Monday, December 01, 2008
We select Cllr Eoin Holmes to continue his work in East Meath
Afterwards I got chatting to Minister of State, Peter Power, in the Seanad ante-room, where I complemented him on the good work he is doing on this and other issues.
I was on the Scott Williams show on Q102 later that day to talk about the price of coffee. Scott was pushing for us to do something about providing coffee docks in libraries - people could use the internet for free, read papers for free and look through books and magazines for free over a coffee that they pay for. He thinks it would be great for the libraries (more throughput and more money from the coffee) and great for the public. Afterwards I spoke to Cllr Dermot Lacey, former Lord Mayor of Dublin, and he is going to try and follow this up.
Thursday evening saw the Selection Convention for the East Meath area. It's the seat that I won in 2004 and that I handed over to Eoin Holmes when I moved to the Seanad. Eoin was up against another branch member Greg Curren, for the nomination.
It was a tense event. Both candidates and both of their proposers made fine speeches. When it came to the vote Eoin was chosen to go and fight to retain the Labour seat at the local elections next year. I spoke briefly afterwards, making the point that the party was lucky to have people of the calibre of Eoin and of Greg. It's a very positive sign when we have to choose between two excellent candidates.
Eoin speaking at the Convention in the Village Hotel, Bettystown
At the end of the week I drove down to our Annual Conference at Kilkenny. It was a very enjoyable event and I had hardly a minute to myself all weekend. I gave two speeches - the first on job creation and the second on trying to regulate car parking charges at train stations.
I was reasonably happy with both of them. On the car parking one I was seconded by Laytown branch memebr Mohammed AlKabour. We managed to get the car parking regulation issue agreed by all of the delegates unanimously, so that will now become official party policy.
Myself and Mohammed on stage at Kilkenny
During the day I also attended a few fringe meetings. I had lunch with a delegation from the Congo and I went to the Labour Councillors meeting. I also attended a workshop on lessons to be learnt from Obama's campaign. One of the speakers was Keith Martin. I told him that I had raised the issue of the price of the new Blackberry in the Seanad and on my blog - it was something I had read on Keith's own blog. He kindly gave me a quick explanation of "netiquette" - seemingly I should have put a link on my blog back to his. So here you are Keith.
Saturday evening was electrified by Eamon's speech. He was on fire and provided us with a huge amount of energy. If only we could plug him into the national grid we would solve our renewable energy problems overnight!
On Sunday afternoon I drove back from Kilkenny up to the Headford Arms in Kells, where the annual Labour Party Christmas dinner for the elderly of Kells was underway. The event was attended by about 150 people. Cllr Tommy Grimes and his team pull the event together each year, with the help of donations from many local businesses. It's a credit to himself and the team. The atmosphere was very enjoyable, and I'm sure it gave people a lift during these difficult times.