Tuesday 23 October 2018

Election unlikely in 2018: TDs

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Deputy Tony McLoughlin in Strandhill last year
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Deputy Tony McLoughlin in Strandhill last year

Sorcha Crowley

A general election is unlikely to take place this year, according to two Sligo/Leitrim TDs.

Deputy Tony McLoughlin told The Sligo Champion: "In my opinion I don't see an election in 2018 as I don't believe the people want one. There will be a presidential election, and a number of important referendums to face the people and I think these issues will dominate the year. Although were one to arise I am ready to face it head on," he said.

Deputy Eamon Scanlon feels likewise: " I don't think there will (be an election) you know. Micheál Martin has committed to the third budget," he said. He also believes the outcome of any referendum on the Eight Amendment will also impact an election.

"I'd like to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year, that's the most important thing," he added.

"I'd like to see more jobs for Sligo, a big jobs announcement or a decentralised office here," he said.

2017 was also busy year for Deputy McLoughlin with the highlight being his Bill to ban fracking in Ireland being enacted into Law in June, making him the first Government TD to have a Private Members Bill enacted since the 1980s.

"Next year I am hopeful for major developments on a number of issues in Sligo including the N4, the Technological University status for IT Sligo and the classification of Sligo as a growth centre in the new National Planning Strategy," he said.

"All of these issues are vital to help Sligo to grow into the future. I want to wish all my constituents a very Happy New Year. I hope that it bring joy, health and happiness to you, your friends and your family. I look forward to working for you again in 2018," he added.

Deputy Marc MacSharry has several hopes for the New Year.

"In no particular order" he'd like to see Sligo designated as regional capital under the National Planning Framework "with appropriate resources to help us perform to our potential."

"I'm also hoping for a significant job announcement from the IDA for Sligo and North West, less talk and more building of houses for the homeless and border counties to be given a package of one off structural funds from EU for improved infrastructure along the border and border counties to improve connectivity to deal with Brexit," he told The Sligo Champion.

On the personal front, Marc wants this year to "give up smoking, Rovers to win the league, Sligo GAA to win Connaught and Mona Mc Sharry to keep on winning."

Sinn Féin TD for Sligo Leitrim Martin Kenny says the biggest thing that the region needs in 2018 is "better employment and better employment opportunities."

"People need better opportunities to gain employment and improve their incomes," he told this newspaper.

He said the current housing crisis had a "huge impact" on everyone, not just those in urban areas. "It's not just about building houses, it's about building people's lives. A lot of people can't even afford to rent. Infrastructure is also very important - we need Broadband in rural areas and the N4 - that needs to be developed," he said.

As for an election Martin said he "honestly doesn't know."

"It's very difficult to say. I don't think anyone has a clue. It was so close to an election before Christmas it put everyone off. No one wants to be the group who calls an election.

"Yet the recovery hasn't hit here yet and there's little sign of it hitting here, particularly in the health services. People of the North West feel very left behind. The notion is that people don't want an election yet they do want change.

"They want their lives to improve and that's not happening yet. Maybe an election is the only way to bring that about," he added.

On the personal front, Martin doesn't believe in New Year's resolutions in January. "You should have a New Year's resolution every day. It's each day as it comes. Make the most of that day," he said.

Sligo Champion