Local and European Elections 2009
Cllr Padraig MacLochlainn
"We're still letting vulnerable children down"
EU candidate Cllr Padraig MacLochlainn has called for constitutional
protection for children's rights in light of the horrific
revelations of endemic abuse outlined in the Ryan Report. Cllr
MacLochlainn said the revelations about the systematic brutalising
of children in residential care, reaffirmed the need to enshrine the
rights of children in the Constitution. Such a step would "mark a
break by the State with a shameful past".
“The Constitution sets the basis for legislation and policy in the
State. The message we send out by not giving explicit protection to
the rights of the child in the Constitution is that the welfare of
children does not matter.
"Giving constitutional protection to the rights of children would
mark a break by the State with a shameful past characterised by the
neglect and abuse of the most vulnerable children." Cllr
“Still today services for children are underfunded – out of hours
services are unavailable. Children in care still go missing. On
Wednesday, we had a conviction for the killing of a girl who went
missing from the care of Health Services Executive in 2006. This
State is still letting down vulnerable children and young people.
This is an absolute disgrace," added the Sinn Féin councillor.
“Those who were abused in State institutions deserve justice and
proper compensation for the horrors they were forced to ensure. The
religious orders must be compelled to increase the amount which they
agreed to pay in the totally inadequate indemnity deal agreed with
“It is also crucial that this State protects children today and in
the future. Services for the protection of children must be funded
properly and under no circumstances should tight financial
circumstances be used as an excuse to cut these serves. The rights
of children must be given constitutional protection.”
Connell calls for rates cuts
GREENCASTLE-based local election candidate Batty Connell has called
on Donegal County Council to cut commercial and water rates in a bid
to help Inishowen businesses weather the recession.
He was among those who attended last week's meeting in Ballyliffin
Lodge and Spa convened by its managing director Cecil Doherty.
"The purpose of the meeting was to try to divert the imminent demise
of small businesses in Inishowen," said Mr Connell.
"A hotelier pointed out that one of the biggest problems facing
businesses is excessive commercial rates imposed by the Government
and extortionate water rates." The hotelier told the crowd he was
paying €100,000 combined commercial and water rates on his premises
and got little in return. He didn't get his bins emptied or his
streets swept. He said his water rates exceeded his oil bill, said
Mr Connell said a builder supplier said he couldn't tender for State
contracts jobs let alone land one.
He said he would need a €7m Indemnity Bond from a bank to be
submitted with his tender. He didn't have this facility while he
also had a 6.5% differential VAT rate and a sterling/euro exchange
rate to contend with as well.
"Is it any wonder that the traders in Donegal feel less than
confident that they are being fully supported by the local and
national Government at present?" asked Mr Connell.
"Unless the Government comes to the assistance of businesses in
Inishowen immediately the ranks of the unemployed will go on
swelling. Commercial rates and water rates must be slashed
Cllr Daren Lalor
"Take ownership of your Council"
BUNCRANA Sinn Féin town councillor Daren Lalor is encouraging
members of the public to start attending the monthly Buncrana Town
Cllr Lalor said it was clear from his recent canvassing that many
locals had a "strong interest and knowledge of local issues".
"So, I’m again calling on the community to take ownership of their
local council and attend monthly meetings," he said.
At present, individuals, community and voluntary groups may request
a meeting with the Town Council at a statutory monthly meeting. Cllr
Lalor said it was imperative such individuals and groups continue to
seek such meetings and explore other avenues for community
participation. "While I acknowledge there is limited space in the
chamber I still would call on members of the public to come along
and attend the Buncrana Town Council meetings at 7.30pm on the
second Wednesday of ever month."
Green economy "taking off"
INISHOWEN Green Party candidate Sheenagh McMahon has welcomed the
establishment of a task force to identify what is needed to develop
Ireland's 'green economy'. The group will report back to Government
after four months. Ms McMahon said her party had made "considerable
progress" over the last two years in Government. "A crucial step
going forward is co-ordination of the green economy so that
Government departments, state agencies and businesses can interact
in a cohesive manner in developing green enterprises and jobs," she
said. She also welcomed the announcement earlier this week of new
'green' courses such as the new sustainable energy courses. "These
courses are important for upskilling and re-training those who have
lost their jobs in recent times. There is no doubting the green
economy is taking off," Ms McMahon added.
Libertas posters "mysteriously" disappear
THOUSANDS of election posters belonging to Libertas have been
mysteriously disappearing and are being replaced with posters of the
other candidates, according to Declan Ganley. Galway City, Donegal
Town, and various other areas in the North and West constituency
have been badly hit.
“Some people cannot bear to be challenged and are reduced to
removing election posters in order to try and damage my campaign,"
said Mr Ganley.
"We always knew that this would happen, but the blatant and
orchestrated way in which it is occurring is particularly
disappointing. The attempt to stifle debate and discussion is
"However, I consider this only a distraction. I hereby challenge the
other candidates to debate on the real issues affecting this
constituency which is economic recovery and job creation. Its time
for ideas not underhand election tactics," he added.
