The Galway West election race is heating up with a Galway postmistress, a software design entrepreneur and an anti-austerity candidate all officially entering the field this week.
Galway postmistress Seona O’Fegan is the first in a series of Community and Post Office candidates set to contest the upcoming General Election.
Speaking at the launch of her election campaign last night, Tuesday, the postmistress at Barna and Fr Griffin Road Post Offices, said, “Through my work as a postmistress, every day I listen to and discuss the concerns and needs of people. What I hear very strongly is a need for greater government support for vibrant communities, where people can access the essential services they require and can do their day-to-day business.”
She said that a key part of maintaining and developing better services in communities is the Post Office as a front office for essential public and commercial services in villages, towns and cities where people can collect welfare, pay bills, do their financial transactions and carry out government or local authority business.
“As a candidate I am not just about the Post Office. If elected, I will work for stronger policy, and more investment, in each of the areas that make communities vibrant – schools, health services, transport and jobs. We know that when a Post Office closes – it is followed by further local business closures and the heart is torn out of the community,” she added.
Meanwhile, Niall Ó Tuathail, who was co-ordinator of Yes Equality campaign in Galway, also officially kicked off his campaign for a Dáil seat this week with support from Wicklow TD Stephen Donnelly and Senator Katherine Zappone. Mr Ó Tuathail ran the canvassing campaign for Deputy Donnelly when he was elected as an Independent for Wicklow in 2011.
Speaking at the launch of his campaign, Mr Ó Tuathail, who is originally from Dangan Heights, said, “I want to see a government that is not only a safe pair of hands for the economy, but has a radically more positive, inclusive social vision. For that to happen, we need high-quality, accessible, efficient public services, a big investment in our communities and it has to be underpinned by a thriving economy based on Irish small and medium businesses across the country.”
When asked whether he would be joining a party, such as that expected to be established by Deputy Donnelly, Catherine Murphy and Roisin Shortall in the coming weeks, Mr Ó Tuathail said, “I intend to be part of a centre-left social democratic party. Either there will be a new party starting before the election, or I will be starting a party of one and building it after the election. Right now, the focus is on building the team. A movement is bigger than one person, and it has to be about more than just getting people elected.”
The third entry to the election race this week is Tommy Holohan, originally from The Claddagh and now living in Knocknacarra, who will run on behalf of the Anti Austerity Alliance in Galway West, after securing the nomination of a majority of delegates at the AAA Galway selection convention last week.
The AAA candidate will be running on a platform of “opposition to continued cuts and austerity, while maintaining the struggle for equal rights for minorities and oppressed sections of society”. Other issues of concern include a significant social housing building plan and rent controls.
Mr Holohan said, “Labour and Fine Gael are trying to sell a cod with their talk of recovery and an end to austerity. What little recovery there is for low and middle income people is built on the back of severe exploitation in the form of JobBridge type scams and low paid precarious work with little or no real job security. They talk of having reached the end of austerity, yet still they cut from lone parents and impose highly punitive water charges.
“This so called recovery is effectively about rebuilding the same house of cards that led to the economic crisis, the rich bankers, bond holders and corporate elites continue to reap massive profits while the rest of us continue to pay for their mistakes.
“This government are desperately trying to put a positive spin on things ahead of the elections, after which the reality of the crisis will no doubt be brought to bear once more.”