Outgoing Kilkenny TD and election candidate Bobby Aylward (FF) has spoken of his ‘fury’ with fellow Deputies Ann Phelan and John Paul Phelan over their “inaction” in safeguarding the existing boundary with Waterford.
Deputy Aylward made the claim “following reports that Minister Alan Kelly has given Labour Senator John Kelly a guarantee that the status of County Roscommon will not change as a result of the Athlone Boundary Review which recommended moving part of the county into Westmeath”.
He stated: “The fact that a Labour Senator in Roscommon can proclaim that he has received a (reported) guarantee from his party colleague Minister Alan Kelly that the status of Roscommon will not be changed is a shuddering indictment of his coalition colleagues John Paul Phelan and Ann Phelan on their total inaction on the issue.
“Ann Phelan is an outgoing Minister for State and a party colleague of Alan Kelly’s and yet the people of South Kilkenny remain in the precarious position whereby they might be consumed into the county of Waterford should the proposal be passed.”
Bobby Aylward claimed that the alleged “failure” of both TDs “was even more disgraceful considering that Kilkenny County Council recently revealed (as reported here last week) that it could suffer a potential loss of income of €110 million if the proposal went ahead.
Deputy Aylward also revealed that he had written privately to Kilkenny’s Oireachtas representatives, asking them to co-sign a proposed joint statement to the Taoiseach, in appeal to halt the boundary review process. As of Friday last, only his FF colleague John McGuinness had replied to him.
“Both John Paul Phelan and Ann Phelan are happy to proudly voice their objection to the proposal on the doorsteps but in reality have done virtually nothing to obstruct it. I have gone on the record previously and stated that if it were my party overseeing such an absurd proposal, I would be considering my position as a member very strongly.”
As for the proposal itself? “From what I am hearing on the ground, people on both sides of the boundary are sick and tired of it. Fianna Fáil fought the issue in my father’s time, my brother Liam’s time and I personally fought the issue previously as a member of Kilkenny County Council. The sentiment expressed in the past resonates strongly with the people today. They do not want to see this proposal implemented.”