SHANNON’s future requires a rebellion when it comes to the local elections according to passionate pleas at a Community Council meeting.
Love Shannon Community Group held a meeting at Treacy’s Oakwood Hotel on Wednesday night last where residents of the town spoke of the need for a change in how Shannon is treated by Clare County Council.
Ron Kirwan, a former journalist with The Clare Champion and The Limerick Leader emphasised the elected people representing Shannon was key to its future. He shared his view that Love Shannon had evolved from a group promoting the town. “Everyone knows we’re knocking our heads against the wall with Clare County Council. The key to Shannon’s future is taking control of our area. Only two of the seven councillors in our District are from Shannon, the others have no interest in the future of Shannon Town”.
Ennis is the focus of county councillors, Ron stated. “There is a cosy cartel between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael running our county and we need to break that consensus for Shannon Town’s future”. He recalled joining The Champion in 1979, at the time he said 12,000 people worked Ennis but that the figure rose to over 30,000 now because of Shannon, “it has been used as a milk cow to feed the whole county”.
He added, “What Shannon needs is seven young passionate people committed to future of the town. Approach people who are interested and ask people to back them in an election”. Kirwan continued, “If someone from Fianna Fáil gets in, they will do what they’re told and not what the people of Shannon want, the two Shannon councillors were the only ones to vote against the local property tax increase this year”. He said, “if they (Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael) didn’t have the majority the whole agenda would be completely different, the agenda has been the same forever in Clare County Council. Stop the majority”.
Co-founder of Love Shannon, Niamh O’Callaghan agreed that seven candidates from Shannon Town needed to run in the 2024 local election, she said that councillors “only come to Shannon for votes and photographs”. “Two councillors from Shannon Town is not enough,” Darragh O’Connor of Texaco Shannon commented. “We need the people to come out and vote for them. The people of Meelick, Sixmilebridge and Newmarket-on-Fergus won’t do it for us,” Chairman of Love Shannon, Derek Clune remarked, he felt putting Love Shannon as a strong Community Council could lead to change and success.
One speaker from the floor declared, “the easiest way to make change is to rattle the cages”. Another resident of the town suggested that Love Shannon run a candidate, “we have enough clubs and families, then we can frighten the Cratloe and Sixmilebridge crowd. Target a person that can represent us strongly. We can get one from Sinn Féin in and one Independent representing us, one of the cosy big guys will lose their job”.
Shannon Town “is stuck in the 1980s because all we’ve had is stooges representing us,” one attendee remarked. Current representatives need to come before a public meeting of Love Shannon it was suggested, “they have been misrepresenting us for sixteen years, they can’t even get the grass cut properly, bring them here and keep them to task to ask them why they haven’t delivered. The last time I saw representatives was when they came looking for my vote. Why do we vote for these people when Shannon hasn’t benefited one iota”.
It was also suggested that actions need to be taken by Love Shannon to grab the attention of Clare County Council. “Get a quarter page ad in The Clare Echo. Lash it out. If they see stuff in the paper, they will see us rebelling,” one resident suggested.