Campaigning in Waterford
Posted by Alan Kelly on March 01, 2009 at 09:14 PM
I spent last Saturday in Waterford on the campaign trail. I was joined by my colleagues Brian O'Shea T.D, Mayor Jack Walsh and Cllr. Seamus Ryan. We campaigned throughout Waterford again and and got a great reception.
The Cllrs in Waterford are excellent and very popular as is Brian O'Shea, who has been a fantastic servant to the people of Waterford. I have the height of admiration for him.
Waterford is still reeling from the sudden closure of Waterford Crystal. I simply do not believe that the Government and its local Minister, Martin Cullen did enough to save the company, an iconic company for Ireland. Waterford Crystal as a brand is not alone important to Waterford but also Ireland and more effort should have been made. It is an essential companent of the branding of Irish tourism (and I know this only too well through my previous role in Bord Failte and Failte Ireland). The idea that a new company can come in and take over the brand, while getting rid of the overwhelming majority of its workers is not acceptable to me. The workers need to be supported. They are a key component of the brand of the company and the idea that you can market Waerford Crystal, while it is manufactured outside Waterford is absurd. I have often advocated the setting up of a co-op for the workers and I still believe this should be pursued.
I also feel that in a time like this it is up to the Government and again Minister Cullen to deliver for Waterford on the issue of having a University for the South East. WIT is an excellent college. I have a good knoweldge of the excellent work that goes on there, particularly in the IT area. Waterford and the South East needs, deserves and has justified why it should have a University. It would give a serious lift to the region and allow the University to move into more disciplines as well as giving a hige boost to the business community and ebcourage inward investment.
I also have a serious issues with what is going on in St. Patrick's and the HSE's plans to close one of the wards at the hospital. This is completely unacceptable to me as I do not believe that the HSE will actually build the new Unit that they claim will replace the ward they are trying to close. The ward that they are targetting, St. Brigids was partly funded by the Friends of St. Patrick's and the refurbishment of it was just completed etc. This decision is crazy and must be reversed.