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Absence of an electric vehicle (EV) charging point in the entirety of East Clare has been described as “an awful indictment” with plans in place to address the dearth of the infrastructure.

A Clare EV Strategy is to be developed by Clare County Council, senior executive engineer in the roads and transportation department confirmed. As part of this, mapping of existing chargers, current usage, likely demand, design of on-street chargers and its rollout will be examined.

Cllr Pat Hayes (FF) queried at Monday’s meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District what proposals were being progressed to install charging points in the towns and villages of East Clare. “These facilities are critically important, in light of Government policy and urgency is required to address this issue”.

Ms O’Sullivan confirmed that a national strategy will inform the Clare equivalent. She said engagement has commenced with ESB networks, EV charging companies, retail providers and car park owners. She was hopeful new charging points would be installed in the county in the third and fourth quarter of this year.

She said a small-scale pilot project for the installation of on-street chargers is due to commence this year. “There is a need for charging points in the Killaloe Municipal District, I will touch base with councillors and staff to bring it further. The Killaloe MD will definitely be in the mix when new charging points are added, there is a glaring need for it in the Killaloe MD”.

Speaking on Monday, Cllr Hayes commented, “there isn’t a charging point in our District, that is an awful indictment to a district”. He noted that measures are in place to encourage greater EV ownership “but we don’t even have a temporary charging point”. He referenced the planning conditions associated with some new housing estates where the presence of EV charging points is a requirement.

He continued, “I think it is an emergency trying to sort this, it is like broadband people are looking to see if charging points are there before they stay in an area. There is an urgency and we can’t wait. Maybe the fact that we have nothing in East Clare, we might get the charging points as a pilot, it is an indictment on the State”. Hayes suggested the area office in Scariff be used as a temporary location for a charging point, “we can’t go into another summer and wait”.

All members of the public must “buy into climate action plans,” Cllr Tony O’Brien (FF) stated while seconding Hayes’ proposal. “It is imperative that we try get a charging point in the Municipal District,” the Killaloe representative said.

Cathaoirleach of the Killaloe MD, Cllr Joe Cooney (FG) quipped that O’Callaghans Mills would be “very central” to locate the charging point.

“It has become a new phenomenon recently, we are behind the curve a little bit,” acting senior executive officer, Morgan Lahiffe acknowledged. He outlined that provision has been made in the regeneration plans for Scariff to include a charging point in the centre of the town and also for Killaloe in its mobility plan.

Senior executive engineer, Niamh Madden said staff in the Killaloe MD were “constantly thinking about” charging points. She said initial underground works had been completed in Quin but there was insufficient funds for the charging points which were “very expensive” and run into “thousands and thousands” of euros.

Location of the charging points must be strategic, Cllr Pat Burke (FG) stressed and mentioned beside coffee shops in East Clare, “they have to be strategic, we can’t put them anywhere willy nilly”.

Costs associated with the charging points were striking, Cllr Alan O’Callaghan (FF) observed, “it is not a kettle or a toaster” he remarked of the kilowatts required. “It is a huge whole network that has to be able to drive these facilities for the charging points”.

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