Lynch promises to ‘shake up’ council

JUST minutes after Ian Lynch was deemed elected to Clare County Council for the first time, Fine Gael co-ordinator Jim Madden shook the Independent councillor’s hand.

The former Fine Gael man had been unsuccessful at the party’s convention last November and decided to go it alone in an attempt to secure a seat for the town of Kilrush.

Shortly after he realised that ambition, the outgoing Kilrush town councillor and new county councillor promised “to shake up” the new county council.

Asked if his election was Fine Gael’s loss, Cllr Lynch said, “I don’t know whose loss it is; it is a gain for West Clare. I put myself forward. I was always going to run the race. People voted for me and my job is to serve the people. Parties shouldn’t come into this level of politics. Parties are for a bigger arena. I put myself forward as an Independent candidate and I got elected to the seat as an Independent and I have a lot of work to do now,” he said.

His former colleague on Kilrush Town Council Marian McMahon Jones (FG), who was eliminated on the fourth count, also wished the new councillor well, saying she was happy that the town of Kilrush had a candidate.

Cllr Lynch believes his work on the town council helped his work, but realised it was always going to be an uphill battle for a newcomer to be elected in the West Clare area, where nine sitting councillors were going for eight seats.

“The last few weeks of the canvass were crazy. I am not sure who was pregnant there for a while, me or Rene,” he said referring to his partner, whom he has promised to take on a long weekend away to make up for his absence over the last number of months.


Fianna Fáil back on top in Clare

FIANNA FÁIL has returned to party political dominance in Clare County Council and with the support of the three Independent councillors of Fianna Fáil origin, the party could take control of the chamber.

Councillors Michael Begley (Killaloe), Cllr James Breen (Ennis) and Cllr PJ Ryan (Shannon) are well positioned to be king-makers, or in this case mayor-makers, in the new 28 seat council.

Although the party increased its overall first preference vote by just .2 per cent, its representation on Clare County Council has increased from 34.4 per cent to 42.8 per cent. In the 2009 local election Fianna Fáil won 11 seats in a 32 member council. In 2014 the number increased to 12 in a 28 seat council.

Director of Elections for the party in Clare Gerry Reidy believes with a bit more vote management the party may have even secured two more seats and brought the number to one seat short of an overall majority.

“We had great potential to get two more seats. If we had managed the vote that Cathal [Crowe] got better, and he got an amount of that from the Cratloe area, we could have got in Pat O’Gorman because he was only beaten by a short margin of votes,” he said.

“Cathal is a brilliant campaigner, and it is only afterwards when you see the benefit of his work you think we might have had a different conversation about some of these places.”

The Fianna Fáil man also questions how the party did not win a seat in Kilkee and were beaten to that seat by a Government councillor.

“There is a lot of controversy in Kilkee over the damage the storms have done and Pat Keane would have highlighted constantly, but you have the situation where the councillor that was in the Government Party got in, and the councillor in opposition did not.”

While congratulating the 12 Fianna Fáil councillors, Mr Reidy said he was also aware of those that were not elected across all parties and none, and was aware of how difficult that was on them and their families.

The party lost just two casualties in the election – Cllr Brian Meaney who was elected a Green Party councillor in 2009 but transferred to Fianna Fáíl in April 2013.

Cllr Pat Keane also lost his seat in the new West Clare Electoral Area.


Chambers wants West on the map

HE MAY have been close to the relegation battle in West Clare, but Bill Chambers (FF) was never likely to be left without a seat when the music stopped. After a long day at the count centre at the West County Hotel, and an even longer six months of campaigning, the Cooraclare man said he was never really doubtful of losing his seat, but he was a little nervous.

“It was a great day, I’m delighted. I would like to commiserate with my two colleaugues Oliver Garry (FG) and Pat Keane (FF),” he said.

“We have been in the council together now for a lot of years, they are two gentlemen and I’m really sorry that they have to leave us. As for myself, I wasn’t really that doubtful about I [being re-elected], but I was a bit nervous.”

Chambers has also called for all of the newly elected or re-elected councillors in the West Clare area to work together to serve the need of the massive constituency.

