SENATOR Róisín Garvey has pledged to arrange a meeting of the seven Oireachtas members to discuss how the key issues facing Clare can be addressed.
In an interview with the Clare Champion, Senator Garvey stressed the three new senators and four Dáil deputies had to work together to revitalise Shannon Airport, tourism and small and medium enterprises that have been hit hard by Covid-19 restrictions.
“It is very important that the seven Oireachtas members work together. I think there is a lot on rural development, remote working and Greenways such as the Ennis to Kilkee Greenway in the new Programme for Government.
“If we would get wifi hubs in villages and towns, that would help people to work remotely. There are also plans to upgrade derelict buildings in villages, which has been difficult to do because it is very bureaucratic and expensive up to now.
“It is important to bring people back to live in towns and villages,” she said.
She outlined it is important to get more funding into Local Enterprise Offices to enable them support small businesses.
“I would like to see a major advertising staycation in Clare campaign. We need to convince people to holiday in Clare.
“We need to get finance to support small businesses. My two sisters have small businesses. I think people in Clare are very resilient. Anyone who has is self-employed are coming up with innovative ways to get more in and cut costs.
“I hope tourism will recover next year and we now have to see what support we can get on a national level,” she said.
Asked about the lack of senior Cabinet ministers for the West of Ireland, she admitted that she had sent a map containing the location of all the ministers to Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan and urged him to consider this factor when appointing junior ministers.
She pointed out most of the Green Party deputies were elected in the East of the country apart from one in Limerick and Waterford and doesn’t understand how the imbalance in the West of Ireland wasn’t addressed by Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil.
She believes the appointment of Offaly farmer Pippa Hackett by Eamon Ryan as a super junior minister is very significant.
Pledging to be a “strong voice for Clare”, she acknowledged the lack of Cabinet ministers from the West of Ireland puts more pressure on senators and deputies to deliver for the Mid-West.
Stating the Green Party is a relatively small political party, Senator Garvey recalled this week she had discussed tourism initiatives with the new Tourism Minister Catherine Martin and a cycling development with Transport Minister Eamon Ryan that Clare County Council applied for.
She said it is helpful to know ministers and stressed Green Party councillors and senators would be lobbying and assisting Green Party Cabinet Ministers who have extensive portfolios.
One of her key priorities is securing support for tourism, farming and small businesses in Clare. “I have been talking to Junior Minister Pippa Hackett about the new Green Deal getting money from Europe for agri-forestry and biodiversity.
“I live in a farm, I know farmers and farming is important to me as much as small and medium enterprises. Farmers and small businesses are the backbone of Clare,” she said.