Tourism, small business in general, and the accountability crisis in public life in Ireland are among the issues being highlighted by Independent Connemara candidate Ronan Garvey.
Mr Garvey has said he “wants to be a voice at the table for the importance of tourism to Connemara – and the importance of Connemara as a flagship part of Ireland’s national tourism strategy”.
He said he also wants to be a “voice for all small businesses which are the lifeblood of our economy and our society and which are essential to sustainable economic prosperity in Connemara”.
“Small businesses in recent years have been pulverized by the high costs of doing business especially the costs of commercial rates,” he said, adding that rates are applied to small businesses in an “arbitrary way by unelected – and unaccountable – public officials”.
He said these are disproportionate, particularly in hotels and hospitality, because they don’t take account of business type, seasonality factors or other trading conditions. “Our system of commercial rates lacks transparency, it destroys jobs and businesses, it’s unfair and it’s completely unsustainable.”
Mr Garvey said he believes that if people from different walks of life – including small businesses – don’t put their heads above the parapet and run for election then “all we’re going to be left with it is a choice between careerists on the one hand and extreme voices on the other – and I don’t believe either are what Connemara or the country needs right now”.
He also said that many candidates “are not advertising their party labels and that voters who want some accountability in public life need to look closely at who the real Independents are”.
And he feels that this local election offers an opportunity for traditional party voters to “shake things up – something they may not want to risk in a general election”.