Two new candidates have entered the Roscommon/South-Leitrim By-Election political arena in the last week.
Chairman of the Turfcutters and Contractors Association (TCCA), Michael Fitzmaurice who is very well known has thrown his hat in the ring and has received the backing of the outgoing seat holder, MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, while former teacher at St Mel’s College, Longford Cllr Des Guckian (Ind) has also declared his candidacy.
“My record in refusing to join in with the FF/FG coalition group on Leitrim Co Council identifies me as a true Independent who will not sell out on those who elected me,” said Cllr Guckian.
“Luke Flanagan MEP has shown that true Independent TDs can influence national policy. I’m completely fed up with the political parties. We cannot depend upon them. All that concerns them, at council and at national level, is grabbing power and privilege for themselves and their parties.”
Fitzmaurice and Guckian will now join the other election hopefuls, Tom Crosby (Ind), Sinn Féin’s Martin Kenny, Emmett Corcoran (Ind), Fianna Fáil’s Ivan Connaughton, Maura Hopkins (FG), John McDermott of the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee (HAC) and Senator John Kelly (Lab).
“A massive change was made at the last general election when Fianna Fáil were punished for their sins,” Fitzmaurice told the Leader.
“Since then Fine Gael have made Judas look honest with their betrayal on issues such as Roscommon A&E and our mental health services. It is my duty to make sure that the change you made only three years ago is copper fastened by retaining an independent seat and that we never again return to the old party system which has left us on our knees.”
He went on to say that while he was chair of the TCCA he travelled the country and organised over 100 meetings on people’s right to cut their turf.
“The issue of designated land has far more implications than just for turf cutters,” the by-election hopeful continued.I have proven that I understand this issue more than the so-called experts. Rural life will be non-existent unless we stem this tide.”
Tom Crosby (Ind) is calling on the Minister for Justice to ensure that 50 of the 100 new Garda recruits currently training in Templemore would be allocated as Community Garda in rural communities.
Mr Crosby also welcomed the response he received from the Minister to his lobbying last year for the introduction of a DNA database for Ireland. “A database would have huge benefits for the prevention and detection of crime for future generations in our country.”
Mr Crosby is also hoping to revive Rooskey as a tourist destination. “Rooskey was once a thriving village and it is sad to see it now. In recent times it has lost a factory which provided massive employment to over 600 families over many generations, a busy hotel, a garage, and a regular bus service. We must work together to restore some vitality to this picturesque Shannonside village.”