Carthy selected to contest General Election in Cavan/Monaghan
MEP Matt Carthy has been selected to contest the Cavan/Monaghan constituency for Sinn Féin at the next General Election.
Carthy was chosen to run for the seat, which had been held by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin since 1997, by party members at a convention in the Four Seasons Hotel in Monaghan this evening, Thursday.
During his acceptance speech Carthy said that Brexit remained the greatest economic challenge facing Ireland and:
“As republicans we will never, ever accept any type of border in Ireland, hard or soft.”
He said achieving a United Ireland, and addressing the other great political challenges of our time, “will require Sinn Féin in government in this state”.
“This constituency is now composed of great communities from Counties Monaghan, Cavan and north Meath. But those communities have been let down.
“They have been let down in the area of Health Services, including the dismantling, piece by piece, of services at Monaghan Hospital. Fianna Fáil promised that they would not remove services unless and until better services were provided. Fine Gael promised they would restore services. Both lied.
“Today our people have almost no hospital services and even access to GP care is often limited.
“Those parties have created a housing crisis that has touched every town in this constituency.
“Our people have been let down in the area of Jobs & Investment –Government Ministers are always willing to swing off the coattails of our local innovators, the real heroes of our economy, but have done nothing to attract Foreign Direct Investment here or to provide the supports necessary for new indigenous businesses and start-ups.
“It remains the case, as it has for generations, that most young graduates from Cavan and Monaghan still have to leave their home communities to work in their field of training. This isn’t because Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael policies aren’t working - it’s because they are working exactly as intended.
The MEP said Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael had separately failed Cavan/Monaghan in every government they’ve been part of and now they were failing them together.
“Fine Gael remain in government only because Fianna Fáil are keeping them there”, he said.
“I, for one, am sick to the teeth of watching Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators seeking to claim credit and assign blame for different government actions at same time.
“The evidence is slowly showing that they are about to learn the parable of the man who tried to sit between two stools at once.
“Fianna Fáil should have the decency now, if not the integrity, to stop their political games and bring this government of the ‘boom & bust economics’ and the ‘nod & wink politics’ crashing down.”
“If you want progressive political, social or economic change, then you won’t get it from either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael.
“If we want a better, fairer Ireland, if we want a United Ireland then we need to work flat out to make Sinn Féin the biggest party in this state.
“That is an achievable objective. It will require effort and it will, of course, require winning more seats.”
Carthy said he was been proud to be a Sinn Féin representative in the community, on the council, and in the European Parliament, but he was now asking voters to allow him to bring his experience and energy to Leinster House to deliver for the great constituency of Cavan Monaghan.
*See Below Full Text of Matt Carthy’s Acceptance Speech
Go raibh agaibh go léir as a bheith anseo anocht.
I wish to thank all those cumainn who nominated me for selection at this convention and also thank my proposer, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, and my seconder Noel Keelan. I met both men for the first time in 1997 and since then have been privileged to count both as confidantes and friends.
Noel and I were elected councillors on the same day in 1999 and he has been one of my closest colleagues ever since.
I want to take the opportunity of once again commending the sterling work over so many years of Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.
Caoimhghín has been an outstanding representative for Cavan Monaghan since his election to the Dáil in 1997.
He has been a hugely influential republican leader, not just in Cavan/Monaghan but nationally also. Caoimhghín has also been an invaluable source of guidance and support to me on my own political journey.
Caoimhghín, I hope, will continue to be an important leader to me and all of us in the years ahead but for now I want to say once again to him, to Briege, to Aisling, Sinéad, Cliondhna, Dearbhaile & Oran: Go raibh míle, míle maith agaibh.
I want thank all of you most sincerely for your endorsement of me as a Sinn Féin candidate for Cavan/Monaghan. Míle biuocas go leor.
I cannot describe how proud I am to be standing here tonight. That the members of Sinn Féin in this constituency would place their trust in me to stand in their name in a General Election. I can think of no greater honour.
It is certainly something that I couldn’t have foreseen when I arrived home to Carrickmacross in 1988 with my mother, my sister Áine and my brother Colm. I say home because although before that point I had spent the bulk of my short life in Roscommon with periods in Birmingham, Tipperary, Westmeath and Wales, it was my mother’s hometown of Carrickmacross and home county of Monaghan where my world view was shaped.
I am a proud Monaghan person - sure what other kind of Monaghan person is there?
It was in many respects my early experiences in Carrickmacross that shaped my politics.
Having, at that stage, recently been living in Britain and afterwards spending Summer holidays in England, with my dad, working with many Irish on building sites, I developed a loathing of forced emigration that I hold to this day.
There is nothing that angers me more about recent Irish history than the willingness of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments to use emigration as a safety valve for their failed policies understanding as I do, that while many countries have been enriched by the arrival of Irish immigrants, Ireland has been made poorer time and time again for the loss of almost entire generations of our people.
It was when I first came to Carrickmacross that I began to understand the tragedy that was and is the partition of our country. The house we first lived in was across the street from the library and I quickly got into the habit of reading about Irish history and becoming incredibly proud of Irish republican leaders who had fought for our freedom and independence.
