The time has come for Carrick-on-Suir’s Town Councillors to stand tall and show political leadership in addressing what he described as the ‘Heatons issue’ earlier this week.
That’s the view of Senator Paudie Coffey, who lives in nearby Portlaw. Having observed the goings-on in Carrick over the past year, where Town Council management has refused to support the tenancy of Heatons Department Store in Tinvane.
Were the business green-lighted, 50 new full-time jobs would be created. And, at the risk of being told to mind his own business and what’s going on in another constituency, Senator Coffey felt compelled to break his silence on the issue.
Drawing parallels with the respective plights that both Carrick and Portlaw have endured since the closure of their tanning plants, Senator Coffey is in a good position to offer an assessment.
He said: “Coming from Portlaw which, just like Carrick, has suffered its fair share of unemployment over the years, I believe it is the responsibility of politicians to fight tooth and nail for their area and also to put in place the necessary policy and development plans that will facilitate, assist and encourage inward investment and job creation.”
Carrick’s Councillors, said Senator Coffey, “are kicking into an open goal in this regard”.
Added Coffey; “Heatons is anxious to set up shop in the town, the people and the traders of the town are supportive of the proposed store and the building is lying vacant and ready. So all that’s left is for the Council to make provision for the store in Tinvane in their retail plans”.
In a lengthy statement, Senator Coffey claimed that Councillors “are allowing themselves to be led and said” by Council management, whom he believes have “unrealistic” development plans for the two in the current economic climate.
Senator Coffey has publicly declared that he knows the developer of Tinvane Retail Park personally and because of this he had “stayed mute on the matter to date for fear that I’m accused of having a vested interest in the matter”.
Despite this, he felt compelled to “make a statement on the matter before it is too late especially in the current economic climate”.
“It is at times like this that people look to their politicians for political leadership, so Councillors, take a stand on behalf of the people that elected you and you won’t regret it,” he said.
“Politics is after all, ‘the art of the possible’, and that is why you are elected to show leadership and be decisive for the general good and benefit of your town and surrounding areas.”
How Senator Coffey’s comments are digested in Carrick this week should prove well worth monitoring.