General Election 2011 snippets

€225,000 spent storing ditched e-machines

€225,000 spent storing ditched e-machines

BY the end of 2011 the public will have footed a bill for nearly €225,000 on storing voting machines that will never be used in Laois/Offaly. 219 of the controversial e-voting machines have been stored in a Portlaoise warehouse for the best part of a decade.

A five year lease was initially signed and while different figures have been supplied by Ministers, Dáil records show that the annual average storage costs is about €28,000. Figures published in the Dáil last month showed that almost €27,800 will be spent storing the machines this year. The lease is now being renewed on a six monthly basis.

While the Laois/Offaly machines have been stored in Portlaoise for the past eight years, many of them are now stored at no cost at a Defences Forces facility in Meath. They were moved there in 2008.

‘Carry on Fianna Fáil’

FOLLOWING a recent visit to the Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore where he witnessed forty people waiting to be seen at the A & E Department, Independent Labour candidate Liam Dumpleton is vowing to fight for improved healthcare resources.

“We have witnessed the last scene of ‘Carry On Fianna Fáil’. The plot was simple; a government who spent billions keeping the banks healthy but a relative pittance on treating the public,” said Mr Dumpleton.

He added, “Hospital beds are being closed, staff numbers are being cut and all of this is happening while Ministers claim thousands of euros in pensions. Mary Harney is set to receive over €300,000 this year in pension entitlements, how many nurses could be employed with this money?”

Cabinet seat for arts

“PEOPLE can be assured that arts and culture will have a seat at the cabinet table in any future Fine Gael government,” commented general election Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy following the recent publication of Fine Gael’s policy on the Arts.

“We need to promote and advertise this sector as a success story for the country and build on the many successes that we have as supporting new initiatives and projects,” added Ms Corcoran-Kennedy who has been involved with Birr Theatre & Arts Centre for many years and the Campaign for the Arts in Offaly.

Job creation tops agenda

WITH 8,500 unemployed in Laois and over 9,000 in Offaly, Sinn Féin candidate Brian Stanley outlined that job creation is his top priority.

Cllr Stanley believes Laois/Offaly has suffered disproportionately due to the collapse in the construction sector, the lack of a plan to take Bord na Mona forward and the sell out of the sugar beet industry.

He added, “This country needs investment in employment, not wasting taxpayer’s money bailing out dodgy banks and gamblers. The IDA has failed this constituency and has been allowed to do so by successive governments. Their performance needs to improve.”

IFA public meeting

OFFALY Co Executive IFA will hold a special public meeting in the Bridge House Hotel, Tullamore next Wednesday, February 16 at 8 pm. All election candidates from all political parties have been invited to attend.

IFA are seeking specific commitments on the priority issues for farm families and wish to take this opportunity to meet the candidates for a discussion on these priorities and also hear their views on the way forward for the agri industry.

Offaly IFA Co ChairpersonJoe Parlon would like to welcome all farmers and their families to this meeting and put forward their views and any questions that they would like to ask the candidates.

Treble launch

THE majority of general election candidates are content to kick-start their campaign with a single ‘official launch’ however Independent Labour candidate Liam Dumpleton has bucked the trend and he is staging three ‘official launch’ dates.

His PR machine indicated he was officially launching in Birr and Tullamore over the past two evenings (Monday & Tuesday), respectively and tomorrow night, Thursday, February 10 he holds his third ‘official launch’ at 7.30pm in The Maldron Hotel, Portlaoise.

Foley launches campaign

EDENDERRY based Independent John Foley will launch his election campaign this Thursday evening, February 10 at 8pm in Larkin’s, Edenderry.

Cllr Foley contested the 2007 general election on the Fianna Fail ticket and he secured 5,899 first preference votes.

And disillusioned with FF’s strategy ahead of the February 25 election to put forward only one Offaly candidate on the ticket he opted not to go before the FF selection convention and announced his intention to run as an Independent.

Cllr Foley eventually lost out on claiming the fifth seat in ‘07 on the 11th and final count to his then FF party colleague John Moloney by 311 votes - 9,966 to 10,277. Indeed, during the 7th count Foley overtook Moloney, 8,310 to 8,298.

Cllr Foley is one of three Independents in the Edenderry area contesting the election alongside Cllrs Eddie Fitzpatrick and Cllr Fergus McDonnell.

Where is John?

A frequently asked question prior to the Dail being dissolved and the election date being confirmed was ‘where is FG Leader Enda Kenny?’

And voters that have received some literature through their post boxes from first time FG candidate Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy have been asking a similar question in regard to her Laois running mate Cllr John Moran whose name doesn’t feature her flyer!

Urging people to vote for herself, Corcoran-Kennedy urges voters to continue their preferences for her colleagues Charles Flanagan TD and Cllr Liam Quinn - but there is no mention of Moran. Obviously the flyer came off the printing presses prior to Cllr John Moran’s inclusion on the FG ticket so some one was very fast out of traps!

Betting odds

Charlie Flanagan (FG) 1/12

Barry Cowen (FF) 1/12

Brian Stanley (SF) 1/5

Sean Fleming (FF) 2/5

Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy (FG) 8/11

Liam Quinn (FG) 11/10

John Whelan (LAB) 11/8

John Foley (IND) 2/1

John Moran (FG) 9/4

John Leahy (IND) 5/1

Eddie Fitzpatrick (IND) 8/1

John Moloney (FF) 8/1

Ray Fitzpatrick (ULA) 16/1

Rotimi Adebari (IND) 18/1

James Fanning (IND) 20/1

Fergus McDonnell (IND) 33/1

Liam Dumpleton (IND LAB) 33/1

Christopher Fettes (GP) 40/1

(Taken from Paddy There were no odds listed for John Boland, John Bracken, Bishop Michael Cox).

Posters in the wind

THE high winds of last Thursday night, in particular, meant there were many election posters blowing around dangerously and they had to be made safe the following morning.

The posters of Labour candidate John Whelan dominated the poles around Birr’s Emmett Square for a brief time last week but they were quickly removed when his canvass team were made aware that the centre of the South Offaly Heritage town is a poster free zone.

And mention of posters, where has the Fianna Fail crest disappeared to?

Candidates to attend Carers Association Q&A

The Carers Association has organised an open questions and answers meeting with all the General Election candidates in the constituency in The Court Hotel, Tullamore, on Monday, February 14 at 7.30pm.

The meeting is for carers from Laois and Offaly and it is a chance to meet the election candidates for this constituency. The Association is urging carers to come out in numbers to ask those vital questions.