*Pat Barry. 

RETIRED civil servant, Pat Barry (IND) has announced he will be contesting next year’s local elections as an Independent candidate in the Shannon Municipal District.

Living in Shannon for over thirty five years, Pat launched his election campaign on Wednesday evening at the Shannon Springs Hotel.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, he outlined, “I’ve been asked over the years to stand for the local elections, when you’ve a young family and work it isn’t feasible but now I’ve the time and I have decided to throw my hat in the ring and if elected I’ll be able to work as a councillor on a full-time basis”.

For seventeen years, Pat worked in the vehicular unit of the Department of Transport based in Shannon. In the 1980s, he worked as a taxi driver in the town.

Originally from North Cork, he is the father of three children, two sons and a daughter.

Pat is a former member of Sinn Féin but admitted “I got pretty disillusioned with them” and left the party recently. He canvassed for the late, Mike McKee (SF), “I knew Mike McKee personally, I would have voted for him regardless of his party because I thought he was a man of principle and I liked him, he was a great loss to Shannon and to the party”.

While had “notions” of seeking a nomination from Sinn Féin for the local elections, he felt it was not going to be a reality. “I had notions of it, I knew myself that it wouldn’t happen. Their focus was on a female candidate after Mike passed, it was the same with the General Election and Violet-Anne Wynne is no longer in the party, her history has been well-documented”.

Health, housing and transport are the key priorities identified by Pat. “Obviously there is 128k people living in Co Clare, it is a shocking indictment of our health service that we don’t have access on a 24 hour basis to our hospital in Ennis, people are talking about that for years and years, yet it hasn’t happened, I think if you advocate for something strongly enough and if you make sense with facts and figures even if you’re a voice in the wilderness, it won’t cost a lot but political will is lacking”.

“In 2023 we’re supposed to be a wealthy country and we have two people sleeping in the town centre in Shannon, it is absolutely shocking, there is no other word for it and it is very sad. We also have a food bank in Shannon every Thursday to feed the people, really and truly, goodness me it is awful. There are many people glad of that foodback which is an indictment of failed policies of the system in the last couple of years”.

Shannon Airport’s potential for greater linkages is enormous, he maintained. “We’ve an international airport up the road, it is the biggest driver of economic activity in the whole Mid-West area notwithstanding Shannon, connectivity is very important from the airport and reliability, sadly Bus Éireann don’t seem to be fit for purpose with the 343 service, it is a shocking service and lip service is paid to it, there have been many meetings with Bus Éireann down through the years but no improvement. Shannon Town should have its own dedicated bus service from Shannon Airport to Colbert Station like any decent city, that is as obvious as the nose on one’s face”.

Frequency of the bus service on Sundays were criticised by Pat. “We’ve half a bus service on a Sunday, this is a seven day week economy”. He added, “it is astonishing that tourists come out of Shannon Airport on a Sunday and have to wait two or three hours for a bus, there is no need for it, the practices of Bus Éireann is still back in the 1950s”.

On what he believes he could bring to the table of the local authority, Pat stated, “I would be a truly independent voice on the Council, having worked as a civil servant I would have the experience of dealing with a lot of paperwork. I would be in a position, I would listen to everybody no matter what party they are from, at the end of the day political differences is a fact of life on every Council but you try to rise above that for the greater good and the common good in the area, if someone else was making sense to me and had a positive idea that would have a good impact for the area than I would support it”.

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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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