Fianna Fáil members in Donegal have selected Charlie McConalogue TD and Pat the Cope Gallagher to contest the upcoming General Election. More than 700 members voted in the selection convention, which was held in the Clanree Hotel in Letterkenny this afternoon, and was chaired by the party’s Spokesperson on Environment Barry Cowen.
Speaking after the convention Deputy McConalogue said, “I am honoured to have been chosen to represent Fianna Fáil members in Donegal to contest the upcoming General Election. This election will provide the people of Donegal with an opportunity to turn their backs on this Government, which has pandered to big business interests and targeted middle Ireland. Fine Gael and Labour have raided the pockets and the services of the very people who bore the brunt of the economic downturn and turned this country around. Nowhere is this more evident than here in Donegal.
“Patients in Donegal have seen services at Letterkenny General Hospital seriously diminished. Rheumatology, dermatology, orthopaedic and cancer services have been severely curtailed with people having to travel to Sligo, Manorhamilton and Derry to avail of treatments that were previously available at the hospital. Commitments are continuously broken and it’s simply not good enough. The housing crisis here has spiralled completely out of control, with almost 2,500 people on the waiting list for a social housing unit. This Government is sleepwalking through this crisis, failing to provide tangible measures to tackle the escalating situation. Fianna Fáil has produced a range of proposals, from helping families in mortgage arrears to plans to secure the release of local authority housing units, which provide short, medium and long term measures to deal with the housing emergency.
“Donegal has been left behind by this Government as it continues to drive its two-tier recovery. Schools, businesses and services are suffering as Fine Gael and Labour continue to ignore the problems that are being felt so starkly here. I want to continue the work that I started in the Dáil four years ago and am grateful for the opportunity to represent Donegal in the next General Election.
Pat the Cope Gallagher added, “This Government needs to be taken to task for the regressive measures which it has been implementing. Towns and villages across this county are failing to feel the benefits of this much talked about recovery. Shops remain boarded up and the businesses that remain are being crucified by high commercial rates, ever increasing regulation costs and high energy prices. Not to mention the burden of red tape that comes with business ownership and management. Under Fine Gael and Labour the bulk of investment has been delivered in Dublin and the commuter region, while small and medium sized businesses in Donegal and the North West have been left languishing.
“The Government’s lack of interest in Donegal was further highlighted last week following the announcement of the capital investment plan. Despite previous commitments to advance work on the A5, there was not one mention of this key road in the document. Donegal has one of the highest prevalences of regional and county roads in the country, but many of these have fallen into bad disrepair and the waiting list for resurfacing and repair work has spiralled.
“We need to ensure that funding for these stretches along with our national roads is made a priority so that these essential works can be carried out and the road network in Donegal is brought up to national standards. Local Improvement Scheme grants for accommodation roads should be reintroduced, and Fianna Fáil is committed to progressing this issue.
“Fianna Fáil members have selected a strong team to fight the next election. Together we offer a real alternative to this regressive Government and are best placed to represent the needs of communities the length and breadth of this county”.