McNamara Backs Call For Fully-Funded Pyrite Scheme In Clare

Clare Independent TD Michael McNamara has called on Government to extend the Local Property Tax exemption and the Defective Concrete Block Grant Scheme for affected properties in Donegal and Mayo to properties impacted by pyrite in County Clare.

Deputy McNamara’s comments follow this week’s confirmation by Clare County Council’s to Clare’s Oireachtas Members that the local authority has issued a detailed submission to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to justify the extension of the Defective Concrete Block Grant Scheme to Clare.

Clare County Council says the submission contains test results from 5 private properties confirming the presence of pyrite, a map indicating the location of both confirmed and potential cases and a request to review elements of the current scheme, including the limit of remediation costs at 90% plus other unfunded costs such as alternative accommodation, demolition and planning. The local authority has requested the extension of the Local Property Tax exemption for affected properties, recently introduced in Mayo and Donegal, to be extended to Clare.

Speaking to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe on the issue of extending the Local Property Tax to Clare homes impacted by pyrite, Deputy McNamara said, “It will provide a little help to the families in Clare that unexpectedly have homes that are not worth anything like what they spent on them. They face years of heartache trying to resolve this matter without having to spend money on engineers to show them what they already know in order to avail of the local property tax exemption. I urge the Minister to give serious consideration to the amendment.”

Deputy McNamara has expressed his hope that the Clare County Council submission to Government will result in a fully-funded Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme being extended to Clare.

“If the Government saw fit to fund a scheme like this in respect of Mayo and Donegal, I see no reason whatsoever why Clare constituents and any other householders in the country who suffer from the same problem should not be treated in exactly the same way by the Government. It is a matter of basic equality. It is critical however, that any future scheme be 100% fully funded,” he said.

Limited capacity for Clare v Cork

I have requested Minister with responsibility for Sport, Deputy Jack Chambers to explain why capacity has been set at 500 for the Clare versus Cork game when the same venue hosted 3,000 spectators for the Munster Championship semi-final between Clare and Tipperary three weeks ago.

We’re aware of Delta but also that there will be further variants. Supporters are rightly annoyed especially given the match is only on Sky Sports.

School Transport Services / Tickets

Bus Éireann Payment Portal is now open. Payment Deadline Date for 2021/22 School Year is 30 July 2021

Deadline date for payment / submitting medical card details for the 2021/22 school year is Friday, 30 July 2021.

To allow for planning of school transport services for the new school year, that are aligned to public health advice, the Family Portal will close after the payment deadline and will not re-open until 20 August 2021.  It will not be possible to submit an application or payment for Primary/Post Primary transport for the new school year during this period.

You may still may make a payment following this date, but you cannot be guaranteed a seat, according to Bus Éireann.

Important Message to Medical Card Holders

Department of Education states: Unfortunately, the medical card verification system used as payment for school transport tickets is currently unavailable due to the cyberattack on the HSE systems.  While this issue is outside of our control, we are working with the HSE to find a resolution as soon as possible. Bus Éireann is communicating directly with existing medical card holders in relation to processing their applications, and we have rolled forward their child’s medical card details used successfully for payment last year as payment for their 21/22 school transport ticket, where their child continues to be eligible for transport. For a large number of parents, they will have nothing further to do.

Information note relating to refunds for the unused portion of tickets following closure of schools arising from public health measures relating to Covid-19 restrictions.

Bus Éireann has commenced issuing refunds to families who are due to receive a refund for the unused portion of their ticket for the period of school closures arising from public health measures/Covid-19 restrictions in the 2020/2021 school year. Bus Éireann is managing this refund process on behalf of the Department of Education.

More than 42,000 families who paid fees for school transport relating to the 2020/21 school year are set to receive refunds. Queries should be emailed to [email protected].

Full information is available at

School Transport On-Line Application / Tickets

To use School Transport Scheme Services, pupils must be in possession of a valid ticket for travel.

School Transport Applications 2021/2022

Bus Éireann’s on-line application system for school transport is now open for the 2021/22 school year.

The closing date for School Transport Applications is Friday, 30 April, 2021.

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Apply on-line now @\schooltransport

Submitting Statement of Attendance Form during the current Covid-19 Period of Restrictions

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McNamara seeks improved ventilation in schools as Tanaiste suggests antigen tests being considered

The Taoiseach says the Government is considering the introduction of antigen testing to primary and secondary school settings in the autumn.

Leo Varadkar was responding today to a Dáil question by Clare Independent TD Michael McNamara who asked if ventilation would be improved in school buildings over the summer holidays to reduce the spread of Covid in classrooms and to negate the need for classroom windows to be kept open during the autumn and winter months.

Questioning the Tánaiste, Deputy McNamara asked, “Over the course of the summer are we going to introduce ventilation works to schools or are we going to have children returning to schools wearing coats and wearing masks in poorly ventilated buildings and freezing in the middle of an Irish winter with the windows open?”

Deputy McNamara also raised the potential for using stand-alone HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorbing) filter devices in classroom.

He added that an Expert Group on the Role of Ventilation in Reducing Transmission of COVID-19, set up by the Department of Health, said such devices “maybe useful in reducing airborne transmission in spaces with insufficient ventilation.”

In response, Leo Varadkar said the matter is under consideration by Government.

“We accept that schools will need better ventilation in September and October and the issue of CO2 monitors is part of that,” stated the Tánaiste.

He continued, “We have asked the Expert Group on Antigen Testing to advise us on applying antigen testing both to indoor hospitality and to schools when they reopen in September.”

Fair price for produce

We need to ensure that Irish farmers are adequately protected for producing an environmentally sustainable product and that they are not expected to sell that product below the cost of producing it. I questioned the Beef Taskforce Chair and Dept of Agriculture on the issue today.

Clare FM – Transfer of Shannon Heritage sites to Council

Speaking on Clare FM I said important details still need to be ironed out in relation to the proposed transfer of Shannon Heritage sites to Clare County Council.

Calls are being made for a government commitment to short-term funding for the sites and for the council to stipulate that future coach contracts to tourist attraction would require an overnight stay in the county.