Waterford City Councillor Mary Roche has called on Fianna Fail, the party she once represented, to “do the decent thing” and call an election.
She said a fresh mandate was required to introduce the necessary policies for the “new era” in which the country now finds itself.
“People have the right to have these policies debated wholly and in the open and they have the right to make their choices based on all the information available”, she said.
She suggested that neither Fianna Fáil nor the Green Party have a mandate from the electorate for the current trying times and argued that now, post-budget, is the right time to “come clean” and invite the people to endorse them and their current policies.
While she believes that this is the correct course of action she does not believe that either Fianna Fáil or the Greens will do the honourable thing “as they know well that such a course of action would leave them wiped-out”.
“I certainly know that they would have many questions to answer on their performance nationally and in Waterford”, she continued. “I would like to ask them a few questions myself on crucial local issues such as the disgraceful demise of our flagship industry Waterford Crystal, the continuing farce of the closure of St Brigid’s Ward in St Patrick’s Hospital, the lack of investment in public radiotherapy at WRH, the absence of Breastcheck, the robbing of teachers and investment from disadvantaged schools, the ignoring of our university application for 3 years and 2 months (so far), the pulling of the Gateway Innovation Fund and the abandonment of decentralisation after riding that wave for years”.
Cllr Roche, who ditched FF over the radiotherapy issue, accused the current coalition Government of playing fast and loose with peoples lives and livelihoods.
“The list goes on and on,” she said. “It’s so bad now that you have Fianna Fáil candidates in the forthcoming local elections publicly trying to dissociate themselves from the party’s policies and responsibilities.
“However, as I learned in my 10 year political sojourn to date, if you stand for a party you are, by extension, standing for their policies. I was elected for Fianna Fáil 10 years ago and served four years in that party before I resigned in disappointment and disgust at its failure to deliver on its 2002 (9 years ago!!) election promise of public radiotherapy for our cancer patients. I understood that by being a Fianna Fáil Councillor I would be giving my implicit support and acceptance to that stand. I refused. If my party had the kind of policies that I could not stand over, then I could not represent it and so I resigned.
“A general election would give Fianna Fáil the chance to tell us all why we should ‘take the pain’ for the misery inflicted by the party. Tell us why we should be happy that our mortgage payments are reducing – when our incomes are reducing by much more. They could tell us why we get sicker in our hospitals. Tell us why a new geriatric hospital is not built in St Patrick’s before the patient numbers are reduced.
“In the face of monumental mismanagement of Ireland plc, serious lack of investment in Waterford and in all of our services, I know that the Fianna Fáil party has no intention of going to the country at this time. It doesn’t have that kind of courage”, she maintained.