Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin visited West Clare on Friday to open the new constituency office of general election candidate, Rita McInerney.
Deputy Martin took the opportunity to visit the Kilrush Community School and to canvass the town of Kilrush meeting locals and calling into businesses plus a visit to the Vandeleur Walled Garden.
Speaking about the visit, Rita McInerney remarked “I was very anxious for the Fianna Fail leader to visit us in West Clare and to hear the locals’ concerns first hand. Some of the main issues raised on the street by people included agriculture and the prices beef and suckler farmers are receiving. Business was a high priority with the pressure on retail and the need to explore tourism opportunities in the town mentioned. The closure of local post offices and stricter drink driving laws were highlighted at a time of increased social isolation. From a business and personal perspective, the requirement for high speed affordable broadband in outlying areas particularly was talked about. We also heard from locals who raised concerns about the future of Moneypoint”.
She wants to see a feasibility study undertaken urgently on Moneypoint’s potential within the context of the Strategic Infrastructure Plan for the Shannon Estuary 2017-2023. “We have viable assets in terms of Moneypoint and the Shannon Estuary, which was once the key driver of economic growth in West Clare. With closure imminent in the next 10 years it has the potential to be reconfigured for future employment if given the right strategic approach. The site boasts hundreds of acres of zoned land with a deep-sea channel to a sheltered port and a fully operational jetty. It is a huge asset located in the heart of the Mid-West and close to Tarbert, Shannon Airport and the Atlantic Coast. I strongly believe it can be a major focus of economic growth in the region”.
Rita added, “The decommissioning of Moneypoint at some point between 2025 and 2030 will lead to job losses unless a transition or alternative plan for the site is put in place. We cannot have a situation where highly skilled jobs and expertise are lost when there is an opportunity to reinvent the site.”
“The over-riding message that Micheál Martin received from the people of West Clare was the feeling that Rural Ireland continues to be forgotten about. The government must ensure that vital services are retained and that the infrastructure must be put in place for our communities to be sustainable into the future.” Ms McInerney concluded.