*Cyril Crowe at Crowe’s Store in the Minister’s Cross. Photograph: Joe Buckley
CYRIL CROWE is entering the political arena and is putting himself forward as a prospective Fine Gael candidate for next year’s local elections.
Four nominations have been received by Fine Gael headquarters for the Killaloe Municipal District. Mayor of Clare, Cllr Joe Cooney (FG), Cllr Pat Burke (FG) will be going forward at an upcoming selection convention with two-time candidate Ger O’Halloran nominated alongside Cyril Crowe.
It is expected that the directive from headquarters will be to select three candidates to contest the 2024 local elections in the Killaloe MD which will be held in June. The selection convention will take place on September 11th.
Up until that time, Cllr Cooney will wear the mayoral chains as the county’s first citizen. He was a poll-topper in the Killaloe MD for local elections in 2009, 2014 and 2019. The O’Callaghans Mills man is also a former Chairman of Clare GAA.
First elected in 2009, Cllr Burke will be vying to be re-elected for a fourth term on Clare County Council. The Whitegate man showed a first preference increase of 211 votes at the 2019 local elections. Since then, he has served as Leas Cathaoirleach of the County Council and also Cathaoirleach of the Killaloe MD.
O’Halloran who serves as the parliamentary assistant to Clare TD, Joe Carey (FG) has also been nominated. The Quin man is currently on annual leave having taken on increased responsibilities in the constituency office since Deputy Carey went on sick leave in March. In the 2014 local elections, just three votes separated him from then first time candidate Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) to secure the final seat on the Ennis Municipal District. Boundary changes saw Quin and Clooney moved into the Killaloe MD in the 2019 local elections where he amassed 1,036 first preferences but again lost out on the final count.
Entering the fray is Sixmilebridge native Crowe who is seeking the party nomination in his first run for public office. “Since I was young I’ve always had an interest in politics, my uncle John is 26 years on the Council, we’ve always been a Fine Gael family, John has been running for elections since I was fifteen, I’ve been his right-hand man for his elections and I’ve helped him with his two Seanad campaigns, it was always on the agenda for me to run at some stage and the way things have worked out over the last few months the time is right to give it a go”.
Living in Quin for the past eleven years with his wife Margaret and three children, Daniel (10), Anna (7) and Sam (2), Cyril said the time was right to go forward given that they have put down roots in the community including a growing involvement with Clooney/Quin GAA club.
Speaking to The Clare Echo, the former Clare U21 and minor hurler who won a Clare SHC with The Bridge in 2002 outlined that housing concerns are growing throughout East Clare. “The big thing in the local area is housing. In the Quin area, there is a huge amount of people who can’t get on the housing ladder, there are couples with two good wages who can’t get on the threshold for mortgages, there really needs to be a huge look at affordability, the rental sector and the cost of living which is impacting on people all over Clare”.
Rural crime is an issue Cyril has plenty of experience of, given his experience in business as the shop owner of Crowe’s in the Minister’s Cross. “Rural crime is a huge thing because Garda resources just aren’t there, there should be community groups for rural crime. A lot of the crimes are happening when Gardaí and the Armed Support Unit are off duty, a lot of crimes that have happened to us in the shop have been during 4 to 6am when the Armed Support Unit are off, East Clare has been riddled with crime with roving crime gangs”.
A son of Tim and Bernie, Cyril is the third eldest of their seven children. Between the family’s chain of stores in the Minister’s Cross, Sixmilebridge, Quin, Kilkishen and Mountshannon, he estimated that they have in the region of 94 employees.
While not all of his native Sixmilebridge is within the Killaloe MD, Crowe is hopeful that he should be selected at convention his base will be strong enough throughout East Clare. “The Killaloe MD goes right to the Mart in Sixmilebridge and back to Castlecrine, up to Quin, back to Newmarket-on-Fergus and up as far as Tubber and Crusheen. My mother is from Scariff, I have 31 first cousins in Scariff with four uncles and aunts, I have a sister living in Whitegate and am well placed in the area from the people I would know through the GAA and farming”.
Thirty nine year old Cyril who has a mixed farm in Quin is also a member of an East Clare Discussion Group which is comprised of fourteen to fifteen dairy farmers who meet monthly on each other’s farms. He said this group also offers a strong network of supporters. “It will be a huge connection, there’s lads from Killaloe, O’Callaghans Mills and Tulla which adds to the wide discussion spread within the dairy family”.