“It wasn’t personal – it was fair comment,”
General election candidate Grace O’Sullivan has refuted claims that she made a ‘personal attack’ on outgoing TDs during a recent WLRfm debate held in Dungarvan, describing her stance as ‘fair comment’.
In a statement issued to The Munster Express, Ms O’Sullivan (Green Party) said that her comments “were in no way personal – it was simply fair comment”.
“I think it’s fair, for example, to criticise John Halligan’s use of official stationary to promote his campaign – he’s on a good enough salary without having to dip into the taxpayers’ coffers and to state this, in my view, does not represent, in any way, a personal attack.”
Ms O’Sullivan added: “I think John Halligan has good intentions, he has a good enough (Dáil) record, which I mentioned in the (WLRfm) debate, on, for example, social issues, but I didn’t see a great deal of change in Waterford during his time in the Dáil. And that was the point that I was making.”
Deputy Halligan admitted that approximately 30 invitations to his campaign launch at the Granville Hotel were sent to invitees on pre-paid Oireachtas envelopes, and later stressed that this was “not deliberate” on his office’s behalf. “If I have broken any rules then I will pay the money back,” stated the Independent Alliance TD.
In relation to Ciara Conway’s (Lab) record of absence from the Dáil, Ms O’Sullivan stated: “Those of us women who are juggling raising children and working outside the home can understand the challenges that any working mother faces. As a single mother (of three) and carer, I can empathise on a personal level. What I have difficulty with is the fact that her absence meant a lack of representation for Waterford.
“There should be a system in place whereby, if a TD or Government Minister is absent for extended periods, for whatever reason, there would be some way of ensuring that the constituents interests are still being brought to the table.”
Ms O’Sullivan said the reaction to the comments she made on WLR had been “overwhelmingly positive”. She added: “I certainly challenged the candidates on a range of issues, but they needed to be challenged.
“The economy may be improving, but we’re not seeing too much spin-off filtering through to Waterford. The outgoing Government didn’t share the spoils equally throughout the nation, and Waterford is one of the counties that has lost out.”
Labeling Waterford as “the forgotten county,” Ms O’Sullivan suggested that neither Paudie Coffey or John Deasy (both FG) “hadn’t exactly been shining beacons for Waterford”.
On the environmental front, Grace O’Sullivan said she’s concerned by Fine Gael’s stance on climate change “in case it will effect Ireland’s agricultural interests – that is patent nonsense”.
She continued: “Agricultural interests will be destroyed in a much more dramatic fashion by the effects of climate change if we continue with the inertia and misinformation the outgoing administration have been perpetrating.
I’m determined to find ways of getting this message out there. I have a moral obligation to make my voice heard. and instigate changes that will protect the people of Waterford and make this a safer and better place in which to raise our children.
“At the moment I’m completely focused on doing everything I can to try to get elected to the Dáil. I feel that’s the place where, right now, I could be an effective and dedicated ambassador for Waterford – and we need passionate and committed representation.”