Sunday, September 28, 2008


St Pat's turn the sod on their new complex

I was in Stamullen on Saturday to witness the turning of the first sod for the new sports complex of St Pat's GAA club. The complex is well needed for the growing club, and it will be a welcome addition to facilities in the Stamullen area.

It's been a few years in the making and involved some complex negotiations between the councillors, the GAA and the local landowners. At one stage we were having weekly meetings first thing every Tuesday to sort out the process. Because it was all being prepared at the same time as the County Development Plan it was important to ensure that the Local Area Plan and the County Development Plan dove-tailed. After all the tooth-pulling of the last few years it was great to be up on the pitch and witness the start of the complex.

I look forward to going back to the official opening of the complex, which hopefully should be within the next two years.

I chaired three separate selection conventions in Dublin South on Thursday night. We selected Councillor Aiden Culhane to run in Dundrum, Councillor Lettie McCarthy to run in Glencullen and Richard Humphreys to run in Stillorgan. All are excellent candidates and hopefully will do the business for us on the day. In the meantime we have the by-election in Dublin South, so no doubt I will be back in the area to help out with some canvassing.

Our new office continues to take shape. This week we got broadband connected and got some more tables and chairs. The location is excellent and we are working hard to get it open to the public within the next couple of weeks. The Party Leader is due to come down to Meath in the next forthnight, so I'm hoping that he can officially open the office when he comes down.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Amateurs or Pros?

Although the local elections are still months away the pace is already picking up. Potential candidates are coming out of the woodwork, making their pitches as to why they should be the candidate for their area.

Over the next few weeks there will be a few conventions in the Meath area (for Slane, for Dunshaughlin and for Navan). I'm hoping that the conventions will select people who have got a realistic chance of winning a seat for us. Too often in the past it has been said that candidates are selected "because it's their turn". Unfortunately, that's just not good enough if we are serious about winning seats.

We have to focus on winning seats and if that means wounding the pride of some of our longer-serving party members in the process, then that is the unfortunate price we have to pay. We are all in politics for the common good. We can only be of service if we are elected. So, we need serious candidates, not amateurs fiddling at the edges.

I'm chairing a convention myself, in Dublin South East, the week after next. No doubt the proceedings will be very interesting. The race there will be tight. As a party, we already have some very able candidates in those wards (as well as a sitting Deputy, Ruairi Quinn), so we will be going all out to build on the successes of 2004.

Monday, September 08, 2008


Launch of Commuter Report

I launched my report into Life in the Commuter Belt this week. It's been something that my ofice has been working on for the last six months or so. Eamon Gilmore asked all of the Party's Spokespeople to come up with some initiatives for their respective portfolios, so I went away and decided to do some research into life in the commuter belt.

The launch toook place in Buswell's Hotel on Tuesday afternoon. It received great coverage. It was mentioned in the Irish Mirror and the Star on Monday, Morning Ireland , the Irish Independent and the Irish Examiner on Tuesday, and the Irish Times on Wednesday, as well as the local papers.

I also did interviews with TV3 and RTE television and was on Matt Copper's The Last Word, George Hook's The Right Hook, Michael Reade's Loose Talk and Mary Wilson's Drivetime, as well as FM104, 98FM, Q102, INN, East Coast FM, KFM, and Wexford FM.

The report is available here on the Labour party website. If anyone wants a hard copy then email me at

But the most enjoyable interview of the week was on Radio na Life ar 106.4FM. Bhi me ag caint ar feadh deich noimead - bhi se an cead am a raibh me ag caint as gaeilge ar an radio.

It was good to get stuck back into constituency work after my time in Mongolia. The traffic situation in Duleek is still causing difficulty. Everyone accepts that roadworks are necessary to enable the extension of the sewerage treatment plant to proceed, but at this stage the council should have sorted out the notification procedures to local residents. This is clearly not happening, as an article in this morning's Irish Independent makes clear.

I will continue to press for better communication between the council and the residents.