Sunday, May 18, 2008

 

Des Bishop in da House

Our Ranganna Gaeilge had a special visitor on Wednesday morning. The comedian Des Bishop came in to tell us about his experience of spending a year in the Gaeltacht to learn Irish. The class had a slightly larger attendance than usual and Des gave a very positive, uplifting experience. Afterwards he came into the Seanad Chamber with Maire Breathnach, our teacher, to view proceedings. I welcomed him on behalf of my party.

I've been going to the class since last September and my Irish has certainly improved, although I'm still nowhere near as comfortable with it as I was in my schooldays. However, I was just about able to struggle through an interview with Foinse, the Irish language newspaper, on the subject.

The need for a plan for Rural development was debated in the Seanad on Wednesday. As the Seanad Spokesperson for Community and Rural Affairs I put forward our views on what could be done, focusing on development of tourism and agriculture, along with strengthening and supporting local communities, particularly through the retention of post offices and rural schools.

I attended the AGM of the Millmount Abbey Residents Association in Teach Mhuire, on the Dublin Road in Drogheda, during the week. There was a good turnout on the evening, despite the fact that it clashed with the Rangers UEFA Cup Final match. One of the areas of interest was the proposal for the new Drogheda United football stadium down the road in Beamore, which I updated people on. Another area of interest was the pending review of the boundaries in this area. Millmount Abbey is on the border of Meath County Council / Drogheda Borough Council and there is a possibility that it may be moved into the Borough Council administrative area. The report is due out next month.

The Campaign for a Yes Vote for the Lisbon Treaty is now well underway. I was canvassing for it during the week in Duleek, Kentstown and Yellow Furze. The level of awareness about it has certainly picked up since the previous week. For example, I was having dinner in a restaurant in Ashbourne during the week and just after we paid the bill our waiter asked me could I explained briefly what the Treaty was about. I did my best to summarise the main points into a three-minute snapshot of the Treaty. From instances such as this it's clear that people want information are very willing to engage on the issue.

In the East Meath area Councillor Eoin Holmes was out putting up his "Vote Yes to Europe" posters.

Eoin puts us his Europe poster

Eoin Holmes puts up his "Vote Yes to Europe poster"

With just over three weeks left to polling day there's still a lot of ground to be covered if the Treaty is going to be passed.

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