*Pat Dowling. Photograph: Gary Collins
Shannon’s business community have confronted the Chief Executive of Clare County Council regarding on the lack of investment in the town despite its contribution in commercial rates.
Over the last three years, close to €40m in commercial rates from businesses in the Shannon Municipal District has been paid to Clare County Council. Only West Clare (€43m) ranks ahead of the Shannon MD.
There has been widespread disappointment amongst the arts community in the town with the lack of funding and support for The Venue, a community, civic, cultural and interpretative centre. The 2,600 sq metre site has been given €15,000 by the local authority and was promised €5m in funding following a meeting with Fine Gael TD Pat Breen and former Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan.
Similarly, recent months have seen local councillors plead for a streetscape to bring heart to the town while RTÉ broadcaster, Rachael English a native of Shannon of the view that it requires a focal point.
Chief Executive of Clare County Council, Pat Dowling addressed councillors at the March meeting of the Shannon Municipal District where he announced they would be investing a greater focus in the area.
“I have been challenged by the business community of Shannon in the past that what has been collected in the area in rates should stay in the area, it doesn’t work like that, it has been thrown at me on multiple occasions that economics can be defined simply as that but it can’t”.
Dowling continued, “We have a very strong schedule of works for the Shannon Municipal District for the year ahead. We need to treat Shannon Municipal District and Shannon Town as the second largest urban base in the county. The Shannon Municipal District has to get the level of attention it deserves”.
Long serving Fianna Fáil councillor, Pat McMahon observed, “In all my years I’ve never seen a Council CEO present at a Shannon meeting, it is great to see. They are listening to us at the top”. Further praise arrived from Cllr John Crowe, “It just shows you why we are the local authority of the year, it’s well led from the top”. “He’s always welcome, we always like to have the power base near by,” Cllr PJ Ryan stated.