Q: What do you think will be the main issues coming up on the doorsteps in Sligo-Leitrim?
A: The country is at breaking point: hospital trolley crisis, waiting lists, access to mental health services and A&E, homelessness, childcare costs, rising insurance costs, lack of support for small businesses, environmental protection, crime, gangland feuds etc.
This is on top of the priorities I highlight under question two.
Q: What should be the key local priorities for the Sligo-Leitrim Constituency in the next Dáil?
A: Within this constituency, I am expecting to be asked to prioritise the factors contributing to the neglect and decline of rural Ireland, such as farming and forestry issues, infrastructural and transport needs, broadband access, employment opportunities, garda station and school closures.
We also urgently need the introduction of regulations and directives requiring mixed planting, rather than the current mono-culture afforestation practice.
We need a timber industry, creating added value and local jobs, not a tree planting scheme.
Balanced regional development must be the priority of the Sligo-Leitrim TDs.
Q: Why should people vote for you?
A: As an Independent candidate, I am free from political ‘group think’ and the restrictions typically placed on members of a political party.
I will never be subject to “Head Office” for political direction or approval. I value this freedom and will use it wisely. I will be solely answerable to the voter.
I will represent the electorate with the same integrity, passion, diligence and experience which I have invested in all my activism for the past 30 years, in numerous rural and community development causes.
Q: If you had the power to make one big thing happen, locally or nationally, what would it be?
A: It would have to be the introduction of community / co-operative banking to Ireland. ‘Sparkassen Bank’, a co-operative bank in Germany, has been operating for over 240 years, has over 50 million customers, and total business volume of 1,103 billion in 2014.
It operates free of cost to the taxpayer, is fully accountable to Central Bank regulation, provides low interest loans to its clients and has the promotion of rural development at its core. It is a ‘no-brainer’ for savers and borrowers alike. No bank bail outs required!
Q: Who will top the poll in the Sligo-Leitrim Constituency?
A: Marc MacSharry ought to, for his brave stance on the pro-life issue.