*Pam O’Loughlin. 

ENNISTYMON native, Pam O’Loughlin (FA) will be the first candidate for the Farmers Alliance to contest an election in Clare.

Pam has been declared as a candidate in the Ennistymon local electoral area where she is vying to win one of the four seats on offer in the constituency to become an elected member of Clare County Council.

Having lived in the United Kingdom for thirty four years, Pam returned home to Clare in 2020, “I came back in 2020 in the gap when both counties lowered the draw bridge”. She admitted that it was the pandemic which brought her home, “COVID was the driver to send me home and the realisation how isolated I was in England during that time, I was completely away from family, the friends I did have in the UK actually moved to Spain”.

She initially left at the age of sixteen, “there was no work here, it was 1986 and there was no future or prospect in the town at the time, the opportunity arose and I went to England”.

When she returned, it was to a different Ireland, Pam felt. “I came back to an Ireland that I wasn’t expecting at all, I wasn’t expecting 1980s Ireland but I wasn’t exepcting the unhappiness and uncertainty for people, the financial pressures and housing struggles, people having to choose between eating and heating, I’m seeing that with ordinary families they are struggling and getting electricity bills through the door that they can’t cope with at all”.

During her time in England, she worked as a trauma and orthopaedic nurse for fourteen years and as a project manager with Nestle for “eight or nine years”. She is now doing milk recording and farm relief work.

Keeping adult themes out of the SPHE curriculum in primary schools is among the priorities of the Farmers Alliance. “The SPHE new curriculum which I have read several themes introduces themes that I think personally are above the comprehension of most five year olds, personally I don’t think that sort of concept should be introduced to children that young, I think secondary school is plenty enough time for that sort of thing, let children be children,” she said.

Pam declined to delve further into what these “adult themes” were but said “we’re talking about gender and the whole issues”.

She joined the new political party in October 2023 “because it was the only political party in the country which aligned what what I believed in on farming and a whole load of other stuff, maintaining farming in Ireland because it has been attacked from all directions, maintaining sovereignty, we’re giving everything up to the EU”. Food security and the importing of Ireland’s energy were also flagged as O’Loughlin’s concerns.

Ireland’s planning system is “far too draconian,” Pam said. “For instance a farmer’s son can’t build his house on his father’s land, they would be basically looking at loosening up planning in a lot of areas like extensions allowed to be a lot bigger so you can get more people living under the same roof, modular housing for the housing crisis at the minute”.

On the local matters, the Kilcornan woman said, “I’d be looking to influence the pollution into the river and ending up in Lahinch, housing which has been delayed being built in Ennistymon due to the infrastructure, parking in town, facilities in town, that sort of thing, the lack of an A&E in Ennis, we are looking at headlines from UHL on a weekly basis”.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

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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