When asked about her office opening in the town, Clare Kerrane TD replied with “I made a commitment to the people of Ballinasloe in the election that if elected, I would open an office in the town. It was never an option not to have an office to serve the people of Ballinasloe and East Galway. I was always conscious of the fact that I am not from Ballinasloe and so, I was adamant I would have somewhere for people to go if they need help or assistance – my office is there for them and their families, if and when they need it”.
She was looking for a premise in the town for some time after the election and of course, Covid made the search even more difficult. As it turned out, local party member and former Councillor and businessman Mícheál Breathnach, decided he would not be continuing with his business on Bridge Street and so, it worked out well for her to take it over.
Unfortunately, the office has taken longer to renovate than she would have liked and of course, Covid had an impact on getting work done. The place had to be stripped out completely, followed by painting and electrics. They put in a partition for privacy for when she is meeting constituents and they also had to put in flooring in part of the office. Everything she could source locally was used. “I also had great help from party members and friends locally and it was a great team effort and I am very proud of it” stated Claire.
Like most constituency offices, there’ll be one staff member employed in the office. She intends to be as flexible as possible when it comes to meeting constituents. The Dáil sits every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and plans to spend every Monday in Ballinasloe and every Friday in the Ballaghaderreen office. She will be available to meet constituents all day on Mondays and of course, when the Dáil is in recess, there’ll be more availability in both Ballinasloe and also in other parts of East Galway.
Clare is the party spokesperson on Social Protection and Rural Development and has launched a campaign on Household Debt and as part of that, an online survey (which people can find a link to on her Facebook page) to get this issue on the agenda. Since Covid hit, household debt has increased – workers and families are under pressure like never before with rents, mortgage repayments, bills coupled with a loss of income for many. I have also been busy raising the threat to EU Regional funding for the West of Ireland and has produced policy on issues affecting Lone Parents, Carers, Jobseekers and Older People.
When it comes to the town specifically, she believes the next two months must be about supporting businesses as they re-open while Covid continues as well as supporting organisations and key services in ensuring that as many as possible can keep their doors open. We also need to ensure that Portiuncula Hospital is well resourced as the pressure of Covid continues into the Winter months.
The office can be contacted anytime on 090 964 4901 or by email at email@example.com. The office will be open 9am to 5pm for clinics by appointment with her every Monday (and later if needed), 9am to 4pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays and 9am to 1pm on Fridays.
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