FLOOD defences, roads, and housing were among the topics of conversation at this morning’s general election candidate debate, hosted by Cork Chamber.
The Irish Examiner’s Daniel McConnell chaired the breakfast event, which featured Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer, Fianna Fáil’s Finance spokesperson Michael McGrath, Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Labour councillor John Maher, Green Party councillor Oliver Moran, and Sinéad Halpin from the Social Democrats.
Verbal swipes were traded between some of the candidates, with councillor Oliver Moran claiming the Cork-Limerick motorway is the transport equivalent of the event centre.
“Where is the event centre and where is the Cork-Limerick motorway?” he said.
Mr Maher called for an increase in the threshold for social housing because he believes it's a barrier to working people getting a home, while Sinéad Halpin spoke about the merits of the Vienna model of cost-rental housing and said there will be very little cost to the taxpayer “if anything we’re saving the taxpayer money," she said.
The candidates also discussed their party’s stance on the flood defence scheme for Cork, with Senator Buttimer saying: “We are one flood away from another disaster, we need a flood defence scheme and we need it now.” Most of the other candidates called for some type of review of the OPW scheme which has drawn some criticism from the public, however, the Cork South Central candidate said that there’s “no time for a review."
Both Jerry Buttimer and Michael McGrath took swipes at Sinn Féin’s tax proposals, with the Fine Gael Senator labelling them “reckless” and the Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson saying they’re not sustainable.
Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, meanwhile, stood over his party’s proposals, saying they’re costed and absolutely credible.