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Clare Pyrite Action Group chair joins Sinn Féin local election ticket


Sinn Féin’s chances of winning a seat in the Killaloe Electoral Area have been boosted by the entry of Dr Martina Cleary to the Local Elections race.
The chairperson of the Clare Pyrite Action Group Dr Martina Cleary has been announced as Sinn Féin’s candidate in the East Clare constituency.
Dr Cleary is the founder and chair of the group since 2020 and successfully lobbied for a Defective Concrete Block Scheme for Clare homeowners affected by the pyrite issue. This included the securing of half a billion euros in funding for Clare and Limerick families.
In a statement issued to The Clare Champion, Sinn Féin stated the Crusheen resident will continue her campaigning work but hopes to also tackle many other issues when elected.
Dr Cleary is a Teachers Union of Ireland rep at the Technological University of the Shannon, where she is a lecturer.
When asked why she became involved in politics, Martina said she has always been unofficially involved in politics since her early twenties.
“When I worked abroad, I was a union rep, representing 65 colleagues in second-level education and secured €4.2 million to improve their pay and conditions.
“I am very strongly committed to advocacy and helping people. Being involved in education and the arts, I’ve been involved in a lot of community-based projects and groups, for example working with the elderly in the Kilkeady community, looking at memory, place and belonging.
“I worked with Clare Women’s Network on a community-based project on gender-based violence.”
For Martina, Sinn Féin was the obvious party to join when she became a member four years ago.
When the pyrite problem emerged, she had a certain amount of experience in how to lead a campaign, organise people and see a project through.
The first Irish politician she ever spoke to was Rose Conway Walsh, the Sinn Féin TD for Mayo and she was very inspired by her professionalism.
“When I spoke at the Oireachtas Committee hearings on pyrite, I was lucky to meet Eoin O’Broin, who is the most inspiring living politician in Ireland in my opinion. And of course, Mary Lou McDonald.
“She visited Clare and spoke with homeowners and what inspired me was the accessibility of Sinn Féin politicians, how down to earth they are, their compassion and respect for people.
“When all the Mica / Pyrite campaigns were working on amendments, pre-legislative scrutiny and everything- that was all Eoin O’Broin’s work. He invited us to the Dail and treated us as ordinary people impacted by the problem, not with plamás or gaslighting.
“I would like to see that ethos applied to the health service, housing and so many other problems.
“I read all of Eoin’s books and he is so knowledgeable, he really has the solutions so it’s heartbreaking to see his proposals blocked in the Dail,” she said.
Emigration is also an issue Martina believes must be tackled.
“I was an economic migrant, I lived in Finland for 13 years and felt pushed out of my country, there were no options.
“Eventually, I got a job in North Clare and was able to move back. Our young people deserve better than that, and we need them here to help to fix the problems we have whether it’s in health, housing, education or any of the other issues,” she added.

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