*Dr Martina Cleary listens to Clare TD, Violet-Anne Wynne. Photograph: Natasha Barton
Clare’s politicians clashed at a meeting of the Pyrite Action Group with accusations of “playing party politics” thrown at the only opposition Oireachtas member in attendance.
Tensions rose slightly following Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne’s (SF) contribution at a meeting of Oireachtas members and the Clare Pyrite Action Group at Treacy’s West County Hotel with Deputy Cathal Crowe (FF), Senator Roisin Garvey (GP) and Senator Martin Conway (FG) taking umbrage with her remarks.
A total of 42 members of thePyrite Action Group were present at the gathering in what was their first face to face meeting with the county’s politicians since pyrite was first detected in Clare. The meeting was held six weeks to the day that Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien (FF) visited the home of Mary Hanley in Newmarket-on-Fergus which has pyrite.
Of the redress scheme, Wynne said, “I am disappointed with how Clare has been treated”. She felt, “All that we’ve heard so far from the speakers have been political gestures”. She said she was more interested in hearing the stories of affected homeowners rather than listening to the politicians.
“I appreciate you have some information but not all the detail,” the Kilrush woman commented following previous contributions from Deputy Crowe, Senator Garvey, Deputy Joe Carey (FG) and Senator Timmy Dooley (FF). She believed it was unhelpful to throw out costings during the meeting.
Crowe responded, “It is not helpful to play party politics”. Senator Garvey clarified that the information on costings for submitting a report to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage was provided by Clare County Council’s Director of Service, Anne Haugh, the Inagh native said up to €35,000 was the cost for testing five identified houses with further costs incurred with testing on local authority homes.
Deputy Wynne replied by saying the information should have been circulated earlier by Oireachtas members and not until she raised the matter.
Senator Conway told the meeting, “It is not helpful for us at the top table to be disputing or arguing, a significant wrong has to be righted. Our senior politicians need to be careful with the language they use”. The Ennistymon man believed it was the “duty of politicians of this generation to get this right”. “I would appeal to all politicians to work together, if we’re bickering and fighting we’re going nowhere, when politicians try to score political points we don’t achieve to our potential”.