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Kathleen Funchion will be first class TD for Carlow-Kilkenny - McDonald

29 April, 2015 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has welcomed the moving of the writ for the Carlow-Kilkenny bye election today. Speaking in the Dáil she described Sinn Féin’s candidate Kathleen Funchion as “a strong young woman, a trade union official and a political activist. She is an excellent candidate and will be a first class TD for this constituency.”

Teachta McDonald contributing to the debate on the bye election said:

“This by-election arises because of the promotion by the Taoiseach of Phil Hogan to the European Commission.

“The citizens of that constituency deserve better representation than they have had in the past and a TD who will stand up for their rights and defend them against the austerity policies of this government.

“There remain serious and unanswered questions around Mr. Hogan’s decision shortly after the 2011 election to scrap five inquiries, originally established by the previous Minister for the Environment, into serious allegations of irregularities in local authorities. Among those local authorities affected by this decision was Carlow.

“The termination of those investigations ran directly counter to one of the principle recommendations of the Mahon Tribunal which was, and is, that a planning regulator, and independent planning regulator, should be set up.

“And then there is the debacle that is Irish Water. Mr. Hogan did not tell the Dáil of the expenditure involved in the establishment of Irish Water, including eye watering amounts spent on consultants.

“The government gave €86 million to consultants while slashing at the same time funding for the housing adaptation grant scheme for elderly and disabled citizens.

“And later we were to discover that there are no records and no minutes of Phil Hogan’s meetings with the Chairwoman of Bord Gáis - meetings that led to the establishment of Irish Water.

“And Minister Hogan’s decision to put vital LEADER rural development funds under local authority control has undermined the years of experience and expertise built up in our local development companies, and removes the genuine-bottom up approach that is so central to the LEADER programme.

“Ceann Chomhairle the government promised a new way of doing politics – a ‘democratic revolution’. Instead it has compounded the worst excesses of its Fianna Fail predecessors.

“This Fine Gael and Labour government, like the Fianna Fáil one before it, have been responsible for huge cuts to public services, including health and education.

“It has forced thousands out of work or into low paid employment and driven hundreds of thousands of others to emigrate.

“Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil took the €26 billion of banking debt, which was the responsibility of 22 men, and turned it into the peoples debt and saddled citizens in Carlow-Kilkenny and right across the state with a €64 billion euro bill that our children, and grandchildren and great grandchildren will be paying off.

“The Carlow-Kilkenny by-election provides an opportunity for the electorate of that constituency to pass judgement on this government and its policies and to vote for positive change.

“Sinn Féin is the only party in this by-election firmly opposed to austerity and for a fair recovery.

“We are for investment in our schools and hospitals; in affordable childcare and in jobs for the future.

“We are for the retention of orthopaedic services at Kilcreene Hospital.

“Our candidate, Kathleen Funchion, is a strong young woman, a trade union official and a political activist.

“She is an excellent candidate and will make a first class TD for this constituency. Sinn Féin looks forward to May 22nd.”

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