When I began to realise that there were Irish people living just a few miles away who continued to live under British rule it frustrated me. And, when I travelled to places like Culloville or Crossmaglen and witnessed the true nature of that rule, of British army occupation and repression it infuriated me and led me to the absolute belief in the right of the Irish people to peace, sovereignty and unity - the most fundamental political belief that I hold strong to this day.
In Carrickmacross in these formative years I learned the value of public services and the impact of good policy. We were allocated a council house; not a free house - we paid rent - but a house we could call home and that would remain our home - we weren’t beholding to the whims of a vulture fund.
It shames me that successive governments in recent times have denied that security to low income families and have, instead, created the scenario where families today in the situation we were then are now homeless and that homelessness is at emergency levels.
Where other families, with incomes that in any other generation would have meant they could comfortably purchase their own homes, are instead struggling to find the ever increasing rent to pay the landlord. The television images might be coming from Dublin but the housing crisis is as real in rural Cavan Monaghan as it is in urban centres.
It was among the people of South County Monaghan that I realised that there was no point in whining or complaining when things didn’t go your way. That the secret to getting through hard times was a determination that they would make you stronger.
I want to thank everyone who has helped make Co Monaghan my home.
I want to thank my family, my Dad, my sister Áine, my brother Colm (now known as Councillor Carthy) and especially my mother for supporting me in every turn and who I know will all be with us on the next journey.
I am deeply proud to have been a member of Sinn Fein since 1996 when I joined in Dublin and got to help in the establishment there and nationally of our youth wing, Sinn Féin Youth, later Ógra Shinn Féin, and where incidentally I met tonight’s convener Pearse Doherty.
My first encounter with Sinn Féin in Monaghan was when I arranged to meet the great Seán McCoy, then the chair of Monaghan Comhairle Ceanntair, one of the many wise and committed folks that form the backbone of our organisation in this county.
I have always considered it an honour to serve the republican struggle in whatever capacity I could. As a member of Carrickmacross Town Council from 1999 and of Monaghan County Council from 2004 to 2014 I hope that my record of work, along with our great team of councillors, is well recognised.
Together we have worked on all the issues that matter to people here including housing, planning, community development and rural regeneration, often working in opposition to other parties and governments who lacked the urgency or the vision required to address the needs of our county.
I want to acknowledge those who I served with in local government including running mates in Carrickmacross Frances McBride and Enda Tourish who, while not elected, helped build the Sinn Féin vote.
On Carrickmacross Town Council I worked with, at different times, Eamon Conlon, Noel Keelan & Rose McMahon.
On Monaghan County Council I’ve had the pleasure of working with Brian McKenna, Noel Keelan, Jackie Crowe, Seán Conlon, Pat Treanor, Brenda McAnespie, Cathy Bennett and the late Sheila McKenna.
Having worked closely with them all I can confidently say that Sinn Féin’s constituency representation and delivery in Monaghan has been, by several country miles, the best provided by any party in any part of the country.
Since 2014 I have had the honour of being part of an effective all-Ireland team of Sinn Séin MEPs.
Together we have fought for and delivered on range of issues at European level. These have included, specifically my own areas of work:
Agriculture & Rural Development where I have worked to defend the Irish family farm and continue to demand a fair distribution of CAP payments.
On Economic & Monetary Affairs where we have consistently reminded the EU that €64 billion was robbed of the Irish people to bail out European banks and we have railed against an austerity agenda which destroyed our economy.
On Tax Justice we have joined our communities in opposition to stealth taxes, such as water charges and the property tax, and instead supported demands that corporations pay their share of tax due. We have also made no apologies for demanding that, with the taxes they do collect from Irish families, the government should be investing in public services and infrastructure rather than the continued privatisation of our resources.
It was Sinn Féin, and Sinn Féin alone among Irish political voices, that raised the alarm bells around a dangerous, regressive EU trade agenda in the form of proposed Trade agreements such as CETA, TTIP and Mercosur, which risk damaging the Irish economy and which are still shamelessly supported by our government.
I have used my position as MEP to prioritise Regional development and have sought to ensure that EU, as well as national funds, are used to improve the infrastructure of our communities and improve the lives of real people.
We have consistently stood up for Irish national sovereignty and neutrality, for a Europe of equals, and in opposition to the centralisation and privatisation agenda, which is designed for German economic interests.
And of course, we have been Ireland’s champions on Brexit.
Brexit remains the greatest economic challenge facing Ireland. As republicans we will never, ever accept any type of border in Ireland, hard or soft.
Sinn Féin MEPs have been to the forefront in confronting the efforts of the British Tory government, supported by anti-Agreement DUP extremists, who seek to ignore the North’s Remain vote and to drag that part of our country out of the EU against the democratic wishes of citizens there, understanding as we do, the devastating political, social and economic consequences this would have for the whole island.
We have ensured that the Irish Government has been brought to a positive position in relation to the border issue and we have clearly put on the table the issue of Designated Special Status for the North within the European Union.
