminality is key to boosting Garda resources in an area.

Whitegate Fine Gael Pat Burke argues people aren’t bothering to report crime as they feel nothing will come of it, and claims those in his area don’t feel represented by their local Gardaí.

Much controversy has stemmed from the merging of Clare and Tipperary’s Garda Divisions last August and the effects it’s had on community policing.

Due to the merger, the communities served by Killaloe and Scariff Garda station fall under the East Clare Tipperary North Community Engagement Area, which as its headquarters in Nenagh.

Sixmilebridge Fianna Fáil Councillor Alan O’Callaghan believes East Clare residents are worse off now in terms of Garda representation.

Killaloe Green Party candidate Audrey Flynn and Broadford-based Independent Ireland candidate Matthew Moroney indicated they were unable to participate in the debate.