Cllr Pádraig MacLochlainn
MacLochlainn criticises 'Cope's' marine record
SINN FÉIN North West EU candidate Cllr Pádraig MacLochlainn has
accused Deputy Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher of "criminalising" small
He was speaking after challenging the former marine junior minister
during a radio debate on his support for the controversial Sea
“The fact is that Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher was Minister of State for
the Marine when this Bill was being drafted and tabled before the
Dáil,” Cllr. MacLochlainn said.
“He may have subsequently abandoned his post - and our fishermen -
but he can’t change the fact that he and his cronies in Government
are responsible for this excessive and totally unfair legislation
which criminalised honest fishermen the length and breadth of
“Pat’s political revisionism won’t wash with the people of Donegal
who know that he was central to the Fianna Fáil Government that
decimated and criminalised our fishing industry," added Cllr
MacLochlainn. Meanwhile, on a separate issue, the Sinn Féin
councillor welcomed a new economic study which found that the
proposed Sligo-Donegal-Letterkenny-Derry rail link could attract
between 350,000 and 750,000 passengers per year. The report was
published by national sustainable transport campaigner and
researcher Brian Guckian who concluded that the rail-link could also
generate revenues exceeding €10 million. “This reports vindicates
much of what Sinn Féin has been arguing around the need for a
cohesive transport infrastructure in the North West,” he said.
Fiachra Ó Luain
Ó Luain discusses politics with Dr Eamon Casey
INDEPENDENT European candidate Fiachra Ó Luain has spoken to retired
bishop Dr Eamon Casey about the North West and its future in Europe.
Dr Casey and the young Independent candidate met each other on the
Iarnród Éireann service from Athlone to Galway on Bank Holiday
Monday, May 4. During the hour-long journey, the two men discussed
how Ireland has changed in the past 20 years and the significance of
the Peace Process. Ó Luain attended Saleen National School in East
Cork, a school that was once in Dr Casey’s Kerry diocese. Meanwhile,
Mr Ó Luain revealed that he has received the support of a US
Congressman. Congressman William Delahunt offered to financially
help the 27 year old’s bid for election to the EU Parliament during
a Massachusetts State dinner to honour Ó Luain’s uncle John J.
Bangert on May 2.
Ruddy fears for Inishowen businesses
CARNDONAGH local election candidate Sean Ruddy has expressed concern
for the survival of small businesses in Inishowen describing some
banks actions as ‘unforgiving’. Mr Ruddy said he was recently
approached by a local business person in the Inishowen area who was
recently advised by his bank's financial advisor that they were no
longer willing to facilitate his overdraft. Mr Ruddy said he was
shocked to hear reports from the businessman of 15 years that his
overdraft would be cancelled "with immediate effect" due to his
financial performance in the last six months. "I learned that the
business person, who had never looked for support from the bank in
the past and has been a loyal customer for the entire duration of
(his) business life, was presented with a stark ultimatum.
"This was to either repay the overdraft by taking out a business
loan at a minimum rate of 17% interest or avail of a private loan at
a rate of 2% with asset security attached i.e. property deeds etc.
to the value of the overdraft.
"As a small businessman myself, I can relate to this person's
plight," said Mr Ruddy. It comes at a time when the Government has
pledged taxpayers' money to the financial institutions in a bid to
ensure the future of small businesses amidst an economic crisis. I
believe this to be a very worrying development for the Inishowen
Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher
'The Cope' to run for Europe
DONEGAL former Minister of State, Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher has
confirmed he will run in the EU elections for Fianna Fáil in the
However, the decision has angered former Senator Paschal Mooney
because both candidates are based in the north of the constituency.
Mr Gallagher had earlier conceded that a Cope-Mooney ticket would be
imbalanced. He now says that on reflection the geographical issue is
a "psychological" one. Senator Cecilia Keaveney welcomed Mr
Gallagher's decision to run. She said he was known in Donegal as "a
good communicator and a hard worker".
MEP Jim Higgins
Car importers need more time
THE European Commission has told Fine Gael MEP for Ireland North
West, Jim Higgins, that Irish residents must be given at least seven
days to register cars recently imported from Britain and elsewhere.
The Commission also said drivers must be given at least one warning
before vehicles are impounded.
"Many people in Ireland especially the border counties of Cavan,
Donegal and Monaghan have been told they must register their vehicle
within 24 hours by revenue officials. In many cases this is just not
workable but is grossly unfair. Once I heard that revenue officials
were pressurising people and scaremongering on the issue of VRT I
raised the issue with the European Commission," said Mr Higgins. He
said he had received a response from Laslo Kovacs, the Commissioner
in charge of taxation and customs, who said 24 hours was so short a
time period, it made it impossible or "excessively difficult" to
comply with the requirements imposed.
McConalogue in speech therapy call
FIANNA Fáil local election candidate Charlie McConalogue has
demanded answers on the lack of speech therapy services for children
“Since I began canvassing I have come across a serious lack of
speech therapy services for children in Inishowen. Parents have
expressed their frustration and anger at the lengthy waiting times
for and between appointments and the inconsistency in service
delivery as therapists are changing all the time," said Mr
“Just this week I spoke to one parent who was extremely upset to
learn that their child’s speech therapist is leaving the post. This
is the second therapist to do so within a year. This parent was
informed that a replacement therapist will be assigned to their
child in the autumn but this is only the beginning of May," he said.
