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Fianna Fáil target second seat in Tipp

Sunday, 16th July, 2017 9:00am
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The return of Lower Ormond to the Tipperary voting constituency has prompted Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Smith to speculate that his party will take a second seat in the next general election.

Fianna Fáil recovered one seat in last year's election, it going to former councillor Jackie Cahill in his first general election contest. But Cllr Smith, who also ran last year when the party decided to field three candidates in Tipp, believes a second seat is now there for taking.

“The decision to restore the area back to its rightful place in Tipperary is very welcome but the decision to take it out in the first place was outrageous,” he said of Lower Ormond. “I’m sure that if we had Borrisokane and the Lower Ormond area generally on the last occasion we would have secured two seats for Fianna Fáil in Tipperary.”

Cllr Smith said he has an affinity with Lower Ormond having been coming to the area since he was 14 years old, when he began canvassing for his father with Mick Hough. “In later years I went to canvass with the late Jack Cashin, RIP, and often joined Tony McKenna and Jim Casey. There were some rare battles as the people of the Lower Ormond fought to secure two seats for Fianna Fáil – the O’Kennedy-Smith era.”

Cllr Smith paid tribute to Independent councillor Cllr Joe Hannigan of Kilbarron, who contested a seat in the Offaly constituency last year. “Despite a mountain to climb in terms of geography and population, he put in an enormous effort to give voice to the people of this area in the Dáil,” Cllr Smith said.

“We now move on to work with the people here to re-energise the Fianna Fáil party, to listen to what the people are saying and to work hard to give effective representation to them. The dismal funds that are being provided to regenerate the local town, villages and rural areas will do nothing to instill confidence that anything beneficial will happen. The county is struggling to maintain the roads with very inadequate resources.

“The Shannon region has generous potential for tourism. Borrisokane and Cloughjordan would benefit from Urban Renewal Schemes and there are plenty of unused buildings that could be brought in to use, thus providing potential jobs. Much more needs to be done so that rural Ireland is not forgotten about,” Cllr Smith concluded.

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