Meet the Longford/Westmeath general election candidate: Frank Kilbride, Independent

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Frank Kilbride

Independent candidate Frank Kilbride

Q:What do you think will be the main issues coming up on the doorsteps now that the election campaign is underway?

A: What I am hearing on the doorsteps is healthcare and that's from waiting lists, trolleys and general admission to the total breakdown of our health system. Another issue is the lack of affordable housing and the fact homelessness is on the rise. A further bone of contention for people, especially locally, is the fact that homelessness is on the rise.

Q: What should be the key local priorities for the constituency in the next Dail?

A: All of the above, but that's only for starters. We should have a stronger and more robust garda presence in both urban and rural areas across the length and breadth of the constituency. In farming, we need more support for the beef industry from various government bodies. What this constituency is crying out for is inward investment brought about by greater IDA support and tighter insurance regulations to prevent any more businesses falling by the wayside. The State pension age should be left at 65 with the proviso that if someone wants to work longer, they can.

Q: Why should people vote for you?

A: I want people to vote for me because I care and I know you, as an electorate, have a choice. I'm frustrated by the delays with monies for projects in Longford for the likes of St Joseph's Care Centre, St Christopher's, the regeneration of Granard and various other projects around the constituency.

Q: If you had the power to make one big thing happen, locally or nationally, what would it be?

A: There's not one silver bullet which will suddenly turn around Longford's fortunes, but if there was one overriding factor this county needs, its investment, investment, investment.

Q: Who will top the poll in the constituency?

A: That's irrelevant. I'm about representing and that's what I'll do if elected on February 8.