INDEPENDENT Labour General Election candidate Liam Dumpleton has said he is the real candidate for Labour party supporters in Laois/Offaly.
“A great deal has been made of the issue surrounding Labour’s selection policy for the Laois/Offaly constituency. The simple fact of the matter is that Labour betrayed it’s supporters by running John Whelan without their consent. I am contesting this election on behalf of the people whose voices were not heard at the selection convention,” said Mr Dumpleton who launched his election campaign last week at venues in Tullamore, Birr and Portlaoise.
“I believe in the policies of the Labour party but not in John Whelan. If elected, I will work as an Independent for that fair society on whose pursuit the party was created for. My candidacy was born out of an injustice towards Labour supporters in Laois/Offaly. They were not allowed to have their say at the selection convention in December, they will on February 25,” he said.
Meanwhile Mr Dumpleton has called for improved education services in the constituency.
“Prefabs are the scourge of the Irish education system. At the beginning of this school term, 57 prefabs were being rented at school premises in Laois/Offaly at an annual cost of almost €860,000 to the taxpayer. This figure is going to increase as the local population rises. If elected I will work to stop the rot and demand a large scale investment into education services in Laois/Offaly. If a school build fund of €5 million was ring-fenced for the constituency, the cost would be repaid within 6 years by not having to meet existing prefab rental costs.”
He said teacher’s performances need to be assessed on a regular basis. “Children should be receiving the highest standard of education at all times. The international labour market is more competitive than it has ever been and we need to have a workforce that can compete at the highest level. Teachers have a responsibility to ensure students are meeting their academic potential. If elected, I will work to set up an independent teacher assessment committee for Laois/Offaly. Its purpose will be to examine the performance of teachers in schools across the region and ensure that student’s needs are met. The committee will be able recommend up skilling or redeployment and its findings will be made public to the children’s parents,” he said.
On the issue of recycling, Mr Dumpleton said children need to be educated on the importance of their environment. “I am proposing that bring banks be placed at schools across Laois and Offaly in association with local recycling companies. Both schools and businesses can benefit from such a scheme. At the start of each school year, the collection of waste from the banks will be put to tender. The companies appointed must split the profits of the collections with the schools. The money the schools receive can then be spent on improving facilities for students and staff. This incentive will encourage children to recycle and open new business opportunities for recycling companies,” he said.