Hi, I am Cillian, your local councillor for West Clare and I live in Kilkee, and Cathaoirleach of the West Clare MD.
I’m originally from Baltimore in West Cork, but came to Carrigaholt, and then Kilclogher, at the age of 7 when my father, who was a fisherman, brought us all up here in the early ‘70s.
I left school before completing my leaving cert, and went fishing, getting my skippers ticket in Greencastle and owning my own small 36 foot inshore fishing boat.
My wife’s family were in the catering business, and in 1990 Mary and I took on the family business, The Hideout Bar, and have been in the hospitality business since then. In 2004 we opened Murphy Blacks Restaurant and operated it to a very high standard, winning many awards, until we sold it in 2020.
In 2009 I co-founded Loop Head Tourism, a community based organisation whose principle objective was ensuring tourism development would primarily benefit the local community. I went back to school and completed a Diploma in Environmental Decision Making with the Open University and a Masters in Responsible Tourism in Manchester Metropolitan University.
I spent some time on a number of countywide community organisations, Clare Tourism, the Local Community Development Committee (LCDC), and as part of the secretariat of Clare Public Particpation Network (PPN), and have a firm belief that proper community consultation and engagement is the key to ensuring better results for the communities themselves, and for the local authorities and other regional or national agencies. Unfortunately, I believe, it is not a concept the public service generally tends to really ‘get’.
Having asked a local friend of mine with far deeper Fianna Fail party connections than mine to run in the local elections, he very neatly turned the argument, and before I knew it I was in the frame instead… following a manic 7 week campaign, I was duly elected to represent the Kilrush Local Electoral Area. My main objective is to address rural depopulation and to ensure our rural and coastal communities maximise use, and control of, the resources they have to become sustainable places to live, work and visit, in that order.
As a county councillor, I sit on a number of organisations and committees including the Regional Health Forum West, which gives me the opportunity to question and interact with senior HSE officals on a bi monthly basis on health care issues across a range of topics relevent to the communities of West Clare.
I also sit on the LCDC, I’m on the board of management of the Kilkee Waterworld and the Colaiste Ui Chomhrai In Carrigaholt
I currently work as a destination development consultant specifically focusing on ensuring communities are involved with how tourism to their homes is developed.
I have also been involved with ‘Grow Remote’ from a very early stage, as I believe remote work can finally deliver a balanced rural/urban economy.
Downtime for me is swimming, walking and working on renovating an old building and gardens. I’m never happier than when I’m building a stone wall.