Michelle Clancy reports
Sitting Independent Councillors Mary Roche, Joe Kelly and Joe Conway and former TD Paudie Coffey have all confirmed that they’re seeking a seat in the new Seanad in April.
Roche is to contest the Labour panel, Kelly the Industrial and Commercial panel, Conway the Cultural and Education panel while Mr Coffey is also set to contest for a seat via the Industrial and Commercial panel.
Proper funding and servicing of University Hospital Waterford, as well as university status for WIT, are key issues that Kelly will campaign for, if elected. #
“The people of Waterford were promised all kinds of services at our hospital, instead it has been downgraded”, he told The Munster Express. “Likewise, granting a university has been turned into a political football and we are the only city and also the only region without a university.”
Conway, a former teacher, has indicated that the university status for WIT is also his main Waterford issue in the campaign. “Probably the single biggest economic challenge facing Waterford City and County in the short to medium term is an educational issue – that of university designation for the region’s WIT”, he noted. “It is now nine years since the Port report on the WIT University pitch. It is five years since the Hunt Report on the future of Higher Education in Ireland. In the meantime, nothing has been resolved about the University of the South East.
“For me, as a candidate on the Culture and Education Panel, in the Seanad Éireann general this is the critical issue for us here in Waterford. Are we going to sit meekly on our hands, waiting for the nod from some benign Minister, or will we be able to stand up for ourselves and force home the undeniable case for a University for the South East region – the only region without one?”
Former Minister of State Paudie Coffey, in what clearly represents his first step to win re-election to the Dáil, said he was “never one to lie down – I’ve always had to graft for a seat and I will continue to graft, and I’m looking forward to getting back campaigning next week.”
Meanwhile, Carrick-on-Suir-based Senator Denis Landy is to seek a second Seanad term via the Agricultural panel.