He said he had contacted the HSE, relevant Ministers and Dáil
representatives in Donegal in a bid to get a solution to the
SINN Féin candidate for Buncrana Town Council, Ciaran McGuinness,
has called for a tourism marketing strategy for the seaside town. He
said one such strategy should be developed and implemented within
the term of the next town council. “In this economic uncertainty,
the tourism industry can play a major role in the economic success
and development of Buncrana and the surrounding areas and Buncrana
Town Council has to position itself so that we have the right
strategy in place so that we benefit from any economic upturn," said
"In the case of well-established tourism centres on this island such
as Galway, Belfast and Bundoran, visitors have a clear, positive
image of what these places offer them as a holiday destination. That
is what the next Buncrana Town Council goal should be with regards
to attracting visitors.
“If elected I, along with my Sinn Féin colleagues, will continue to
push this to the top of the council agenda."
Eco-activists urged to seek funding
LOCAL Green Party candidate Sheenagh McMahon has urged environmental
activists in Inishowen to apply for EU funding to support projects
on nature conservation and education. €1.7 billion will be provided
by the EU in a programme designed to educate people on environmental
matters. "I will make myself available to help these projects make
an application and will work closely with groups to ensure they
receive the funding they deserve," said Ms McMahon.
Mooney demands Ireland-EU drug strategy
EU Fianna Fail candidate Paschal Mooney has called for Ireland to
co-operate more fully in Europe to combat international drug
trafficking. "We live in an internal market where a system of free
movement of people exists within the 27 different member states of
the European Union. That is the primary reason why our police forces
must co-operate to stop illegal drug trafficking," said Mr Mooney.
“Cocaine is coming into Europe from South America and heroin is
coming into Europe from Afghanistan.
“90% of all heroin sold in Ireland, both in rural and urban areas,
comes directly from Afghanistan. We all sadly know the damage that
is being to done to those who use illegal drugs aswell as the damage
that is caused to families and friends of drug users and to local
communities," he said, welcoming the EU Drugs Action Plan 2009 -
Fiachra Ó Luain
National press eludes Ó Luain
CARN-born European election candidate Fiachra Ó Luain has said he
has not yet been acknowledged by the national press despite his
"consistent" campaign since the launch of his campaign on March 17.
The 27 year old Independent candidate said his running for the EU
Parliament was a 'litmus test of Irish and European democracy". "I
have yet to be acknowledged by the national press but I congratulate
and thank the local press of the Ireland North West constituency for
their much fairer coverage," he said.
Cllr. Pádraig MacLochlainn
SF unveil recession-beating proposals
NORTH West EU candidate, Cllr Pádraig MacLochlainn has joined Sinn
Féin leaders Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald for the launch of the
party’s 10 point plan for supporting workers through the recession.
Cllr Pádraig MacLochlainn said: “Irish workers are being forced to
carry the can for the economic crisis. Fianna Fáil continues to
punish working families and the low paid for (Government) mistakes.
But the current crisis offers the people an opportunity – an
opportunity to reshape this state." The 10 proposals include a €300m
jobs retention fund to subsidise workers in struggling but viable
SMEs; an increase in the school leaving age to 17 and a scheme to
get early school leavers back into education. The 10 would also take
minimum wage earners back out of the tax net. Construction workers
would also be helped with key infrastructure projects including the
building of 125 schools a year between 2010 and 2013.
McConalogue welcomes summer works
LOCAL election candidate for Fianna Fáil, Charlie McConalogue, has
welcomed news that Carndonagh Community School is to get funding
under this year’s summer works scheme. “The Summer Works Scheme is
returning this year after a 12 month deferral period and covers
school projects such as gas, electrical and mechanical works, roof
replacement and repairs, window replacement, toilet upgrades,
structural improvements and access works," he said. The Carn school
will get funding for roof repairs while St Oran’s NS in Buncrana
will also get funding for electrical works.
Cllr. Daren Lalor
"Shameful" irony of Hanafin cuts
BUNCRANA Sinn Féin Town councillor Daren Lalor has described the
decision to cut Child Benefit payments for all as a "shameful
attack" on working families.
Cllr Lalor said struggling families were, once again, been forced to
pay the heaviest price for the mistakes of the selected chosen few.
"It’s shameful that Mary Hanafin, the Minister who will oversee the
cuts in Child Benefit, will get retirement benefit from three State
pensions. Surely the irony of this will not be lost on her and her
Cabinet colleagues," said Cllr Lalor.
MEP Marian Harkin
Harkin demands no VEC cutbacks
INDEPENDENT MEP Marian Harkin had demanded that no cutbacks be made
in the training and education programmes operated by Vocational
Educational Committees (VECs) and FAS. "Where demand exists they
must be expanded," she said. Ms Harkin also called for an exemption
for VECs from reducing their middle management posts to ensure the
"effective delivery of services" to those who will be seeking
employment opportunities when economic recovery occurs. “The
government must prepare now to ensure that the country is in a
position with appropriately educated workers to take full advantage
when the recovery period commences," added Ms Harkin.
