Sunday, January 28, 2007

Death of a Colleague

The Labour Party in Carlow / Kilkenny received sad news on Sunday, with the death of Cllr. Michael Meaney at his home just outside Borris. Michael was a long standing member of the Labour Party and represented the Borris electoral area for many years.

Michael was one of the hardest working councillors many of us have had the honour of meeting and the fact that he regularly topped the poll in his area showed the feeling that the local population had for Michael.

As a mark of respect to Michael, I will not be posting my regular election update this week. I merely wish to mark the passing of a colleague and send my sympathy to his family.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Would you post a letter in this

Would you post a letter in this post box, by the looks of this box it would seem to be out of commission. However it is the post box serving one of the busy areas in Kilkenny City. After contacing An Post, I have received a positive response from An Post following my request for improved maintenance of letterboxes throughout Kilkenny and Carlow. In a letter from the Leinster Area Operations Manager in Naas, I have been assured that painting and replacement of nameplates will be undertaken 'early in 2007'

It is unacceptable practice for the postal service to allow its equipment to deteriorate to its present state. We are entitled to be assured of the integrity of the mail service, in what claims to be a leading country in the communication age.

Health Survey

Over the weekend Seamus Pattison and I took part in the local launch of the Labour Party’s health survey. Nationally Labour is distributing 52,000 questionnaires to households asking for peoples’ opinions and experience of our health system. Locally Labour members are distributing 5,000 leaflets to homes across the electoral areas in Carlow / Kilkenny. In Kilkenny I want to personally thank my council colleagues, Seán Ó hArgáin, Marie Fitzpatrick, Maurice Shortall, Anne Phelan and Tomas Breathnach for organising the questionnaires to be delivered in their local area. People will tell you that no one is interested in politics any more, well to see Labour members braving the elements to hand deliver 5,000 surveys to homes across Carlow / Kilkenny proves otherwise.

It was also great to launch the surveys with Seamus Pattison, Seamus has given 45 years strong and loyal service to the public in this constituency and I am proud that he is helping and advising me in my campaign, to also offer the same level of service to hard working families across both counties.

Iverk AGM

On Monday I attended the AGM of the Iverk Agriculture Show in the Piltown Community Centre. The Iverk show is 181 years in existence and is the showcase event for rural life in Kilkenny. The show itself allows all strands of rural life exhibit their wares and the event is a credit to the organising committee. There was mention of moving the time of the show to a weekend away from the traditional first Thursday in September slot to accommodate part time farmers and people in rural areas. It is important for rural Ireland that events like the Iverk show continue to grow and such a move would be a good idea taking into account the change in circumstances of many living in rural areas like myself.

From knocking on doors in rural areas people are rightly worried about the continued way of life we enjoy. Access to transport and rural services such as post offices are some of the many subjects brought up time and again.

I have included a link to the Iverk show, which is well worth a visit next September no matter what day it is on.

After the AGM, I visit some of my election team in Piltown and as usual they look after me well with a cup of tea, which was much appreciated.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Busy Weekend

Another very busy weekend, Saturday was spent in Glenmore and Rosbercon on the canvas trail, while one of my leaflet dropping teams were in action in Kilkenny City. With all the rain on Saturday, a lot of time was actually spent drinking tea in Labour supporters houses. Thank you all for your welcome and the tea was most appreciated. Thanks to the team who braved the elements in the City to drop a few hundred health surveys.

Sunday was spent in Kilmanagh canvasing and catching up with some of the Labour Party supporters as well. While the weather is cold this time of year, I am delighted with the warn welcome on the door steps. Kilmanagh like other rural areas, is crying out of rural transport and one householders quite rightly commented that rural Ireland needs a bus service during the day and not just at night to bring people to and from pubs, as put forward by some government Ministers. It is time for our government TD's to obtain funding to expand Ring a Link to the whole of Carlow / Kilkenny

Monday, January 08, 2007

Time for the government to admit their mistake.

Spent Saturday back on the canvas, which was my first day back after the holidays. My fellow Labour Councillor Anne Phelan joined me on the canvas in the village of Goresbridge. Goresbridge is within the local election area which both Anne and I represent. We both take pride in the fact that the Labour Party has the highest number of councillors in this area.

The main issue on the doors steps in Goresbridge was the closure of the local secondary school, St. Brigid's, a few years back. The local parents to their credit ran a very positive campaign to save the school and are now being proven correct in the fact that the school was needed. The schools in the surrounding areas are reaching full capacity and there is a need to cater for the increase numbers over the next few years. I am glad to say that both Anne and I were very strong in support for keeping the school open. However the Department of Education and government TD’s from the area did not listen to the people, invest in the school and keep it open.

Frankly, to this day I cannot see any sense in closing a great school like St. Brigid’s. It is quite clear to me as well as everyone in the local area that a school now needs to be rebuilt in Goresbridge. Needless to say government TD’s will be falling over each other offering to lobby on the matter closer to the election.

It is time for the government and the department to admit they were wrong and start the plans to reopen the school; of course they will in the process waste millions replacing the school they closed in the first place. Not that wasting hard working families tax money matters to this government, wasting money is something they are very good at.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

My New Years Resolution

Well the festive season is over and we now face into the election some five or six months away. From here on in it is back to campaigning hard to make sure Carlow / Kilkenny has strong representation by a Labour Party T.D. after the next election.

On a non political point, we all have made New Year resolutions and I am going to share with you one of mine. The resolution is to buy more “Fair Trade” products in 2007 and help support ethical business in the developing world. The Fair Trade organisations are doing excellent work supporting fair prices to local independent producers in developing countries. As the saying goes “a help up not a hand out” and Kilkenny City can be proud in the fact that it is leading the way by becoming a Fair Trade City.

I would urge everyone to support Fair Trade by looking for their symbol when shopping and lend your support to prove that ethical business in the developing world can be a success. For more information on finding Fair Trade products the website address is Particularly, I would ask the local farm families within Carlow / Kilkenny to support their colleagues in developing countries to make a liveable wage from their farms.

A happy New Year to you all and see you all on the door steps over the next few months.