For the best part of 30 years, Fianna Fail TD Peter Kelly has been an active member of Longford politics serving time on both the county and town councils prior to his election to Dail Eireann in 2002.
Undoubtedly the 2011 General Election campaign has been a tough one for the Fianna Fail body politic and this national trend has been mirrored in the Longford Westmeath constituency. In Longford, Peter has met widespread frustration and fear within the local community.
“Let’s be honest. Some people are telling me straight up that they won’t be voting Fianna Fail but that they may give me a personal vote,” he said speaking to the Leader.
“I can understand that (the frustration) as this is the worst economic crisis in my lifetime, both nationally and internationally. I can also understand the anger of the people and they are quite right to be that way.”
When it comes to the party’s future, Kelly is optimistic that Micheal Martin is a beacon of hope.
“I think that this is a new era for Fianna Fail in that he (Michael Martin) is clean cut, energetic and he comes strictly as a fulltime politician who is genuine and sincere. His main interests are for the good of the country,” said Peter.
Facing local anger head on, Peter Kelly’s policy has been to keep reminding people of the deliveries he made during his eight year tenure in Dail Eireann.
“The main question in this election is ‘Can any of the candidates running in this election claim to have done even half the amount for Co. Longford that I have done?’” he paid, pointing to achievements in health, education, transport, entreprise and the arts.
“People should vote for me for all that Peter Kelly did for the people of Longford and a lot that I can still do.”
One of the actions Kelly would like to see taken is the expansion of the Longford County Entreprise Board.
“Small business is the backbone of this country and we will endeavour to help them,” said the Fianna Fail Deputy.
“We also need to get people spending money again and increase business for the small retail traders.”
Looking at the EU / IMF deal, Deputy Kelly believes that while he would personally always honour any deal he ever made, he would not rule out a renegotiation of the deal with Europe.
Furthermore, he is keen to ensure that the banks “let out the money (to small traders) that they have said they would let out”.
“I would also like to say ‘thank you’ to the credit unions for the way that they have performed in the present crisis,” he said.
Looking forward to Friday’s election, the Fianna Fail TD told the Leader:
“I’m asking the people to vote for me as a local candidate who specialises in local issues. I do my business nice and quietly and I do an awful lot that people don’t know about.”