Sinn Féin’s Paul Hogan chose the banks of the Shannon to launch his campaign to be elected to the Dáil in the Longford-Westmeath by-election and his venue was a humble one, a barge named Saoirse.
Joining him on Monday, May 5 in Athlone were Deputies Pearse Doherty and Michael Colreavy, European hopeful Matt Carty and local election candidates from four counties including Longford candidates John Reilly, Barbara Smyth and Edel Kelly.
“I will be the voice for a generation of people, who are crushed by government policies. I will be a voice of opposition. Of opposition to austerity measures, opposition to charges and cuts. I will speak out for the people of Longford and Westmeath, calling out for job creation, calling out for action on social housing and mortgage distress and holding the government to account,” said Cllr Hogan.
The day was also one for remembrance. Deputy Doherty remembered Nicky McFadden and passed on once more, the deepest sympathies of those who knew her to her friends and family. The sad passing of Deputy McFadden is the reason for the by-election, seeking a candidate to fill her Dáil seat.
The Sinn Féin family also remembered Bobby Sands, on the anniversary of his death with Deputy Doherty reading from memory “they won’t break me because the desire for freedom, and the freedom of the Irish people, is in my heart. The day will dawn when all the people of Ireland will have the desire for freedom to show. It is then that we will see the rising of the moon.”
The Saoirse will travel along the Shannon waterway, bringing Paul’s election message through Longford and Westmeath.
It is to be joined by another boat, carrying Matt Carthy’s canvass team, as they work day and night over the next eighteen days canvassing for the elections.