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Ó Caoláin moves Dáil motion on Donegal South West by-election

2 July, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD this morning moved a Dáil motion calling for the writ to be moved for the by-election in Donegal South West. Deputy Ó Caoláin said there is a special obligation on the Government to hold the by-election at the earliest opportunity as it was their European election strategy which created the vacancy.

He said, “I move the motion in the name of the Sinn Féin Deputies for the holding of the by-election in Donegal South West to fill the vacancy created by the election of Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher to the European Parliament. This by-election should be held now so that the people of Donegal South West can have their full representation in the Dáil and so that the representative they elect can take his or her place here on the resumption of the Dáil in the autumn.

“There is a special obligation on the Government to hold this by-election since it created the vacancy. Fianna Fáil’s EU election strategy for the North and West constituency fell asunder when their candidate and MEP Seán Ó Neachtain pulled the plug on them at the last minute. They were forced to draft in Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher as both a proven vote-getter and a Donegal representative with the view to thwarting the challenge of Sinn Féin’s Pádraig Mac Lochlainn.

“If the Government refuses to accept this motion today it will be rightly concluded that the prospect of Sinn Féin electoral success in County Donegal was again a determining factor because Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty would be a front-runner in this by-election.

“But it will be for the people to decide who represents them in Donegal South West. Our system is flawed in that only the Government can give the people that opportunity and trigger the process of calling a by-election to fill a vacancy that arises during the Dáil term. That should change and there should be a constitutional obligation for a by-election to be held within a set period after the vacancy arises. It should not be determined by what is politically expedient for the party or parties in office at the time.

“I have no doubt that the last thing this Government wants to do is to face the people again after their drubbing at the local and European elections. Yesterday the Taoiseach announced the latest disastrous unemployment figures and actually tried to put a positive spin on them by saying that the rate of increase was slower since January. Who does he think he’s fooling?

“The Taoiseach should let the people of Donegal South West decide. Let the Government put before the people their record. It might compel the Government at last to come up with some attempt at a coherent strategy for the retention and creation of jobs, something they have failed to produce so far, even though we are in the depths of the worst unemployment crisis we have ever experienced.” ENDS

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