Cllr. Daren Lalor
"Alarming" rise in Donegal sex abuse
BUNCRANA Sinn Fein Cllr Daren Lalor has expressed concern at the
alarming increase in sexual assault across Donegal.
Figures from the Donegal Sexual Abuse and Rape Crises Centre show
that the number of rapes in the county has risen by 40% with
reported sexual assaults up 30%. "This is a terrible trend and a
trend that needs to be reduced," said Cllr Lalor.
It was even more worrying given that the figure under-represented
the problem with many victims opting not to report sexual attacks,
"This is a terrible crime and I would urge anybody who finds
themselves in this position to seek some sort of counselling or
professional advice. It is imperative that victims of sexual assault
do not suffer in silence.
"The reality is domestic abuse is a silent crime that devastates the
lives of those living in perpetual fear of their abusers," added
He called on all elected representatives to ensure that adequate
resources were given to organisations like Donegal Sexual Abuse and
rape crises centres, Inishowen Women’s Outreach and Donegal Domestic
"They need more resources. They have achieved a lot and I applaud
them on that, but it is obvious that more resources are needed and
it is now time for the HSE and other Government agencies to raise
Moville meeting to discuss job creation
SINN Fein local election candidate for North Inishowen, Sean Ruddy,
has called a public meeting in Moville in early May to discuss the
economic downturn and "getting the country back to work". The
meeting will take place in Moville's Temperance Hall on Monday, May
4, at 7.30pm. The meeting will discuss the party's employment and
enterprise manifesto. The document contains more than 80 proposals
that Sinn Fein are needed to sustain existing jobs and create new
"Unemployment has reached disastrous levels in Inishowen. More than
4,000 people are now signing on across the peninsula and over the
last year, more than 40 new people joined the dole queues every week
in Inishowen," said Mr Ruddy.
"The Government needs a three-year plan to hold on to or create the
Inishowen jobs and the 1,000 jobs a day that are being lost across
the state. This must include stopping job losses, creating new jobs,
keeping people in education and stimulating consumer spending."
O'Luain issues public debate invitation
EUROPEAN election candidate Fiachra O Luain has invited all sitting
MEPs and fellow candidates for the North West constituency to a
public debate in Buncrana on June 4. Mr O Luain, from Carndonagh,
issued his invitation to all the candidates in open letters sent by
email this week. The debate is being planned for the Inishowen
Gateway Hotel in Buncrana at 12pm the day before the election.
MEP Jim Higgins
"Lisfannon erosion needs EU remedy"
FINE Gael MEP Jim Higgins has called on Donegal County Council to
look for EU funding to halt coastal erosion at Lisfannon beach. Mr
Higgins said that a more expensive long term remedy is needed after
recent efforts by the Council proved unsuccessful.
"The ongoing erosion at Lisfannon threatens the future of one of
Inishowen's most popular beaches. As the Council's recent efforts
have failed to stop erosion at the beach, it is time to look at the
possibility of creating a permanent erosion prevention structure,"
said Mr Higgins.
"I have found that four areas in Wales recently received EU funding
to the tune of £17 million for coastal erosion and flood protection
measures. I see no reason why Donegal County Council should not be
approaching the EU as well, to seek funding for measures which are
now urgently needed on site.
"I will be contacting the Council in the coming days to ascertain
what exactly their plan for Lisfannon is and if they have approached
the EU or applied for funding via an appropriate EU funding
*Meanwhile, Mr Higgins has said the new EU Green Paper on the Common
Fisheries Policy offers a "real opportunity" for fishermen from
Greencastle and Killybegs to get a fairer deal when it comes to EU
He was speaking this week in Strasbourg following the publication of
the Green Paper by Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg. Commissioner
Borg said the current system was failing and that something new was
needed. Mr Higgins promised to hold talks with fishing organisations
in Donegal to ensure their views formed a central part of the new
Common Fisheries Policy proposals.
"We can't reach Porthaw beach"
GREEN Party local election candidate Sheenagh McMahon has called for
better access to Inishowen beaches after a number of families and
elderly people approached her with concerns.
Ms McMahon said access to Porthaw Beach in Buncrana, was a
"The slipway leading to this beach is broken and damaged by the sea,
which means people using wheelchairs or buggies have great
difficulty accessing the beach without putting themselves at risk,"
"It's a shame that Porthaw Beach cannot be enjoyed by all,
particularly when it wouldn't cost very much to improve the existing
slipway. I'm afraid it's an issue all over Inishowen." The Buncrana
Town Council and county candidate added: "Inishowen heavily depends
on tourism. Therefore it is not acceptable that access points to any
of our beaches are not being properly maintained."
Cllr. Nicholas Crossan
People want change says Crossan
Independent councillor to contest county and town council elections
INDEPENDENT councillor Nicholas Crossan has suggested that many
voters in the peninsula are anxious to vote for a candidate who is
not tied to party affiliations and who will voice their concerns.
The Buncrana Town Councillor, who confirmed that he had been
approached by Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to contest the election for
them, said he preferred to maintain his independent voice and felt
that many people in Inishowen were looking for a candidate like him.
