A Sinn Féin government will stand up for East Cork - Cllr Pat Buckley
Sinn Féin General Election candidate Cllr Pat Buckley has said that he would put the issues of Whitegate Oil Refinery and flood insurance at the centre of the national debate if elected to the Dáil to represent East Cork.
Councillor Buckley was speaking at the launch of his election campaign tonight in the Midleton Park Hotel, where he was joined by Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane.
“In East Cork, we could be facing catastrophic consequences in the very near future with the possible closure of Ireland’s only Oil Refinery at Whitegate.
“It’s closure would lead to the loss of 600 direct and indirect jobs. The possible loss in revenue to the local economy estimated to be in the range of €100 million.
“The Fine Gael and Labour Party Government is not doing enough to secure the future of this vital strategic asset.
“I am urging the government to do all within its power to ensure that the refinery is kept open, and that Ireland’s capacity to refine oil, and these jobs, are preserved. The possibility of the state acquiring the plant must now be given serious consideration whatever government is formed after the election.
“Sadly, I fear that the welfare of the towns and villages of East Cork is way down this government’s list of priorities.
“Recently, our communities were devastated by the extreme weather and the flooding which hit over the Christmas period. Our response to the crisis, was fuelled by the spirit of neighbour helping neighbour and not by government action or policy.
“Credit must be given to local council staff, voluntary groups, Civil Defence, the Defence Forces and emergency services who worked in very difficult conditions to respond and provide immediate relief and support on the ground.
“They stepped up when the government didn’t.
“We need regulated planning to prevent areas being built on or developed which are at risk of flooding, and investment in flood defences funded by Government
“Business and homes in East Cork faced this devastation with a great sense of uncertainty and fear. The near impossibility of obtaining insurance against the risk of flooding is a political failure by this Government. The lack of state intervention to provide affordable, capped insurance cover to domestic households and SME properties, against high risk of flooding, is unacceptable.
“If elected as a TD for East Cork, I will put, square and centre, the need for government and the insurance industry to find an effective model to help regions experiencing flooding and which takes risk away from homeowners & SMEs.
“We shouldn't be surprised at this government’s negligence in this area. Their political agenda is not about ordinary communities.
“Remember, we are talking about an administration that is taking credit for a supposed recovery when in fact their policies have deepened and prolonged the recession.
“A Sinn Féin government would be very different. We would put the needs of ordinary citizens at the centre of national policy. A Sinn Féin government would stand up for East Cork.
“Sinn Féin is committed to delivering a fair recovery, rebuilding rural Ireland and ending the marginalisation of our towns & villages, tackling the housing crisis with a massive social housing build programme and helping those in mortgage distress and ending the trolley and waiting list crisis in our hospitals through real investment in the health service.
“In Government, Sinn Fein will scrap water charges, abolish Irish Water and end the local property tax.
“These are not the hollow promises of the other parties that seek to hoodwink the electorate.
“Electing a Sinn Féin TD for East Cork would help to deliver a progressive government that will deliver for this constituency.”