“It’s a completely new council now. Our electoral area has nearly trebled in size from what it was and the town council is gone in Kilrush. We’ll have to focus on looking after Kilrush and the rest of the West Clare areas. But in particular Kilrush, with the council gone, and Kilkee as well has also lost a town council,” he said.

“I will be appealing to the eight councillors to work together. The eight councillors will have to perform and get West Clare on the map, promote industry and tourism.”


Nagle calls for united front

RICHARD Nagle (FF) has called on the eight councillors elected to the new West Clare Area to work together to insure that enough money can be obtained to keep services in the massive constituency on track. The new area comprises almost half of County Clare, making it one of the largest and most rural electoral areas in Ireland.

“There are a lot of challenges. The West Clare area is vast and predominantly rural. We need to ensure that that the area gets proper funding to enable services to be maintained. There are eight councillors, it is important that those councillors work together for the best interests of the area,” he said.

“We have a big challenge to ensure that we get adequate funding from central government. We got the third lowest Local Government Fund in the country this year. With the introduction of the property charge people rightly expect a level of service, regardless of whether they are urban or rural dwellers. The Ennistymon councillor also paid tribute to everyone who helped in his campaign. “It was extremely challenging. The area covers 47 per cent of the county and it was impossible for any candidate to cover all of the areas. It was extremely demanding. But people were very courteous on the doors for the most part. Some people had very serious issues that they raised, which is what you want to hear on a canvass so you can be aware of them and deal with them. There is a lot of work to be done,” he said. “I’m absolutely thrilled and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who voted for me, to thank all of the people who helped me to get elected and a special word of thanks to my family, for the help and support that they gave me throughout the campaign.”


A family affair for Hillery

MICHAEL Hillery paid tribute to the support of family and friends after retaining his seat on Clare County Council.

The Fianna Fáil man was elected on the 11th county after securing a total vote of 1883.

“I’m absolutely delighted. It was a very hard campaign and at the end of the day it has worked out for me and I’m delighted that I have been elected,” said Hillery in the West County Hotel on Sunday night.

“It was very, very hotly contested at the doorsteps and I am delighted to have got through”, revealed a re- lieved Hillery.

The man from Spanish Point was quick to pay tribute to the support he received from his family though a long campaign.

“The main thing that got me over the line was the support I got from my family and also the support I got from all the canvassers, all the people that gave up their time freely to come out canvassing with me. I think that’s what really got me over the line; they gave me encouragement during the campaign to keep going when things weren’t going so well. People kept encouraging me to keep going, kept saying I’d make it and at the end of the day it worked out and I’m delighted with that”.

“I was very nervous all day because I didn’t know what way the situation was,” said Hillery of the see-saw battle for seats in West Clare.

He continued, “I know I started of with a quota of just over 1400 but I knew I had a battle on my hands. The people that were going to be eliminated early on were from the southern part of the constituency and I knew I would get very little transfers from those candidates. As it went along that’s what happened. I only went up after four or five eliminations. But when Gerard Kennedy was eliminated, it was from then on I started to move up and it looked like I was going to be elected and that’s the way it worked out”.


Slattery impressive

A FINE Gael councillor says he could not “defend the indefensible” when asked about Government decisions regarding the set up of Irish Water.

Lahinch based councillor, Bill Slattery (FG), who polled an impressive 1,792 first preference votes says he heard a lot of anger on doorsteps, especially when the money paid in Clare through the property tax “left the county” to fund Irish Water.

“It is going to be a challenging five year, it’s been a challenging canvass. A lot of people were very disillusioned with the austerity measures that came in. It was difficult for us, as Government councillors, to try and explain how this happened,” he said.

“Sometimes you could not defend the indefensible, like the property tax not being sent down to the county. People didn’t mind paying it, but when it was taken out of the county to set up Irish Water, people were very annoyed. People were very annoyed, it was very difficult for us councillors to explain that on the doors.

“I don’t mind water charges, because water has to be paid for, but the secretaries and chairpersons of Group Water Schemes don’t know how the billing is going to go. They don’t know is it going to be a metre on a bulk head and they will have to go after [members] for the money. They [Irish Water] haven’t really thought it out right and people were very dissillousioned about that as well.”

Cllr Slattery paid tribute to Senator Martin Conway for helping him in his campaign.

