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Labour unveils election candidate for Galway City East


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Labour unveils election candidate for Galway City East Labour unveils election candidate for Galway City East

The Labour Party in Galway has unveiled its candidate for Galway City East for next year’s local elections – long-time community activist Helen Ogbu is to be added to the ballot paper.

Ms Ogbu is known for being a former chairperson of the Galway Refugee Support Group and volunteers with a variety of organisations including Galway Rape Crisis Centre and as a support worker with the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit.

With an “interest in supporting families and children”, Ms Ogbu set up the Family Support Clinic at the ARD Family Resource Centre in Doughiska and has been volunteering in that role since 2018, holding a clinic every Thursday to signpost families to the supports available to them.

Confirming her nomination to run for the party in City East this week, sitting Labour councillor for City West, Níall McNelis, described her as “an exciting candidate with a proven track record”.

Speaking after her candidacy was announced, Ms Ogbu slammed the Government parties for what she described as their “failure” to tackle school costs which she said were “crippling families”.

This comes after a survey by the children’s welfare charity, Barnardo’s, revealed that 24% of secondary school parents were being forced to borrow to meet back-to-school costs.

“This year’s Barnardo’s survey is galling. This Government constantly tells us we have money to spare, we’re at full employment. Yet, when it comes to the practicalities, they are utterly failing,” said Ms Ogbu.

“The Taoiseach has announced a plan to end child poverty. It will not be worth the paper it is written on unless serious funding is provided to education in Budget 2024 to level the playing field and make education genuinely free for every child in Ireland.

“The costs seem to be endless – crested uniforms, pens, copybooks, lunches, schoolbags, ‘voluntary’ contribution fees and schoolbooks for children at secondary school level. Families I have spoken to in Doughiska and Ballybane, while calling door to door, are very stressed and worried,” she added.

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