Q: What do you think will be the main issues coming up on the door steps in Sligo-Leitrim now that the election campaign is under way?
A: I believe that the crisis in the health service is a huge issue that has touched so many families by now, but also I think that neglect of rural Ireland in terms of other services: housing and rural planning, post offices, garda numbers, broadband, transport and roads will be huge in this election. People feel abandoned.
Q: What should be the key local priorities for the Sligo-Leitrim constituency in the next Dail?
A: Jobs locally along with all the services and infrastructure needed for their creation and sustainability in this area. People are fed up rearing and educating their children to see them leave their home place due to lack of opportunity.
Q: Why should people vote for you?
A: I am from Aughavas, Co Leitrim and understand the area and its people well. I am based here so I am accessible. I introduced a planning bill which would open the way to the building of one-off housing in Leitrim. This is the kind of action that this area needs and which I anticipated as a major issue, even though media or government had not seen it as such.
Q: If you had the power to make one big thing happen, locally or nationally, what would it be?
A: I would change the priority of government. There is so much to be done, but one thing I can guarantee any voter is that with a Sinn Féin government in power, immediately the priorities would change to good of the ordinary, working people and farmers.
Imagine if the government was on the side of the people, not of the landlords, big business and the professional urban class. Imagine if you didn’t have to fight for every little service locally. Imagine if you could get treatment when you needed it, if your special needs child was looked after properly and you could look forward to old age with security. That is the way it should be, but it will never be, with the same two parties in power.
Q: Who will top the poll in the Sligo-Leitrim constituency?
A: Well, I live in hope.