Online comments a pointer for Sligo-Leitrim candidates

Leitrim Observer reporter

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Employment, health, forestry and broadband were some of the issues

The Leitrim Observer posed a question to our online readers this week asking them to comment on the issues that matter most to them.
There was a good response and various topics were discussed with a particular focus on employment, health, broadband, forestry and direct provision.
Monica Ward listed a number of her concerns including security on the Sligo to Dublin train which she said is long overdue.
Employment, or lack of, in Leitrim is another important issue for Monica, as is improvement in broadband, rural isolation, waiting lists for hospital appointments, and the ongoing debate about the pension age.
Less lies and broken promises (from politicians) was Monica's wish.
In relation to forestry, Maura Murphy was critical of “the amount of hoops you have to go through to appeal.”
She added, “They will encase us in trees that are not sustainable, they pollute our air and our rivers. They are a dark depressing blanket of green 12 months of the year. God only knows what chemicals are being used on them.”
Màire Nì Cheallàigh, in reply to Maura Murphy, stated there is a huge plantation of almost 50 acres looking for planning permission less than a mile from her. She said they “destroy roads during plantation and when they decide to cut them down.”
Margaret McKiernan referenced mobile coverage in Cloone.
“As a Vodafone customer it’s like something in a third world country. I have complained on numerous occasions, as recent as Monday last, and it is always the same. I am in a black spot. I was going to change provider but have been advised that it will be no different.
“We are expected to do everything online now, well how about providing a broadband service fit for purpose that will not cost €45 per month for the very minimum,” she said.
Amanda O'Connell spoke about the need for job creation within the county.
“Less dealings with hedge fund property developers and more engagement with local development groups or co-op type projects. Keep money in Leitrim rather than lining pockets of rich and corrupt,” she stated.
Paula Sneyd said her concerns were to keep 5G out of Leitrim, job creation in the county and help for small businesses to stay in business.
Oonagh McTernan is concerned about the inability of people in Leitrim to secure planning permission.
Kenneth John Moore called for the establishment of a body or action committee to take abandoned or near derelict or run down properties into government / council ownership to refurbish and allow young people to get on the property ladder or to house families without a home, or simply to enhance the appearance of an area.
Kenneth also called for an injection of funds for new enterprise and business ideas to towns that suffered from the downturn, for example, Leitrim Village, Cootehall and Drumshanbo.
Ann Harman is asking for increased investment in angioplasty services in Sligo University Hospital.
Seán McGloin said he wants all the politicians that are elected to declare their loyalty towards the people of Leitrim first and foremost.
“Stop the forced direct provision accommodation in Leitrim’s rural towns and villages. There are far too many native Leitrim people struggling to make ends meet and where medical and educational facilities are stretched to breaking point. Give the politicians who think otherwise their “pink slips” in no uncertain terms,” he said.
Kieran Walsh directly asked the candidates how many homeless people are there in Leitrim?
Other topics he raised were, “Pensions are in the headlines today....why did you not do something about it in the last few years?
“More homecare facilities for elderly.
“Do you agree with the Greens that we should all share the one car?
“Free parking for hospital patients and pensioners.
“Return of full fuel allowance for pensioners.
“Irish homes for Irish homeless first.....discuss.”
Finally, Paddy O'Brien, with his tongue firmly in his cheek, asked, “Can we annex Arigna into the county please? It annoys everyone no end that we have to go through Roscommon to get between North and South Leitrim.”