“There is a lot of anger out there and it is everybody from the
young man on the dole to the pensioner and these people are looking
for a voice to express their concerns.”
The independent candidate said he was aware that a pact exists
between the main parties in the council in Lifford, but said he was
opposed to any such agreement.
“I don’t believe in pacts or parties, I believe in representing the
people and not in cosy cartels and I honestly believe that there
will be more independent councillors in the council after these
elections and they could well hold the balance of power.”
The local councillor said he would be looking for just a fair crack
of the whip for Inishowen.
“The job of the councillor is to put the infrastructure in place for
the people who live here and to try to attract jobs here but there
are some areas that are hard to explain. For instance there are
homes in the Illies carrying water even though the water from the
pollan dam is running through their land and there are stretches of
road on the Inishowen 100 supposed to be geared towards bringing
tourists in a terrible state.”
Councillor Crossan insisted that money has been squandered during
the best ten years the country has ever seen and new voices are
needed to ensure the county can recover.
“I would adopt a business-like approach to this and I would cut down
on the numbers of meetings that have been taking away planners and
officials and directors for a day at a time.”
He also said he would press to ensure that the public would have
greater access to speak with council officials.
Stressing that he had learned from his 1999 campaign when he
contested both town and county council elections, councillor Crossan
said he now has a dedicated team of canvassers, something he didn’t
have last time.
“I am aware that I am fighting two very different campaigns in the
town and county council, but I will also be looking for a lot of
votes in the greater Buncrana area. That said, I am well known
across the peninsula and while that means nothing unless I can get
out and actually ask people for their vote, I fully intend to cover
as much of the peninsula as possible in the weeks ahead,” he
MEP Marian Harkin
Harkin livid at abortion allegation
NORTH and West MEP Marian Harkin has called on Libertas candidate
Declan Ganley to refute an assertion allegedly made by some of his
canvassers in Sligo recently that she is a supporter of abortion.
Speaking at the launch of her European Parliament Election campaign
which was launched by former European Parliament President Pat Cox
in Balygawley, Co. Sligo on Sunday, April 19, Ms Harkin said that
she was appalled that any canvasser for any candidate would make
such a "false and unfounded allegation".
"I am and always have been a pro-life person. I had hoped that Mr
Ganley’s imported spin doctors would not have engaged in the type of
dubious campaign which they have specialised in abroad but, just in
case these canvassers were on a solo run, I will give Mr Ganley an
opportunity to provide assurances that using the abortion issue in
such a disgraceful way is not either his official or unofficial
policy," she said.
“I would ask Mr. Ganley to unequivocally and immediately clarify his
position and instruct his canvassers to cease either directly, or by
inference, to mislead the electorate about my position on abortion,"
The sitting MEP said the election canvass required a debate on
relevant issues "rather than those identified in expensive focus
group sessions as likely to deliver positive results where target
groups were susceptible to disinformation”.
“The key issue in this election is confidence, confidence in the EU
to provide the broad stable economic framework within which Ireland
can operate. This includes a stable currency, low interest rates,
and a market of 500 million people for Irish goods," she added.
McMahon slates recycling eyesore
INISHOWEN Green Party candidate Sheenagh McMahon has blamed Donegal
County Council for a "rubbish dump" at the bottle banks in Buncrana.
"When people drop off their waste glass and cans they have nowhere
to put the leftover boxes used to carry the waste, resulting in a
stack of used cardbord being abandoned at the site.
"This is short-sighted of the Council which should be collecting
cardboard at this site too," said Ms McMahon.
She also said the location was doing nothing to promote Buncrana to
tourists and visitors. "This bottle bank is located on a main route
into Buncrana, near the tourist office and a restaurant and pub. "We
should be encouraging people to recycle and that means providing
facilities which work.
"Donegal County Council needs to use its head on this occasion and
get out from behind their desks and come and look at the site.
Before long the site will be a rubbish tip." Meanwhile, Ms McMahon
welcomed the announcement by the ESB that up to 6,000 jobs and
training opportunities will be created through green projects and
initiatives. The ESB has confirmed that 3,700 jobs will be created
in the areas of wind energy, smart networks and smart metering,
electric vehicles, construction and energy servicing.
MEP Jim Higgins
Higgins welcomes water cash
FINE Gael MEP Jim Higgins has learned that EU funding is now
available to Irish local authorities for water conservation work
such as repairing leaks and upgrading the water system. Two
different sources of funding are currently available and Mr Higgins
has called on the Government to help local authorities to access
these funds. The EU has committed €8 billion to water management and
distribution up to 2013.
“Local authorities like all of us are facing tough financial times
and do not have the financial ability to fund badly-needed projects
such as repairing leaks and upgrading old inefficient systems," he
said. “Local authorities should be drawing down EU funds when and
where they are available. Water conservation work needs to happen.
If it doesn't, it means businesses will be paying higher charges as
local authorities are forced to source more water due to leaks in
Culdaff in broadband wilderness
FIANNA Fáil local election candidate Charlie McConalogue has
described as "unacceptable" responses received from eircom and the
Department of Communications in relation to broadband for areas such
as Gleneely and Culdaff.
