Sunday, November 26, 2006

Officially Launched

Yet another busy week on the election trail, with Pat’s visit on Monday and my work as a local Councillor, I did not get much canvassing done this week. The weather and dark nights makes it hard to get to as many doors as you can during the summer.

Anyway the main news of this week was Pat Rabbitte officially launching my blog while in Kilkenny City. The blog is turning out to be a real success and I am getting a good reaction with voters able to keep up to date with my campaign.

As for next week, keep on canvassing and look for a new pair of shoes. You would be surprised how quick you can get through shoes on the canvass trail.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A walk on High Street

Pat Rabbitte paid a constituency visit to Carlow / Kilkenny on Monday to support the election campaign of both myself and my running mate Jim Townsend. The tour took in a visit to Kilkenny City, where we started the day with Pat, Seamus Pattison TD and myself being interviewed on KCLR, the local radio station.

The next stop on the tour was a meeting with Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce. This was a very interesting meeting and was I was glad to exchange ideas on what needs to be done to support local business. This is a discussion I intend returning to again soon with the Chamber. Also on the visit Pat, Jim and myself visited the local newspapers, where Pat conducted a series on interviews on local and national issues. We paid a visit to the local SIPTU office, where Denis and his staff made us very welcome, after which we got in some canvassing in Kilkenny City centre.

The Kilkenny leg of the visit ended with lunch in The Ground Floor coffee shop, which I would recommend for good coffee and nice food.

I have seen the light

On Monday, I toured Carlow College and got to meet some of the staff and students with my election running mate Jim Townsend and Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte. Carlow College really impressed me with the facilities and range of courses it has on offer. The college itself was founded in 1782 and has a long track record of being a corner stone of education in Carlow and the surrounding areas. In the last number of years the college has widened its course choice and now offers courses ranging from humanities to social studies.

It is great to see such an old and historical building full of life and having students fill its halls ways. The library within the college stands out as an impressive feature and is a credit to the staff and students. Particularly heartening was the number of mature students attending the college and reaffirms my belief in life long learning. Well done on all the good work to the staff and students and thank you for having me as a visitor.

As James Connolly once famously said “educate to liberate”.

Time to end homelessness

It never ceases to amaze me that we still have people without homes in this Celtic Tiger economy. When the Simon community started in Ireland in the sixties, homeless people, and they were almost all men, were confined to the big cities, and mostly Dublin. I also saw my fair share of Irish people who fell on hard times in London, where I first became a Labour Party member. Indeed I should say congratulations to Emmet Stagg TD who has done so much to highlight the ongoing difficulties these people face in England, despite havcing contributed so much to our economy.

I am glad to support a new campaign on the issue called Make Room, a joint initiative of the Saint Vincent de Paul, Threshold, Simon and Focus Ireland who are demanding an end to homelessness by 2010. This will mean that homeless people in this city and county should be catered for, and that we should provide homes for those who need them. Public housing is always built when Labour are in Government, and ignored when we're not. It needs a Labour Minister in charge of this area again, before the spiralling waiting lsits for housing will finally be cleared, and biulders and developers made to liove up to their responsibilities once and for all.

Log on here to support the campaign., ending homelessness in Ireland by 2010

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Climate Change

Attended the documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, staring AL Gore during the week and I would recommend everyone to go see the film. This is truly an outstanding production and really brings home the effect we are having on the climate through our actions.

When you see the government allow the Sugar plant in Carlow be demolished, when with proper investment, the plant could have been converted to produce Bio ethanol, which can be used as a fuel source for transportation.

Using sugar beet to produce the eco friendly fuels, would have had a positive impact not only on the environment, but also on local jobs and local agriculture. The potential of this industry to create jobs locally should not be under rated. However, without the foresight to see the potential we will merely repeat the mistakes of the past.

The best example of this has to be the railways, nationally we are spending millions to replace lines we destroyed in the past. In years to come, we will have to build bio fuel plants to replace the sugar factory's we demolished in the past. Will we as a nation never learn.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Fair Pension For All

Another interesting week on the election campaign trail, so far I have been out canvassing for six months. It would look like Bertie is going to call the election for some time in May, so I am nearly half way through the campaign.

Glad to see that the papers covered my support for the pension rights for farm women. For a country awash with money, the government does not seem to be focusing on real issues. The pension right's of farm women is not just a farming issue. It goes to heart of what we should stand for, both urban and rural, it is about citizens being protected and cared for by the state. To see hard working families having to campaign for basic pension rights in a booming economy, shows up the huge weakness we still have in social infrastructure.

On a brighter note, I was delighted to be present at the formal launch of the rural walkway from Kilkenny City to Inistoge. The walkway cuts through some of the most beautiful countryside in Carlow / Kilkenny. Seeing the countryside opened up in an agreed manner is good news for all and will most certainly boost tourist numbers in the area. Hopefully, this is only the start of such projects for Carlow / Kilkenny.

John V Hillary

Took some time off the campaign trail this week to follow the election results in the USA. I was glad to see the Democrats came out the clear winners; hopefully President Bush will listen to the election results and review his national and international policies.

I was very interested to see John McCain express his intent to try and seek the Republican nomination to replace President Bush. The race to replace Bush is going to be very interesting. With Hillary Clinton making noises that she will seek the Democrat nomination, there will be fun times ahead. The most interesting race should be for the Democrat nomination and I believe Senator John Edwards will certainly strongly challenge Hillary., John Edwards site

Fun time ahead for all in politics, as the Chinese say, “may you live in interesting times”

Monday, November 06, 2006

Rural post office, worth saving

(Pat, myself and Cllr. Liam O'Brien from Carlow. Liam has done some excellent work fighting to protect post office services in Carlow)

I spent last weekend canvassing in some of my old local election area and got to meet up with a large number of my old supporters. The villages of Windgap, Kilmaganny, and Dunnamaggan formed part of my old local election area before the boundaries were redrawn in 1999. After being a local councillor for these areas for twenty years up to 1999, it was good to get back canvassing these areas. It was nice to meet up with some old friends and supporters once again.

The issues in these areas are very similar to many of the other rural areas, which I have already covered. Yet again the status of rural post offices was raised again and again on the doorsteps. The lifeblood of rural village is the local post office and sometimes, I feel the powers that be in government over look this. On the upside, it was nice to see some new housing being planned for Windgap. It is good to see new houses going into this nice village.