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Town status could be afforded to Westbury, Shannon Banks and Carraig Midhe if approved by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

“In light of its large population, urban centre and recognised large settlement status in the Clare County Development Plan”, Cllr Cathal Crowe declared when calling on Shannon Municipal District to seek town status for Westbury, Shannon Banks and Carraig Midhe at its March meeting on Tuesday. The Fianna Fáil representative then asked for public consultation to take place regarding a suitable name if approved.

Crowe admitted that he held several conversations with Brian McCarthy, the Council’s senior planner regarding the proposal. “This particular settlement of the county though it is only behind Ennis and Shannon in its density is only considered a village,” he said.

Athlunkard was his preferred choice of a name, “it is a mix of old Irish and Nordic because the Vikings settled there,” Crowe recalled. “They don’t have a traditional streetscape but they have the commercial side, this community is not able to avail of the town funding, the people there feel the outpost of this county, it is a part of our county with an old identity,” the Westbury resident concluded.

Sinn Féin’s Mike McKee seconded the motion and felt there were similarities between the area and Shannon. “All I know about it is it is a tough place to canvass,” he quipped. “It is made up of housing estates and you’d say why should it be a town and I’ll tell you why, it’s the same as Shannon. Shannon started out with just Drumgeely and it was tiny and pathetic but it has grown since. There is no reason if Shannon is a town that Westbury, Carraig Midhe and Shannonbanks shouldn’t be the same,” McKee stated.

It is expected that correspondence from the Department will be forwarded to councillors of the Shannon Municipal District prior to their next meeting in May.

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