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Councillor Tony O'Brie, who was elected as the new Clare County Council chairman on Friday. Photograph by John Kelly.

Clare councillor blasts Minister Ryan’s ‘dictatorship’


WITH UL and Clare County Council having sought a strategic development zone designation for their ‘new town’ proposal, opposition to the plan within government was criticised by a local councillor.

When Transport Minister Eamon Ryan addressed the County Council last week, he spoke about bringing university courses to Ennis, given it has existing infrastructure, which prompted an angry intervention from Councillor Tony O’Brien.

“Are you trying to close down East Clare?” he bellowed at the Green Party leader.

Referring to the UL project, he said there are 214 acres of land for development in East Clare, but if the Minister got his way the people of the area could “pack up our tents and go away”.

Speaking to the Clare Champion subsequently, Councillor O’Brien said that Minister Ryan’s opposition to the development, and to the Northern Distributor Road is contrary to the principle of having effective local Government.

“We have a county development plan, which we voted on and which was approved and agreed by the elected members and executive and he has tried to drive a coach and four through it and make it up as he goes along.”

He added, “We have 214 acres of UL land on the Clare side of the river. His total opposition to any development down there is a slap in the face to the communities in East Clare and while I have a voice I’m not going to accept that kind of dictatorship.”

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