Sunday, March 01, 2009


Childers Launches Meath Euro Campaign


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Monday night saw the launch of Nessa Childers' European election campaign in Navan. A large crowd gathered in the Ardboyne Hotel to welcome Nessa. I chaired the event and addressed the audience. So too did Nessa, Cllr Brian Collins and the Meath area local elections candidates, including Eileen Drew, Anton McCabe, Michael McLoughlin and Tracey McElhinney.

Nessa Childers MEP Campaign Launch in Meath
Nessa Childers with Meath local election candidates

Nessa faces a difficult battle to win a seat for Labour. The East constituency is a 3-seater, with Fine Gael holding two and Fianna Fail holding one. The retirement of Avril Doyle and the absence of any other candidates at this stage bodes well for Nessa, as do the recent poll results showing the party at 22%, but really we all know that the only way to win this seat is through the hard work of the candidate and the support of the local election campaigning teams. The people at the Ardboyne Hotel were given that clear message: when you are canvassing for your councillor make sure that you also ask people to vote for Nessa.

As the party's Spokesperson on Community and Rural Affairs I got to speak on the debate about life in Western Ireland on Tuesday. The debate referred to a report published by Senator Pearse Doherty from Donegal. I complimented him on the work he had done (which was considerable) and stressed the need for better broadband in rural areas.

I also attended the Joint Committee on Transport meeting on Wednesday night. Although I am not a member, I am able to attend if I so choose. The Committee was being addressed by representatives of SR Technics, so I was keen to take part. The representatives gave us an update of the current situation and briefed us on the ongoing developments in relation to their negotiations with the Swiss Parent company. The 30 day notification period is now underway so the workers and representatives are working hard to try and find a way of saving jobs.

Later in the week I spoke on an All-Party Motion in relation to Gaza. My debate clashed with the meeting of the Overseas Development Aid Committee, of which I am a member, so unfortunately I had to miss that. These clashes are a regular occurrence for all members in the house. Last week one of my colleagues had three meetings at the same time. One can either try and attend all three, in the process spreading oneself very thinly, or just pick one and send apologies to the others. I tend to choose my approach based on the subject matter of the meetings - sometimes I attend them all briefly, on other occasions I stick with one. Either way I fear that one's absence or one's brief attendance looks bad to the observer.

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