FF leader Martin takes to the streets of Gorey
Canvassing with Europe MEP hopeful, Cllr Malcolm Byrne, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin TD alongside Cllr Joe Sullivan and first time local election candidate, Donal Kenny took to the Main Street of Gorey to hear local peoples' concerns about the political and business climate for Gorey and the South East.
Although it was not Micheál Martin's first time to visit the town of Gorey with Cllr Byrne, he said that he had had a 'very good reception'. He explained that 'The big issues that came up in Gorey today were the revaluation of the commercial rate, which has impacted very significantly on a number of traders and shops on the street here, and has been particularly acute in Gorey'.
Following discussions on the street and in shops, Micheál Martin said that 'There have been various calls for reform on the commercial rates system, and in no situation should anyone have their rates go up three times or double, that's too much of an immediate hit on any business'.
Cllr Byrne said that he was appreciative to get the opportunity to listen to people, and that the purpose of the visit was more so to 'Listen to businesses and people on the street about issues and concerns that they have, in particular on the cost of doing business here'. Micheál Martin went on to say that more broadly, on the issue of poor industrial development in Wexford in recent years, 'There is a need for the government and the IDA to say to businesses to come beyond Dublin, and start thinking of areas like Gorey, that are on the motorway and have access to a good population of a labouring market, which offer skills for companies'.
Speaking of Ireland's relationship with the EU, he said that having a voice in the European Parliament was important when it comes to the issuing of EU regulation and EU laws. 'The South East has lacked a voice and needs stronger voices in Europe. Malcolm would be the first MEP from the South East since Avril Doyle, and given issues like third level education, health and agriculture, it's clear that in Malcolm we have a strong community champion. He would have a command of the issues in Europe'.
After visiting Gorey, Micheál Martin travelled further south, down the coast to for a similar trip to Wexford town and on to Rosslare harbour, and attended the launch of Cllr Lisa McDonald's local election campaign. Speaking about Rosslare Port, Michaél Martin said 'Really there hasn't been enough development and action from the government. The status in Rosslare needs to be reviewed, it's a second tier status and it should be higher than that'.
He continued, calling the lack of investment into Rosslare 'A crying shame,' adding that 'The government need to invest more strongly in the town of Rosslare as well as the port. Brexit is a wake up call for the country, in terms of infrastructural development. Strategically an island nation needs connectivity, and there can always be shocks, Brexit is going to be one of those shocks. With the underdevelopment of Rosslare, we need to rapidly catch up now and invest in the port'.
Speaking about agriculture and Brexit, Micheál Martin said without Britain, there will be a 'big hole' in the Common Agricultural budget. 'The government has to fight that,' he said adding that the suckler farmers are in 'right trouble' as the beef sector in deep crisis, which he added was the case 'Even before Brexit'.