*Clare TD, Michael McNamara pictured behind Scariff captain Michael Scanlan after the East Clare club were crowned Clare IHC champions in 2020. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

A LAND DISPUTE resulted in Scariff GAA Club seeking legal advice after one of its members received a solicitor’s letter from a Clare TD.

In March 2022, a solicitor’s letter was issued to a project co-ordinator for development works within the grounds of Scariff GAA Club. The co-ordinator is actively involved as an officer of Scariff GAA.

Works to improve the car park have been completed, resulting in a better surface but also to allow for ambulance access onto the field. The works included building a 100m boundary wall to stop the slipping of soil from the hill leading down from the stands on the GAA grounds.

Land at the other side of the boundary wall is owned by the O’Grady family who are the foster parents of Clare TD, Michael McNamara (IND). Their land though not currently in use is claimed to have been interfered with as part of this project.

A solicitor’s letter was then issued to the project co-ordinator from Deputy McNamara advising him to stop the works to avoid the risk of further action.

Following on from this correspondence, a meeting of the Scariff GAA Executive took place via Zoom, the attendees included local solicitor James Nash. Correspondences were then exchanged between both parties with a resolution reached.

A lifelong supporter of the club, Deputy McNamara regularly attends championship games involving Scariff’s senior hurlers and frequent county final appearances of the Scariff/Ogonnelloe senior camogie side. He was among the limited amount of club spectators granted access to the 2020 Clare IHC final in Cusack Park when Scariff captained by Michael Scanlan defeated Tubber to seal a return to the senior ranks.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Chairperson of Scariff GAA, Ger Rodgers stated, “In every club there is always ongoing issues”. He said “all issues are resolved” regarding the situation with Deputy McNamara. “Everyone is working together towards improving amenities in the area,” he added.

Rodgers was Vice Chairperson when the letter arrived and admitted he was unaware if individuals encroached on the O’Grady’s land without permission.

Deputy McNamara when questioned on the matter for the first time insisted, “There wasn’t a legal threat to Scariff GAA, there was a dispute over land that I don’t own but have a duty of care to”. He later admitted that he was unaware if the individual who received the letter held a role on the club’s Executive. He added, “There was no legal letter sent to Scariff GAA Club, I conduct my business privately and discreetly”.

McNamara said the land is not in his ownership and was owned by his late parents. “It is awaiting administration,” he said of its current ownership. The TD voiced his surprise that the matter was known insisting that he hadn’t discussed the matter with anyone in the past year, only to raise concerns in confidence and felt “untrue” information had been circulated on the subject.

He added of his aunt and uncle’s land, “Just because somebody is dead doesn’t mean that there is nobody to look after their position or to protect the position of their estate. “I’m in a position that I have a legal responsibility to protect their position. I have always been discreet about my family … if I have a legal duty to protect something that is a position that I hold as a legal duty to protect it, I would have hoped”.

Acting to protect people who looked after him all his life was “an understandable thing,” Michael stated. “I was brought up by them, I lived with them since I was two weeks old. My aunt died in Raheen, my uncle died at home, I lived with them right through that. I’ve no hesitation whatsoever in protecting them or indeed my children”.

“I don’t own any land in Scariff, I’m there to protect people who protected me when I needed protecting, I’m protecting their possession.
I will make absolutely no apologies to anybody for that, I make absolutely no apologies to anybody, I was two weeks old and people protected me when I needed them, I make no apologies to anybody for protecting them,” Deputy McNamara told The Clare Echo.

 

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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