General Election daily round-up: Here's what's happening in Cork 

General Election daily round-up: Here's what's happening in Cork 
15/01/2020 Leader Micheal Martin during the Opening Press Conference by Fianna Fail for General Election 2020 on South Cumberland Street, Dublin. 

With the elections around the corner (Saturday, February 8) every day is an eventful one in the political world.

Here's a round-up of today's top stories.

 

Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire ready to battle in General Elections

BY any measure, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has had an impressive first term in the Dáil.

Starting with an upset victory in 2016 — knocking out two TDs to win a seat in a contracting constituency — he was appointed straight to Sinn Féin’s front bench, all before hitting the age of 30.

As the party’s justice spokesperson for most of the last Dáil, he was centre stage for key debates about Garda reform, and secured a historic change in sentencing rules by working with the Government.

But times are changing and memories are short, and Mr Ó Laoghaire is facing into an electoral battle to ensure he isn’t just a one-hit-wonder.

Coming off the highs of 2014 and 2016, the bottom fell out of Sinn Féin’s support on the southside in last year’s local and European elections.

Education spokesperson Donnchadh O Laoghaire TD 
Education spokesperson Donnchadh O Laoghaire TD 

Alongside losing MEP Liadh Ní Riada — a symptom of a national drop in support for the party Sinn Féin lost its seats in key areas for Mr O’Laoghaire like Passage West and Grange.

With credible threats coming from Fine Gael and the Green Party in the general election, Mr Ó Laoghaire is in for a fight.

“I think a lot of people wanted to write us off after the local elections. I think some people still want to write us off,” he said.

However, he points to the recent by-elections as a sign that the party is far from dead, with a second-place finish for Thomas Gould in Cork North-Central and a win in Dublin Fingal.

“What we showed in that by-election is that over the course of many years, we have built up support and gained the trust of an awful lot of people,” he said.

“Some people didn’t feel motivated to come out, but I think when we give them a reason to vote, we can show them that change is possible.”

For Mr Ó Laoghaire, the challenge is to show workers and families that there is a real alternative to Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael status quo.

“Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, this cartel, has been very successful in convincing people that there is not going to be any major change. I don’t accept that,” he said.

“I don’t believe any society should accept that. Many societies that are similar economically, or perhaps poorer, have got to grips with these situations.

“So I think we have a responsibility to give people hope. To offer people solutions, to convince them change is possible. An actual change of Government, not just a change of face. A change of policies.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Thomas Gould is full of fighting talk ahead of his bid for party seat.

IT will be a “dogfight for a seat” in Cork North Central, according to one of the candidates in the running in the constituency.

Sinn Féin has chosen to go with a one candidate strategy there, with Councillor Thomas Gould going forward in a bid to hold a seat for the party.

A strategy meeting was held on Wednesday evening to discuss the upcoming general election. Mr Gould said it was decided that the timeframe was too short and that it wouldn’t be feasible to add another candidate to the ticket.

By-Election candiate Cllr Thomas Gould, Sinn Fein canvassing in Ballyvolane on the Northside of Cork City.Pic; Larry Cummins.
By-Election candiate Cllr Thomas Gould, Sinn Fein canvassing in Ballyvolane on the Northside of Cork City.Pic; Larry Cummins.

“It was felt at this stage that the right strategy for this election - because there are only three and a half weeks - would be to go for one solitary candidate,” he said.

“It’s a challenge with only three and a half weeks to do it. I’m under no illusion that we’re in the dogfight for a seat. I’ve never seen such a strong field.

“We would always say that Cork North Central would be a very strong Sinn Féin area and it’s always returned back councillors and TDs, but Tony Fitzgerald, being from the same area as me, and with Kenneth O’Flynn also in my area, John Maher, the Greens, it’s wide open,” Mr Gould added.

He’s admitted that while he and the party were delighted with the performance in the by-election, this will be “completely different with the amount of candidates in it.”

Poster ban shakes up tried and trusted canvassing practices

A NUMBER of areas across Cork have called on candidates not to put up posters in certain areas ahead of the upcoming general election.

Bans, instigated by many Tidy Towns and community associations, will be in place in areas across most of the constituencies in Cork.

Green Party councillor Oliver Moran has previously called for election posters to be limited, but not banned, as he believes a ban would benefit larger parties.
Green Party councillor Oliver Moran has previously called for election posters to be limited, but not banned, as he believes a ban would benefit larger parties.

One of the areas calling for a poster ban is Douglas Tidy Towns on behalf of Douglas village to ensure it “remains a picturesque and environmentally-friendly place to live in, to work in and to visit”.

Douglas Tidy Towns have sent emails to candidates, calling on them to run a poster-free campaign and to adopt alternative advertising mediums instead. “With single-use plastics and climate change in both the national and European media spotlight, this is a great opportunity to show your commitment to the environment,” the post reads.

Douglas East, including the village, Douglas West, Church Road, the slip road to the Well Road junction, the slip road to South Douglas Road and from Tramway Terrace to Fingerpost Roundabout are all designated poster-free zones.

The Tidy Towns group have also asked candidates to refrain from erecting posters on green spaces.

New contender added to the mix by People before Profit

PEOPLE Before Profit have announced that they are running a candidate in the competitive Cork South-Central constituency.

Bobby Murray Walsh, a 24-year-old call-centre worker from Douglas, has been put on the general election ticket.

Bobby Murray Walsh has been announced as the People Before Profit candidate for Cork South Central.
Bobby Murray Walsh has been announced as the People Before Profit candidate for Cork South Central.

“[I am] most concerned with building the communities we’ll need to face an uncertain future, while fighting back the failed policies of the established parties,” said Mr Murray Walsh.

He says his campaign “will focus on the issues that affect people in Cork most severely: the need for affordable housing, sustainable transport, and urgent action on climate change.

“We want proper rent controls; public investment in social and affordable housing; proper funding and expansion of public transport; and the radical, necessary measures to cut Ireland’s carbon emissions and address the climate crisis.”

Cork TD Michael McGrath making promises and taking pot shots ahead of General Election


Fianna Fáil has pledged to "do a better job" with public finances, claiming the party prevented damage to the economy from Fine Gael's "regressive and unsustainable" tax policies.

On the second day of the party's election campaign, Fianna Fáil also accused Fine Gael of being good at spending money but not "getting value for money".

The party's finance spokesman Michael McGrath said Fianna Fáil is taking a responsible and cautious approach to the Irish economy, claiming this has annoyed its rivals in Fine Gael.

 Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath in FF Election Headquarters Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie
 Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath in FF Election Headquarters Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

"When you look at the stinging criticisms, not just from Fianna Fáil but from the independent watchdog Fiscal Advisory Council, they have been highly critical of Fine Gael's spending record in recent times, the overruns in Department of Health and the HSE and other departments as well," he said.

"I think it annoys Fine Gael that Fianna Fáil is taking a very responsible, cautious and prudent approach to the Irish economy.

"They would rather it were different.

"Fianna Fáil will manage the Irish economy responsibly and do a better job at the public finances than Fine Gael have been doing."

Speaking from Fianna Fáil's election headquarters in Dublin, Mr McGrath said the party's housing proposals will be directly linked to its economic proposals.

"It's also essential we put a stop to the growing record of massive delays and overspending in the largest capital projects in the state," he added.

"I know and understand that Fine Gael has decided to go negative in this campaign and it's claimed that only it can be trusted with the economy.

"We reject this utterly.

"I don't think we should be distracted by this sort of politics, but it is worth saying something.

"Over the last four years, not only did we support prudent budgets, we actually stopped the damage which would have resulted from Fine Gael's regressive and unsustainable tax policies."




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