Of course, Brexit has also exposed the undemocratic nature of partition and it has served to focus attention again on the issue of a United Ireland, which is the primary political objective of our party.
A United Ireland is the big mission of our time.
It is why I got involved in politics and it is also why I want to be in the Dáil.
Because, achieving a United Ireland, as well as addressing the other great political challenges of our time, will require Sinn Féin in government in this state.
To get to that point requires us to have the strongest, most effective Dáil team possible. I want to be part of that team.
I really enjoy being a Sinn Féin MEP and will continue my work at EU level until my last day in that role.
But following Caoimhghín’s decision not to contest the next General Election I believe I can now play a positive role in the Dáil, following and building on his legacy in the place where major progress can be made by our party in the time ahead.
Cavan/Monaghan is a great constituency. The people of these counties elected Hunger Striker Kieran Doherty as their TD, an act that remains a source of huge pride to us all.
This constituency is now composed of great communities from Counties Monaghan, Cavan and north Meath. But those communities have been let down.
They have been let down in the area of Health Services, including the dismantling, piece by piece, of services at Monaghan Hospital. Fianna Fáil promised that they would not remove services unless and until better services were provided. Fine Gael promised they would restore services.
Today our people have almost no hospital services and even access to GP care is often limited.
Those parties have created a housing crisis that has touched every town in this constituency.
Our people have been let down in the area of Jobs & Investment –Government Ministers are always willing to swing off the coat tails of our local innovators, the real heros of our economy, but have done nothing to attract Foreign Direct Investment here or to provide the supports necessary for new indigenous businesses and start-ups.
It remains the case, as it has for generations, that most young graduates from Cavan and Monaghan still have to leave their home communities to work in their field of training. This isn’t because Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael policies aren’t working - it’s because they are working exactly as intended.
We need to be ambitious for our counties and we need our elected representatives to have a vision. We deserve better than politicians who expect to be thanked because they got a road tarred or because the government increased road funding after a decade of cutbacks. We pay our road tax - it should be a given that we can drive on our roads especially when you consider the pathetic public transport legacy of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in this constituency.
Partition, and the proximity of the British-imposed border have caused very real social and economic damage to Cavan and Monaghan. But so too has the failures of successive governments.
I want a Sinn Féin government because I want communities in Cavan, Monaghan and north Meath to be listened to. Whether it’s on the issue of the North-South Interconnector which must be undergrounded, or the cry for the necessary investment to allow us to grow and develop these great counties, only a Sinn Féin will deliver for our people.
And, how do we know that?
Because we’ve seen the alternatives.
Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael separately have failed Cavan/Monaghan in every government they’ve been part of. Now they are failing us together.
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin is currently a lone voice in the Dáil for Cavan/Monaghan on all of the issues that matter. Three of our four local TDs are keeping this current bad government in place.
Fine Gael remain in government only because Fianna Fáil are keeping them there.
I, for one, am sick to the teeth of watching Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators seeking to claim credit and assign blame for different government actions at same time.
The evidence is slowly showing that they are about to learn the parable of the man who tried to sit between two stools at once.
Fianna Fáil should have the decency now, if not the integrity, to stop their political games and bring this government of the ‘boom & bust economics’ and the ‘nod & wink politics’ crashing down.
A chairde, we must be ready for the battle ahead. I am ready.
I want to apologise to, and thank in advance, my family for what is going to be a busy period ahead. My wife, Lynn, who absolutely will hate that I am mentioning her at all, has always been my partner in everything I do. Although she gets the raw end of the partnership and arguably has the hardest job in Irish politics of all. She works, she rears our fantastic children: Seán, Maireád, Aoife, Niamh and Eimear.
And to everyone else here I want to thank and apologise to you all and your families in advance. Because, you’re also going to be busy. We have a big job of work to do.
If you want progressive political, social or economic change, then you won’t get it from either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael.
If we want a better, fairer Ireland, if we want a United Ireland then we need to work flat out to make Sinn Féin the biggest party in this state.
That is an achievable objective. It will require effort and it will, of course, require winning more seats.
Cavan/Monaghan can and must deliver two seats this time around. I look forward to attending the convention in Cavan to select our second candidate and working with that candidate to secure two Sinn Féin Dáil seats.
We cannot take anything for granted. Caoimhghín has massive personal appeal which has been carefully built up over 30 years in elected politics. We cannot assume for a second that those voters will simply vote for me and our other candidate. We’ll have to earn those votes all over again and get new voters along the way.
That means, and I’m sorry to break this to the Ó Caoláin family, we need this general election to be Caoimhghín’s busiest ever.
The same goes for the rest of us.
For my part I will work night and day in order to win the seat and, in turn, to deliver as a TD for the people of Cavan/Monaghan.
Tá jab mór le déanamh againn agus beidh an t-ádh linn má oibrímid le chéile.
I have been proud to be a Sinn Féin representative in the community, on the council, and in the European Parliament.
Now I am asking voters to allow me to bring my experience and energy to Leinster House.
The next chapter in building the republic starts now.
Let’s write it together.
Ní neart go cur le chéile.
Go raibh maith agaibh go léir.