“Communications Minister Eamon Ryan recently announced the National
Broadband Scheme, asserting that 100% broadband coverage would be
achieved across the country by September 2010," said Mr McConalogue.
“In Inishowen, the National Broadband Scheme covers the Dunaff,
Carthage, Malin and Ardmalin District Electoral Divisions (DED’s)
and will see broadband delivered to each home and business in the
area. While this is a very positive and welcome development for
these DED’s, it will not have any impact in areas outside of this."
He said he has written to eircom and the Minister for Communications
querying plans for the delivery of broadband to the Gleneely and
“I received the response from eircom that they do not plan to
upgrade the Gleneely and Culdaff exchanges as it is ‘economically
unviable’ for them to do so," he said.
“This is not an acceptable position and I will not be standing for
it. The North West Electronics Service is only available to those
who have line of sight to the company’s wireless masts and is of no
benefit to a large proportion of homes.
"Either eircom or the National Broadband Scheme has to step up to
the mark and ensure that all homes are covered," he added.
McMahon welcomes spending limits
INISHOWEN Green Party candidate Sheenagh McMahon has welcomed the
introduction of local election spending limits announced by her
colleague, Minister John Gormley.
Under the limits, each candidate must record the cost of everything
they use in their campaign, including posters, leaflets, merchandise
"It is in everybodys interest that there should be clear and
reasonable spending limits as this ensures a level playing field for
all candidates and the most democratic outcome," said Ms McMahon.
"In the competitive atmosphere at an election, parties and
candidates can be drawn into a spiral of competitive spending which
can serve no real purpose other than to run the risk of needless
Ms McMahon also welcomed stricter controls on election posters. The
time period during which candidates can exhibit election posters has
now been clarified - local and European election candidates can only
erect posters from May 6, which is 30 days before the polling date.
All posters must be removed by June 12.
Meanwhile, the Buncrana-based candidate who is running for seats on
both Buncrana Town Council and the Inishowen electoral area
committee of Donegal County Council urged people to vote. She urged
those not already on the electoral register to get their names on
the supplementary electoral register by contacting their local
authorities for a an application form. The final date for the
receipt of completed supplement application forms by County Councils
is Monday, May 18, 2009.
Cllr. Marian McDonald
Coal thieves strike in Greencastle
INISHOWEN householders and holiday homeowners are being warned about
credit-crunch burglars who are targeting coal bunkers and domestic
oil tanks. The warning, from Cllr Marian McDonald, follows a number
of incidents in the Greencastle area in recent days. Cllr McDonald
said Easter was "ruined" for one family who arrived at their holiday
home for the Bank Holiday only to find their filled coal bunker gone
while the domestic oil tank was also tampered with. In a separate
incident, a nearby farmer suffered the theft of a tonne of
fertiliser, worth €400, from his property. Councillor McDonald urged
holiday homeowners as well as locals to be vigilant to the ongoing
spate of burglaries.
"I had been contacted by one lady who was distraught when she
arrived at her holiday home to find her coal bunker, which was full
of coal, gone. The oil was also tampered with," said Cllr McDonald.
She said the theft of the coal bunker and the fertiliser had to have
"This was not a spur-of-the-moment decision as (the coal bunkers and
tonne of fertiliser) were bulky and not easily moved. I would like
to appeal to everyone to contact the Gardai immediately if they
notice anything suspicious going on in the area."
Cllr. Pádraig Mac Lochlainn
MacLochlainn addresses Brussels seminar
SINN Féin EU candidate, Cllr Pádraig MacLochlainn will today call
for a "new treaty for new times" when he address a Brussels
conference on the Lisbon Treaty.
He says he will outline the concerns of the Irish people that led to
the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty. Cllr MacLochlainn accused the
Government of playing on Irish people's insecurities about the
future economy in order to get a 'Yes' vote in the next Lisbon
Treaty referendum. “The truth is that the very ideology and ideas
that form the basis of the Lisbon Treaty are part of the problem.
"The culture of vested interest and big business lobbyists in the
corridors of Brussels need to be confronted. It is the interests of
these lobbyists that insured a privatisation and anti-workers rights
agenda was at the heart of the Lisbon Treaty," he said.
“Their fingerprints were all over the EU Constitution rejected by
people on the ground and those fingerprints remained firmly on the
Lisbon Treaty, a slightly amended version of the Constitution. The
very people, who have led our world economy into global recession
through unbridled greed and reckless speculation, inspired the
The Buncrana-based councillor said the Irish Government had been
given a "decisive mandate" to return to their European partners and
negotiate a better deal.
"They have not honoured that mandate. The "deal" outlined by the
Government in Brussels does not address the substantive concerns
raised by the electorate. The broader issue of the EU's democratic
deficit, its erosion of workers' rights and public services, its
emerging foreign and defence policy agendas, and its promotion of
free trade over fair trade will not be addressed," he claimed.
"The people of Ireland and Europe deserve better than the Lisbon
Treaty. We need a new treaty for new times.”