“I’m delighted with the vote. I really didn’t think I’d get that vote when I arrived here yesterday morning. I thought I’d get 1,400 maybe, but to get more then 1,700 – I was over the moon. Since I was co-opted for Martin [Senator Martin Conway (FG)] in June 2011, I knew that Martin would be a hard act to follow. I hit the ground running, got stuck into the local issues and with the help of Martin I was able to do a lot of things myself. I haven’t been idle in the last three years,” he said.


‘I did not expect to be standing here today’ – Clare

WHEN Clare Colleran Molloy FF and Mary Howard FG were elected to Clare County Council on the 20th and final Ennis count it brought to three the number of women that would serve on the next local authority.

The female complement on the new 28-seat council is still only 10 per cent of the overall council membership, but it is also a 200 per cent increase in female representation at county level.

It was feared that when Cllr Patrica McCarthy (Ind), the only woman on the current council, announced her retirement there would be a shortage of female candidate willing to come forward.

While there will be no female representation on the Killaloe, Shannon and West Clare Municipal Areas, Ennis will now have three.

Clare Colleran Molloy was the last of the three – which includes Ann Norton (Ind) – to be elected and the dark horse among the three.

Her election she admitted was a surprise even to herself.

“I am so thrilled first and foremost as a first time candidate that I got that vote of confidence from so many people and obviously it is reflective of all the hard work I put in along with my husband Tony. We started knocking on doors on February 6 and we had such a good team of not only family and friends but also good cumann Fianna Fáil support,” she said.

“I did not expect to be standing here today,” she said minutes after she was declared elected.

The woman from Quin explained that after hours of nervous energy on Saturday, she had resigned herself to the fact that she would not get the seat by the Sunday. Hours later she was elected.

The new councillor elect has already got a “baptism of fire” in the world of politics following a flow of comments on a public online forum caused her distress ahead of the election.

The barrister said she was currently having that issue dealt with and is looking forward to her new political career.


Howard’s ‘old fashioned’ approach wins

NEWLY elected councillor Mary Howard (FG) has promised that the dynamics of Clare County Council will “change completely” following an influx of new female candidates to the local authority.

Speaking after her election to Clare County Council on Sunday afternoon, Howard praised all the Clare women who put themselves forward for this local election.

“It’s great to see that we have great quality women candidates in Clare. They are hard working, they are clever and they have the passion and drive.

“The dynamic is going to change completely now [because of the women candidates],” she said.

The Ennis-based councillor, who was one of three Fine Gael councillors returned in the Ennis area, has credited an “old fashioned” approach to politics for her success at this election.

“It’s been a long few months, it’s been a hard battle and a big big area for us to cover, for all of us. I canvassed the old fashioned way, one foot in front of the other.

“We started in the bitter cold last winter and we finished up this week. Thank God it worked out the way I wanted it. I love my job and I have a great passion for where I live and I love what I do,” she said.

“When I got elected five years ago [to Ennis Town Council], there was such a transition in my life, a lot going on. So I decided that I would do it [politics] full time, to the best of my abilities.

“I decided that it would be a career choice for me. I have loved every minute of it.”

, Ogonolloe, Clare. Funeral Mass in St Molua’s Church, Ogonnelloe, today (Tuesday) at 12 noon followed by burial in Ogonnelloe cemetry. Donations if desired to Raheen Community Hospital. May she rest in peace.

, Cornmarket Street, Ennis/North Circular Road, former HSE Dublin and Oxmanstown, North Circular Road, Dublin 7 and late of Cornmarket Street, Ennis. Funeral Mass in Ennis Cathedral today (Tuesday) at 11 am. Burial afterwards in Drumcliffe Cemetery. May he rest in peace.

,Tullabrack, Kilrush. Peacefully at University Hospital Limerick. Laid to rest in Breassa Cemetery. May he rest in peace.

, Stewart Street, Kilrush. Funeral arriving at St. Senan’s Church, Kilrush, this morning (Tuesday) for 11amMass, burial afterwards in All Saints Cemetery, Shanakyle. May she rest in peace.

, Doolough, Connolly. Laid to rest in Coore. May he rest in peace.

Bridget HEHIR
, Boloughra, Cranny. Peacefully. Laid to rest in Cranny. May she rest in peace.

