Home News Election Diary: Mountmellick jobs, farmers’ interests and Portarlington voters

Election Diary: Mountmellick jobs, farmers’ interests and Portarlington voters

Every day between now and Election Day on Saturday, February 8, we’ll be bringing you a daily bulletin from the campaign trail – from Laois-Offaly, Kildare South and various snippets from around the country in our Election Diary. 

Closure of Standex factory Mountmellick ‘a disaster’

The loss of jobs in Standex in Mountmellick is “a disaster” for the town, says outgoing Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley.

“The closure of the Standex factory is a disaster for the town of Mountmellick.

“For the workers in the factory, some of whom have been there over three decades, this is a huge blow. The impact will be severely felt in the area as there are few opportunities in alternative employment in the area.

“For my part if re-elected as a TD I will be raising this issue in the Dáil with the incoming Minister for Employment and I will also be seeking an early meeting with both the IDA and Enterprise Ireland. Mountmellick has seen a succession of job losses over the last 3 decades and it is time to reverse this trend.”

Fine Gael ‘fully focused’ on farmers’ interests

Charlie Flanagan has said Fine Gael remains fully focused on protecting farmers’ interests.

Declaring that safeguarding incomes against the real threat posed by Brexit is a key priority for his party, the Laois-Offaly TD and Minister for Justice and Equality said:

 “A Fine Gael government will negotiate a strong Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget with a particular emphasis on supporting younger farmers.

“It is worth noting that €12bn was delivered by FG under the last CAP. In addition, we will fully support the beef sector through the implementation of the beef sector agreement.”

Making the claim that Fine Gael is the only party that will put farmers’ interest first, Mr Flanagan continued:

“Our record is one that has seen agri-food exports reach record levels of €14.5bn.

“We have delivered the Chinese market for Irish beef exports, the Japan market for sheep-meat exports and other market access in countries such as Quatar, Kuwait and Ukraine.”

Mr Flanagan praised the contribution the sector made in the recent past, while also acknowledging the challenges which lie ahead:

“I’m asking farmers to stick with the Fine Gael team – with our track record and relationships in Europe – to deliver that deal.

“I promise I will work with my counterparts in Europe and will stand up for Irish farmers to safeguard incomes during the crucial negotiation period ahead.”

Frustration for Portarlington voters

One of Fianna Fáil’s General Election candidates based in Portlaoise has expressed solidarity with the frustration of a lot of residents in Portarlington who are now voting in the Kildare-South constituency.

Pauline Flanagan said that due to boundary changes, most of Portarlington has been moved to Kildare-South and whilst there is nothing wrong with Kildare, it is most frustrating that people living in this area will not be able to vote for their local representatives.

“I know that Ms Fiona O’Loughlin, my Fianna Fáil colleague in Kildare, has got to know a lot of people in the area which is great, but at the end of the day Portarlington is inherently part of Laois and Offaly.

“The voters in Portarlington are angry and I don’t blame them,” said Ms Flanagan.

Fine Gael TD hits out at Fianna Fáil on Bord na Móna issue

Fianna Fáil has no plans to protect workers in the Midlands, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Laois-Offaly General Election candidate, Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy, said Fianna Fáil’s manifesto has no detail on enhancing the region and doesn’t contain a single mention of Bord na Móna.

“Where is Fianna Fáil’s just transition plan? What money would they invest and where? The Fianna Fáil manifesto doesn’t even mention the Midlands or Bord na Móna. There is no detail and no commitment. They cannot be trusted to help workers.

“Fine Gael is the only party to have actually put forward a just transition plan, which sets out:

  • The ring-fencing of 1/3 of the carbon tax for the Midlands in 2020 to support home retrofitting (400 jobs direct and indirect), bog re-wetting by the National Parking and Wildlife Service (up to 100 jobs), and a €11m Just Transition Fund
  • We will invest €80m to restore Bord na Móna bogs (through a PSO levy) over the next 4 years, supporting 200 jobs.
  • We have appointed Kieran Mulvey as the country’s first just transition commissioner. He is engaging with all stakeholders in the region and will report back to government

In addition, Ms Corcoran Kennedy said, Bord na Móna themselves are transforming.

“The next phase of Bord na Móna’s own plan will see a €1.6 billion development programme that will benefit the Midlands.

The bauld Conor McGregor went praising Donald Trump this week on Twitter.

The bauld Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan let him know what he thought of Conor.

Worth reading – theJournal.ie

Our online-only pals across at theJournal.ie are putting out some great election coverage.

Always take a bit of a different approach from the traditional newspapers and have a lively style that goes down well with an online audience.

Constituency watch – Cork South Central

Cork South Central Constituency – which takes in the likes of Carrigaline, Ringaskiddy and Douglas, is a four-seater with a number of high-profile contenders.

It’s home of Tanáiste Simon Coveney, Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin, Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesperson Michael McGrath and Sinn Féin’s Donnchadh O Laoghaire.

There are 14 candidates in the field, with former TD and current Senator Jerry Buttimer seeking to win back the seat he lost to O Laoghaire in 2016.

The Greens, Aontú, Labour, People Before Profit and the Social Democrats all have a candidate while there are four Independents.

List of candidates: Lorna Bogue (Greens); Jerry Buttimer (Fine Gael); Simon Coveney (Fine Gael); Anna Daly (Aontú); Paudie Dineen (Independent); John Donohue (Independent); Ciara Kennedy (Labour); Micheal Martin (Fianna Fáil); Michael McGrath (Fianna Fáil); Bobby Murray-Walsh (Solidarity-People Before Profit); William O’Brien (Independent); Patricia O’Dwyer (Social Democrats); Donnchadh O Laoghaire (Sinn Féin), Sean O’Leary (Independent)

SEE ALSO – On the Canvass: Cold night but warm reception as Brian Stanley hits the doorsteps in Portlaoise

SEE ALSO – Check out all the 2020 General Election coverage on LaoisToday

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. From Laois, Steven studied Journalism in DCU and has 14 years experience in the media, almost 10 of those in an editorial role. Husband of Emily, father of William and Lillian, he's happiest when he's telling stories or kicking a point.