MEP Jim Higgins
Higgins outlines Inishowen priorities
FINE GAEL MEP Jim Higgins has outlined his manifesto for Inishowen
as he prepares to defend his seat on June 5. He describes the
following as among his priorities for the peninsula:
*I want drivers punished for cross border road traffic offences and
for Ireland to embrace the Cross Border Road Traffic Directive.
*I am very passionate about road safety. In the last 18 months I
have begun to focus on technological advances for road safety. I
also want VAT reductions for safety features on all vehicles.
*I am fighting to save the Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly ferry
services by pushing for EU funds.
*I will be pushing for the EU to help develop our ports and increase
the number of passenger vessels visiting the west coast. I will also
be pushing for more EU funds to be provided to support businesses
and tourism along inland waterways.
*I want to develop the potential of Malin Head and the wider
peninsula as a sustainable tourism destination.
*I willl push for eco-tourism funding and marketing and lower VAT
for pubs, cafe, restaurants and hotels.
*Rail - the Western Rail Corridor is hugely important. However,
Counties Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan have no rail despite the need
to provide every county in Ireland with a railway line. I will be
pushing the EU to support the development of rail in the Border
counties and for the Government and CIE to draw down funds to
re-open viable stations and to upgrade existing ones."
Cllr. Pádraig Mac Lochlainn
MacLochlainn slates "disgraceful" levy
SINN FÉIN candidate for the North West EU constituency, Cllr Pádraig
MacLochlainn, has accused the Government of "targeting the low paid"
while failing to introduce measures to stem rising unemployment.
Cllr MacLochlainn also expressed concern at the Budget's
"implications for the border, midlands and western region" in terms
of regional and local roads
“It is clear that people are willing to shoulder their fair share of
the burden to get us through our current economic crisis. Tuesday
wasn’t so much about what the Government did as what they didn’t do
– what they didn’t do to stem unemployment and create jobs, what
they didn’t do to ensure that those who have most and made most
during the Celtic Tiger years carry the greatest burden." He
described as "disgraceful" the 2% income levy on people earning just
over €15,000 per annum. People on such low wages...are barely
getting by. Is the Government really saying that it is is fair that
these people be asked to pay an income levy at the same rate as
someone earning €50,000 per year?" He said the Cabinet should have
removed the PRSI ceiling instead of brining minimum wage earners
into the tax net. "They should have introduced a 48% tax rate for
those earning more than €100,000 a year," he added. He said Finance
Minister Brian Lenihan had failed in relation to job creation. "The
Government are cutting €200 million from the environment budget,
principally social housing and water infrastructure; they are
cutting €54 million from the school build programme; they are
cutting €13 million from sustainable energy and energy research
programmes and they are cutting €300 million from public transport.
"If the Government is serious about addressing the unemployment
crisis and improving competitiveness they should be doing the exact
opposite of what was announced on Budget day."
MEP Sean O’Neachtain and Paschal Mooney
O'Neachtain and Mooney run for Europe
SEAN O’Neachtain MEP and Paschal Mooney have been selected by Fianna
Fáil to contest the European Elections in the North and West
constituency on June 5.
Sean O’Neachtain stressed the importance of the European Union in
the Irish economic recovery process. “It is clearly in Ireland's
economic interest to stay at the heart of the European Union
project. Now more than ever, we need the European Union. Moving away
from Europe and detaching ourselves from the European Union project
simply sends out the wrong message to international investors."
His running mate, Paschal Mooney, added: “I am proud of my roots as
a Leitrim man and I look forward to working with the Fianna Fáil
organisation in the North and West to contest this election."
O'Luain welcomes Labour opponent
THE Fiachra for Europe Campaign has welcomed the announcement of
Susan O’Keeffe's candidacy for Labour in the EU elections for the
North and West constituencey. "As a journalist Ms. O’Keeffe will
bring many welcome perspectives on the relevant issues. Despite our
clear differences with regard the constitutionality of a second
Lisbon Treaty, the Fiachra For Europe Campaign believes that the
entry of a Labour candidate in the race will ultimately strengthen
the important ‘North Western Consensus’ that we are currently
"O’Keeffe has the courage of her convictions and that is the type of
candidate that all parties ought to be fielding. We need to put the
backbone and heart back into Irish political debate," he said.
SINN FÉIN local election candidate Sean Ruddy has described as "a
list of shame" the league table of 1,145 schools waiting for new
buildings or extensions. Of the 1,145, a total of 51 schools are in
County Donegal. “The fact that there are 1145 schools across the
State that are just sitting on a waiting list with no progress been
envisaged after ten years of the Celtic Tiger, is an indictment of
"At a time of unprecedented wealth and massive budget surpluses this
Government decided instead of investing in our children to invest in
the property developers and the greedy bankers," said Mr Ruddy.
Among those on the list are Clochar Padraig Naofa Carndonagh and
Scoil Naomh Padraig Boys' School in Carndonagh.
Ganley appeals to North West voters
Open Letter: "After some consideration, I have decided to ask the
voters in Ireland North West to give me the chance to represent them
in the European Parliament.