Sr Maria Goretti MCGRATH
, Convent of Mercy, Nenagh/Spanish Point, formerly of Garrykennedy, Portroe, at McAuley House, Limerick. Laid to rest in St Mary’s Convent Cemetery, Nenagh. May she rest in peace.

Michael Joseph QUINN
, Leopardstown/Inch, Laid to rest in Shanganagh Cemetery, Foxrock. May he rest in peace.

Johanna FITZGERALD (née Holohan)
, Toovahera, Lisdoonvarna. Laid to rest in Kilmoon cemetery. May she rest in peace.

, Stack’sVillas,Tralee, formerly of Newquay. Laid to rest in NewRath Cemetery, Tralee. May he rest in peace.

Nancy O’GRADY (née Duggan)
, Cahercanivan, Kilmihil. Peacefully. Laid to rest in Reilig Nua, Kilmihil. May she rest in peace.

, Deerpark, Doora, Ennis and formerly of Kings Road, Kildysart. Laid to rest in Kildysart Cemetery. May she rest in peace.

, Daughters of the Cross, Beech Park Convent, Dublin/Ennis. Laid to rest in Deans Grange Cemetery. Donations, if desired, to Blackrock Hospice. May she rest in peace.

Francis Glen FOY
, Killeen, Corofin. Peacefully. Laid to rest in Drumcliffe Cemetery. May he rest in peace.

, Birmingham, England and formerly of Clonfadda, Killaloe. Laid to rest in Bridgetown Church Grounds. Donations, if desired, to Milford Hospice. May he rest in peace.

, Sutton/Sixmilebridge. Suddenly at Marymount Care Centre,Westmanstown. Laid to rest in St Fintan’s Cemetery, Sutton. May she rest in peace.


Transfers see Norton crusade through

GIRL power is back in Clare County Council. The historically male dominated local authority has trebled its number of female councillors, from one to three, in this election.

Leading the charge was independent candidate Ann Norton, who was first woman elected to Clare County Council over the weekend.

“It’s good to have a female voice in the council.

“After Patricia [Patricia McCarthy (Ind)] announced that she was retir- ing, a lot of people were worried that there mightn’t be a lot of women on Clare County Council.

“Different people give different reasons why there aren’t more women running for election, but at the end of the day I don’t see it being any different whether you are male or female,” she said.

“I’m a mother of three children. I have plenty of energy and will give time and energy to Clare County Council, the same as I put into the Clare Crusaders Clinic and into my family.”

Norton, who was elected on the 18th count of a marathon Ennis count at the West County Hotel credits her transfer friendliness as one of the reasons why she was elected.

“I’m absolutely delighted, thrilled. I wasn’t expecting this at all. I knew it was going to be tough; 27 candidates was a lot in the Ennis area.

“I think, from yesterday, when the count came in, my number were quite high.

“The question was whether I’d get the transfers.

“It’s all very new to me but it worked. Being transfer friendly worked,” she said.


New hall and car park for Spanish Point school

THE Department of Education has granted approval for a new hall and an additional car park at St Joseph’s Secondar y School, Spanish Point.

The project is in addition to the new autism unit, which is expected to be completed later this year.

The two-room unit will be situated on the seaside of the secondary school.

Al ready teachers from the second- ar y school have under taken specialised training so that they can assist students from the unit who wish to under take some or all classes in the mainstream school.

The specialised autism unit will be staffed with exper t teachers and other staff, while the students who wish to can also avail of mainstream education.

As well as Depar tment of Education funding to build the unit, the school has also been supported by a number of local fundraisers to help stock the unit with state of the ar t equipment and props when it opens.

The car park and hall is a new addition to the campus.

Labour TD Michael McNamara said the approval of the hall will provide a facility for all who live in Spanish Point and its environs.

“This is excellent news. It is just two years ago since I first ar ranged a meeting with Principal Mary Crawford and Ruai rí Quinn. The project was delayed because of issues which arose in relation to the loss of rights of way to/from the school and the resultant need to provide additional car parking. These issues have now been resolved and the preparator y work can commence.

“This means the work of selecting the design team and building contractor can begin. Subject to a successful planning application, it is expected the new autism unit could be completed in time for the first intake of students in September 2015,” said Deputy McNamara.