Sinn Féin Chase Young Vote
Sinn Fein did not exclude The Donegal Times when launching its election media offensive on St. Bridgids Day. Northern Health Minister Bairbre De Brun accompainied candidate Pearse Doherty to our office on the Diamond. Pearse told the paper he was impressed with the Pat The Cope interview in the previous issue. Together with Bairbre De Brun he enunciated Sinn Fein election policy during a wide ranging interview.
South Donegal can expect an intensely visiable Sinn Fein campaign, fuelled by young campaigners in support of Pearse Doherty and Tom Dignam and aimed at the young vote.
D.T.: This is evidently a serious campaign on a National level for Sinn Fein this time around?
P.D.: Absolutely, Sinn Feins success in attracting new members and new voters is one of the big current political stories.
D.T.: You are likely to be one of the youngest candidates in the country; you have come back to West Donegal from a well paid job in Dublin to run here for Sinn Fein. Is this a long term commitment you are making?
P.D.: I have been involved in Sinn Fein since 1992 and I intend to be here for the long haul to bring Sinn Fein politics into Donegal and give Donegal back its voice after long neglect.
D.T.: You are making a personal monetary sacrifice, but do all your elected members make similar sacrifices?
P.D.: Yes, elected members retain that amount of salary equivalent to the average industrial wage and the balance is available to fund party workers and advisers, so there is nothing heroic in what I am doing personally. The big political salaries are meant to reduce the temptation towards corruption - a policy which can hardly be said is working.
D.T.: Do you expect to attract a big vote from the young and new voters?
P.D.: Well I am one myself and the radical politics and All-Ireland ideals of Sinn Fein will have a huge appeal to that young constituency.
D.T.: Will you be able to get that vote out?
P.D.: Unlike the other parties, many of our party workers and canvassers will be in my age group; Sinn Fein has a proud tradition of getting its vote out.
D.T.: South Donegal has a number of very good towns with economic potential - would you have policies to encourage their economic growth?
P.D.: The Government hasnt tackled the whole flight from rural to urban. Report after report on the requirements of this region have been binned. The road infrastructure in South Donegal is quite good but the follow-up of other services - water, sewerage and broad-band communications, not to mention gas, is wastefully delayed. Very little has been achieved in co-ordinating joint economic projects with towns in Fermanagh and Tyrone.
D.T.: It may be an unspoken thing among the establishment parties - are they afraid of your commitment to the system of Democratic policies as they see it? In other words do you fully respect that wee modest man or woman who comes out on election day with that lethal weapon called the vote!
P.D.: Indeed, and we are the party that wee modest man or woman should vote for as we will be fighting for his concerns. The established parties have forgotten those decent people which is why there is so much political apathy here. Of course the big parties are afraid of Sinn Fein - not concerning any question about our commitment to the ballot box. They are afraid of our commitment to the forgotten people North and South.
Our Political Correspondent writes: The recent TG4 poll for this constituency reflects the acceptance of Sinn Feins committment to the democratic process and its emergence as the radical party of the future. The Sinn Fein candidates Pearse Doherty and Tom Dignam have nine percent of the vote at this early stage of the campaign. Sinn Fein nationally could win up to eight seats according to national political pundits, so they could well have the deciding votes in the election of a Taoiseach at the opening session of the New Dail.
Eamon Monaghan of Drumkeelan accompanied Pearse and Bairbre to the Times Office. Eamons father Brian ran in the 1923 election as a Republican candidate, being unluckily defeated on transfers. An elected running mate of Brians was the renowned Peadar ODonnell. That old tradition of Republican/Radical Socialism never really died and may be the political flavour of the new Millenium.
Official Opening of Pier 1 & Dom Breslin's
On Friday 15th February the ship was offically launched from Pier1. Boss man, Michael Breslin was in the wheel-house, Dom at look-out, Mary and Geraldine in the galley and, of course, the Donegal Times crew were on deck to take in everything.
Minister Mary Coughlan opened proceedings by welcoming all: Ever since the Abbey was sold people from all over were asking when Doms new premises would open and now finally the question is answered. She went on to say that the Breslin family had made a major contribution to tourism in south Donegal during their 60 years in business there.
Mary had warm words for certain guests. People from Tipperary are always welcome in this town - it took a Tipperary woman to put manners on Dom and another one to put manners on Michael. Concluded Mary, With the good GAA blood in the Bergins, Michaels and Geraldines two sons will hopefully shine for the Masters.
Next to speak was Michael Kelly Jnr of Glebe Builders, the main contractor. He wished the Breslin family every success with their new venture and thanked everybody involved in the project, especially mentioning Tommy Love, foreman on the site. He also expressed appreciation to Jim White of the Central and Abbey who was more than co-operative over the construction period.
After the formalities, Times girl Margaret Gallagher spoke to Michael who said that he had enjoyed the challenge of the project. The only serious difficulty encountered was the incursion of water at the preliminary stages. Michael said he was proud of the job and of the team that had executed it.
Jackie McGroarty, enjoying his new freedom, observed It is absolutely magnificent and a credit to the Breslin family. It will affect the other pubs in the beginning but this will settle down. Jackie said that he misses McGroartys for the craic and banter but looks forward to other developments coming on-stream. He urged the politicians to give the go-ahead for Revlin and Drimlonagher sooner rather than later.
Another retiree, Kathleen Curristan, said it is fantastic to see the way Quay Street has taken off. She hopes Michael can make a million - just like his dad.
James Likely, main plumbing contractor for the project, enthused; Its a great job - Ballyshannon could do with a development like this.
Eamonn McCafferty- It was badly needed to open up this end of town.
Three girls visiting from New Zealand described Doms as a Funky Pub. They had called in as they heard that the best men come from Donegal Town.
Forester Bernard McGlinchey- Well worth the wait and good to see the Breslins back.
Community Chamber president, Ernan McGettigan, congratulated the Breslin family on their investment, commitment and confidence in Donegal Town. He said it is now time that the Council showed similar committment by building a multi-storey car park to encourage more investment and develop the infrastructure of the town.
The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland
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