Over the last five years, Rivada Networks, a company I founded in
Galway in 2001, has expanded and now supplies life-saving equipment
to 17 US States. Rivada was based on a simple idea – that ambulance,
fire, police, coast guard and rescue workers should be able to speak
to each other quickly and easily in a time of emergency, be that a
hurricane, earthquake or terrorist attack. Our equipment has been
used to save lives in Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and our team has
been awarded for their life-saving actions (Louisiana Distinguished
Service Medal). Neither I, nor any company I have founded or been
involved with has ever supplied the US military, or anyone else,
with equipment for use in conflict situations. I would never be
party to, or support any initiative which would involve the taking
of human life.
My company, and my team, has a wonderful record. Because of the work
we do, people are alive today who would otherwise have died.
Regardless of the outcome of this election, I will always be proud
that a company founded by Irish people in a small Galway office went
on to make a real difference in a far away part of the world where
people needed our help. For some reason, our current MEPs and
political parties think Rivada Networks’ success in business is
something I should be ashamed of. There is no doubt in my mind that
these and other smears would not have been circulated if I had taken
a different side in the Lisbon debate last year.
Libertas, which I founded, is running candidates across Europe. We
stand for a stronger, democratic, European Union, based on the idea
that the people are the bosses, not the bureaucrats. I am asking the
people for a job. I believe my experience in business in Europe and
the US will be an asset to the North West. I believe we need
political change in this country, and that we need new leadership.
In the end, it is the people’s decision. I look forward to meeting
as many of them as possible in the coming weeks."
*Declan Ganley will host a public meetingThe Plaza, Main Street,
Buncrana on Wednesday, April 8, at 12.30 p.m
Carn fundraiser for O'Luain
Fiachra O'Luain will host an 'Easter Sunday Music' fundraiser for
his campaign in the Arch Inn, Carndonagh, starting at 2pm. Fiddle
legend Dinny McLaughlin and Keenan Barrett will entertain. It will
be followed in the evening by The Carn Consortium described by the
EU candidate as "a collection of some of Inishowen’s best rock
artists" Special guest will be Rowland Scherman, photographer of The
Beatles, the Doors and Janis Joplin to name but some.
Driving test time halved
THE waiting time for a driving test in Inishowen is now less that
half the wait two years ago, says FF candidate, Charlie McConalogue.
“Two years ago the average waiting time for a driving test in
Buncrana was 15 weeks, and that has now reduced to just six weeks.
This is a very necessary reduction and is well below the national
EUROPEAN candidate Fiachra O'Luain has hit out at suggestions that
there is little demand for a Sligo - Donegal -Derry rail connection
describing it as "just another Dublin myth". "I actually think it
would be logical a solution to the congestion of cities, like Galway
and Dublin. Even Letterkenny, has half hour traffic jams these days
and was the fastest growing town in Europe over the past 10 years.
Many people continue to ignore these facts.
"Why can't someone living in Ballybofey be able to work in Sligo and
only travel an hour each morning by train? It's exactly what happens
all over Europe. When I worked in Hamburg people would come from
Kiel to work and back every day, why don't we demand it? I just
think that the only thing holding an initiative back for returning
Donegal to a railway county is the Dublin-stipulated view of Donegal
as a cul-de-sac of the Republic instead of the massive thoroughfare
of traffic for the border region that it truly is," he said.
McConalogue in car park call
CARNDONAGH'S newest car park is in urgent need of proper surfacing,
according to local Fianna Fáil election candidate, Charlie
“The car park located at the back of the Sportsman's pub is a key
facility for the town but is not anywhere near the standard
necessary for safe and easy use by the public in it’s current
repair," he said.
“The car park was expected to be properly surfaced as a follow-on
from the completion of the redesign of The Diamond and provide much
needed additional car parking spaces for the town. It is potentially
a fine facility and is capable of holding around 80 cars but
insufficient people are using it due to the rough nature of its
Cllr. Pádraig Mac Lochlainn
"Honour Ireland's patriot dead" - MacLochlainn
COUNCILLOR Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, Sinn Féin's European candidate for
the North and West constituency, has called for republicans
throughout the county to "honour Ireland's patriot dead" by
attending their local Easter Commemoration events.
"86 years on, Drumboe remains one of the seminal events in this
county's role during the struggle for national unity and freedom.
"On March 14, 1923, four Republican soldiers - Charlie Daly (26),
Daniel Enright (23), Timothy O'Sullivan (23) and Sean Larkin (26) -
were executed by Free State forces at Drumboe Castle, Stranorlar.
After their capture in November 1922 at Dun Luiche, the four were
subject to Court Martial and sentenced to death, before being
executed by a Free State firing squad," said Cllr MacLochlainn.
"The peace process has placed the objective of Irish unity back at
centre-stage in this country's development. There is now a palpable,
popular hunger for Irish unity and independence across society.
"By rededicating ourselves to the 1916 Proclamation, by honouring
this nation's patriot dead throughout Ireland this weekend, and by
wearing the Easter Lily with pride over coming weeks, tens of
thousands of republicans will renew that pledge to deliver on the
promise of the Proclamation."
*The Inishowen/Buncrana Easter Sunday Commemoration will take place
at Cockhill Cemetery on April 12, starting with a march from
Cockhill Park at 12 noon. Speaker: Francie Brolly.
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