This Friday Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is coming to Waterford to open the special new Mount Sion Centre. This will be a great boost for the school, the Christian Brothers and the future prospects of tourism in the city.
The Christian Brothers is an international organisation with branches in Africa, USA and Australia and visitors from these countries could come to Waterford as past pupils and learn about the Order that has brought so much learning and education around the world. In the last decade they have got much criticism but the positives also must be heard.
A trip to Waterford will be welcome for the Taoiseach after the ongoing Tribunal and tax problems. While the Opposition accuse the Taoiseach of handing out passports, the stability of the Government is being undermined.
The Taoiseach during his time in office has done much for this region, although the university issue still remains an ongoing problem. The delay in the release of the report from Dr. Jim Port has been a difficulty for us here and creates uncertainty.
The forthcoming job losses in Waterford Crystal mean that the manufacturing base in Waterford is undermined and a key strategic industry is losing production. Can the Government do anything here and assist in another approach that might save some of the jobs? The Taoiseach knows the company well from his labour days and would like to see the firm do well as do we all, but the pain seems very tough this time.
Another local issue is funding for the local airport and a go-ahead for the planned runway extension. Substantial sums will need to be raised locally. On a positive note the Dublin motorway and Waterford city bypass are moving ahead.
One of the difficulties in the current climate is that the problems of the Taoiseach’s financés create instability. The focus of Government is undermined.
Till the Mahon report is concluded or the Taoiseach gets his tax sorted, the strain of this affects his office. An end of year report in the Economist magazine noted how this was a real problem of Government in Ireland.
Many other indicators are good, but a slowdown in property and a weaker international environment has upset business confidence.
It has been a long time since we had weak Government, we would have to go back to the late eighties perhaps. A focused Government will lead to a better one and this is badly needed as the international situation gets worse.
More stability is needed in the coming months and plans need to be put in place.
In the meantime we welcome the Taoiseach to Waterford and hope that he has a successful visit to Mount Sion. The national media will be trailing him to see what new issues will emerge.
As we write the American Presidential election primaries across that country seem to be the current focus in what is a rather close race which is generating much excitement.
The Taoiseach is to travel to America and address his fellow politicians in Washington in what is a unique event. While his past finances may cause concern, his achievements in Northern Ireland are very apparent and praiseworthy.