The decision by three Longford-based election candidates not to turn up at a political debate in the Longford Arms Hotel on Monday evening was last night described as “bizarre” and “amazing” by two of the constituency’s election hopefuls.
Fianna Fail outgoing TD Mary O’Rourke and Sinn Fein Councillor, Paul Hogan said they were puzzled by the fact Peter Kelly, James Bannon and Mae Sexton had opted to stay away from the public forum less than four days before voters go to the polls.
“I am quite flabberghasted,” said a bemused looking Ms O’Rourke. “We are in the town of Longford and it took us (candidates) to come all the way from Westmeath. I thought we would be motored down by the Longford candidates.”
Athlone Town Councillor, Paul Hogan was just as baffled. “It is bizzare that we have no Longford candidiates here this evening,” he told a crowd of around 60 people.
The debate, which was streamed live on www.longfordleader.ie last night, also involved contributions from Nicky McFadden (FG) and two first time independents, David D’Arcy and Donal Jackson.
Each candidate made a brief opening statement before responding to a series of questions dealing with job creation, health, education, political reform and the economy.