A new survey of 6,000 Longford voters has indicated that over 70% of respondents are dissatisfied with the delivery of services within the county.
It has also emerged that over 50% are not happy with the Fine Gael administration at Longford Co Council.
The survey was commissioned by Longford Fianna Fáil CDC and the fieldwork was carried out between March 7 and 14 last.
The five top areas of concern for Longford voters centre around the county’s worsening employment situation, the introduction of water charges, the deterioration of the local road network, property taxes and the administration of the local property tax system, and the decline of Longford town.
Speaking to the Leader, Fianna Fail’s Director of Elections, Pat O’Rourke said the survey was not about ‘a blame game’, but rather an opportunity to identify local issues and put a plan of action in place to resolve them.
“Most people did not realise who led the council in Longford Co Council, yet most people were happy with the service provided by council workers, but not with the delivery of services,” he noted.
“People are very frustrated over the jobs situation and emigration as well. This is not a blame game; people just want the local issues addressed and dealt with.”
When asked if that level of frustration would lead to apathy among voters in next month’s local elections, Mr O’Rourke was adamant that people want change and there will be no shortage of voters on May 23 next. “The level of concern that people have about the issues in Co Longford means that they will go out and vote,” he stated, adding “will it bring results? I think it will because at the end of the day there is no greater advice to get than that of the electorate”.
Meanwhile, Cllr Peggy Nolan (FG) said that while it was obvious that many Longfordians were unhappy with certain aspects within the county, she was aware of the many concerns, that had been raised with her during her campaign trail. “Fine Gael are in local Government and we work under the budgetary constraints given to us,” said Cllr Nolan.
“As a Longford woman, I am not happy about the way my county is going, but I am not blaming anyone for that. I have pleaded with successive governments to up the anti for Longford.
“Politics at local level is about trying to make sure that Longford gets it fair share of the national cake and all political sides must work together to achieve that - it doesn’t matter who is in power.
“Longford needs to promote itself; I believe that we could turn this county around in 12 months.”