Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams vowed that his party would deliver for the Gaeltacht if it leads the next Government – claiming Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have never stood up for Irish speakers.
He was addressing the launch of Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh’s Galway West election campaign in Carraroe, where he said it was not an exaggeration to say the Gaeltacht and islands communities were struggling to survive.
“Many fear that if this government is re-elected they will not survive. These communities have been forced to protest to save their air link to the mainland and to save small Gaeltacht schools,” he said.
“Udaras na Gaeltachta has been hollowed out and stripped of funds.
“The rights of Irish speakers have not been upheld and the neglect of our Gaeltacht areas has starved communities of investment, funding and services and contributed to depopulation and isolation. That is the legacy of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour. That is why the Gaeltacht needs a government that cares.
“A Sinn Féin led government would stand up for the Gaeltacht and Irish language speakers,” he added.
Speaking at his launch Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh described 2016 as a ‘year of opportunity and promise’.
“We can end the rule of parties that have failed to deliver the republic promised and hard fought for in 1916. A Sinn Féin led progressive government would build a fair recovery, would invest in public services and would progress the cause of Irish Unity,” he told supporters.
“Fine Gael and Labour are not promising stability; they are promising more of the same – 1,500 children sleeping in emergency accommodation, 98,000 families in mortgage arrears, increased rents, evictions and homelessness
“This Government has cut benefits to those most in need and imposed the property tax and water charges on us all. They have failed the health service and believe that it is acceptable that our grandparents, our parents our partners and our children languish on waiting lists and hospital trolleys.
“Sinn Féin has a vision, grounded in the republican values of 1916. We have a plan for a fair recovery. A fair recovery that will benefit all our people equally. We want to lead a government that will deliver equality and prosperity, unity and inclusion,” he added.
TALLIES: Half of boxes open in City West
With half of the boxes in Galway City West tallied, the state of play in the six-seater is:
Donal Lyons (Ind) 23%
Pauline O’Reilly (Greens) 14.75%
Niall McNelis (Lab) 11.89%
John Connolly (FF) 9.86%
Pearce Flannery (FG) 9.48%
Peter Keane (FF) 7.3%
John Crowley (Soc Dems) 6.3%
Clodagh Higgins (FG) 5.9%
Salthill and Taylor’s Hill boxes being tallied now
Left and right find middle ground
There is a tired old cliché about people singing from ‘the same hymn sheet’ – but despite their diverse political backgrounds, it could certainly be applied in the case of Galway city’s two new TDs.
Because Fine Gael’s Deputy Hildegarde Naughten and independent TD Catherine Connolly hold common ground when it comes to a lot of issues relating to Galway city.
For example, in the aftermath of the general election they both agreed that University Hospital Galway should be moved to a greenfield site at Merlin Park. They also articulated this view on the first day of the new Dail last week.
And, separately, they were both in favour of the provision of dedicated bus lanes throughout Galway city with the acceptance that there will be no outer bypass for at least another decade. Deputy Connolly believes that the current proposal is simply “a cul-de-sac” and should never have been progressed.
Left-leaning Independent TD Catherine Connolly and right-leaning Fine Gael TD, Hildegarde Naughton, both believe UHG is at saturation point and are committed to the development of a new public hospital at the larger, more accessible site east of the city.
This, along with the promotion of public transport initiatives to help end traffic chaos in the city, is one of the common policy objectives the two new women TDs share.
They are only the second and third women TDs ever in Galway West, following in the footsteps of former Fianna Fáil minister, Máire Geoghegan Quinn.
Fianna Fail attempts to woo Grealish again
Pressure is mounting on Galway West TD Noel Grealish to join Fianna Fail as the party attempts to be part of the next government.
The Fianna Fail organisation in the constituency are now convinced that Grealish may provide the party with the answer to winning a second seat in Galway West. And the organisation are disappointed that veteran TD Eamon O Cuiv has not delivered a second seat in the last two general elections. If Fianna Fail assume power, it is very unlikely that the Cornamona man will have a place at the front bench.
The party organisation in Galway West are now anxious that Grealish becomes part of their fabric and particularly as he is a proven vote-winner.
Grealish is part of an unofficial grouping in the Dail who are currently engaged with the two major parties with a view to forming a minority government.
The fact that the Carnmore man has been a TD since 2002, it is likely that he could be part of the front bench in the next government if he agrees to become part of the support that Fianna Fail require.
It was revealed last week that he had been approached by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin to join up but he was not to be drawn on the issue.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.