Date Published: 29-Jun-2011
A leaner, more fit-for-purpose Fianna Fail was outlined to a meeting of party rank and file members by FF Leader Micheal Martin TD in Galway last week – though he admitted the party faced a huge challenge in rebuilding itself.
He promised to push ahead with a greater democratisation of the party from grassroots level upwards, with the introduction of ‘one man one vote’ a priority reform as ordinary members got more power, especially in key decision making such as selection conventions.
And, he said, Fianna Fail would be ‘issues led.’ Among his proposals is the appointment of a series of ‘local representatives’ around the country in areas where the party does not have councillors – this is an effort to build up strength on the ground in the wake of huge losses in the 2009 Local Elections. This left the party with whole stretches of countryside in which it does not have a councillor.
Last week’s Salthill meeting, which was attended by 200 members from all over the West Galway constituency, was one of seventeen held so far around the country as FF picks up the pieces from its worst ever electoral defeat, and its worst ever share of the first preference vote nationally (16 per cent).
In Galway West, FF is down to one TD (Eamon Ó Cuív) in a constituency where it once held three seats, and in Galway East there is is just one TD (Micheal Kitt), where a few elections ago, it held three also. Compared with this, Fine Gael has four young first-time TDs in the county (Paul Connaughton, Ciaran Cannon, Sean Kyne and Brian Walsh), while Labour also has a newcomer in Derek Nolan.
Said Micheal Martin” “Taking the whole broad picture – and there are places where we have no candidates and no TDs – we face a very difficult and challenging journey, but I feel we can make it from the feedback I am getting at our meetings.”
He said the meeting in Galway the previous night was about building back the party. The Galway people had shown themselves to be passionate about the party and its future and, at times, had been outspoken and certainly had not ‘pulled their punches’ when it came to speaking their minds about the situation in which Fianna Fail found itself.
The meeting was closed to the press and to the ordinary members of the public but I understand that there were a few hard-hitting contributions from the floor where rank-and-file members vented their anger and annoyance at what they saw as a loss of economic sovereignty and the electoral massacre suffered by the party.
To some extent, these interventions were a follow-on to a recent Comhairle Dail Ceantair meeting held in Moycullen where some of the the contributions were very tough indeed. Members essentially wanted to know what had happened to a party which they had been entrusted to a Cabinet and the leadership.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Retail industry trade body welcomes B&Q announcement
Date Published: 07-May-2013
Retail Excellence Ireland, the country’s largest retail industry trade body, has welcomed the news that 60 jobs have been saved at the city branch of B&Q.
It’s after the home improvements store successfully exited examinership.
Under the scheme, 2.4 million euro is to be invested by parent company Kingfisher plc, and B and Q will continue to trade at eight stores
This means 640 jobs have been saved nationwide, including 60 at the outlet in Knocknacarra.
However, David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence Ireland says landlords need to be willing to help out smaller retailers too.
Foundation reports nine Galway heart deaths each week
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Nine people die in Galway every week from heart disease and stroke.
That’s according to the Irish Heart Foundation, which is launching its Happy Hearts Appeal today. (9/5)
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, launched the appeal today to help raise funds for the charity, which has seen increasing demand on its patient services.
The Foundation says it needs to raise at least half a million euro to maintain existing information services.
Call to tackle delays at Oranmore rail crossing
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Concerns have been raised over traffic delays at the railway crossing in Oranmore.
Councillor Jim Cuddy says he has received many representations from local motorists who have been experiencing extended delays.
He says the closed barrier can sometimes cause a traffic tailback as far as the roundabout near the Maldron hotel.
Cllr Cuddy has brought the matter to the attention of Iarnrod Eireann and has asked for an explanation as to why the crossing is closed for so long.