Believe it or not there is slightly more than 100 days left
to polling in the local elections.
wouldn’t think it given the weather we have. Polling will be on Friday May 23rd
So at this stage you’d expect all the parties to have nominated and have their
candidates up and run
Well , not quite so. Labour and Sinn Fein have nominated candidates
in Wexford while the big two Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are evidently taking the
scenic route to putting a full team out
on the pitch. Add to that the number of
independents who are likely to be on the ballot paper. Some have dropped out
already, others have yet to decide. I’ve always wondered what Independent really
means? Is it someone only interested in serving their community, or disgruntled
at what a former party might have done?
Clearly the electorate aren’t interested in political ego’s
and hobby horses. What strikes me from
knocking doors is that people are happy to engage on local issues. They want
representation in their council. They
also want vision and are fed up listening to negativity. The electorate accepts that councillors have
no input in government policy, as one woman said to me recently “No party is
popular but at least we see our councillor”. However a councillor for a government party is in a better position to go and set out problems to a minister than an opposition councillor can be.
And there’s the rub. All politics is local but not all local
politics is based on national issues. There are plenty of local issues in
Wexford politics that have moved off the political agenda in the last 3 years. The
future of Wexford’s General Hospital is secure since early in the governments term,
it was secured by Brendan Howlin and its future was the key election issue in
2011. The announcement by the government
before Christmas of more SNA’s removes another area of concern in Wexford. Extra jobs for Wexford at Eischtec, Wexford
Creamery, as well as projects like the new school builds, garda station will at
least stabilise the local economy at what has been a time of national crisis.
So what about the future? That is what an election is
supposed to be about! Some people will have you think they want a re-run of the 2011 General
Election (often people who opposed re-running referenda, but let’s pass on that
How can it be different? It’s the manifesto that sets out
what the party will do when elected. I genuinely
believe that a local election is more important than a national election. That’s
because more people have the right to vote and the councillor is more accessible
and their impact more immediate. So it should be about how Wexford can maintain
its position as the primary town in the county and how this can continue given that
it will lose its council. It’s time we woke up to this and moved past the petty
predictable guff that passes for politics in Wexford town.
So let’s spell out how you can significantly transform Wexford.
Merge the 2 IT’s in Carlow and Waterford
into a university and base a school of it in Wexford. We know that if you have a university you can
base industries around it. Provide the
basis for Rosslare Europort to compete as a major container port on the
national stage and use all the transport infrastructure to open it out, road
and rail. Balance that in rural areas with the restoration of the beet industry
and you have a rejuvenated Wexford developing in a sustainable way that is
better able to withstand a slump than the old model which was built primarily on
speculation and construction. It was a model I always felt was unsustainable.
We can build a better Wexford one that can last regardless of outside economic