Fine Gael’s National Director of Elections, Brian Hayes MEP, was in Athlone last week to launch the re-election campaign of Longford-Westmeath TD, Gabrielle McFadden.
In front of a large turnout from all parts of South Westmeath, Brian Hayes underscored the need to keep the recovery going. He outlined how the local area had benefitted from a Government TD in the last five years, and went on to suggest that Gab McFadden is ideally placed to be appointed a minister after the next election.
“Her courage, straight-talking, conviction and perseverance are attributes that have won her many admirers in Leinster House,” said Mr Hayes. “She is like a dog with a bone when she wants something important for her constituency”. He said with all she had achieved, it was hard to believe that she had only been in office for just eighteen months.
The MEP’s comments were echoed by Mayor of Athlone, Tom Farrell, who said he was present when Deputy McFadden discussed with the Taoiseach the need for a ministry, specially dedicated to flooding, and that this Minister needed to be based in the Midlands. Addressing the gathering, Cllr John Dolan said we should be proud of Fine Gael’s record in the economic recovery, particularly Gabrielle McFadden’s achievements for the Midlands as part of that recovery.
Setting out her plans for re-election, Gabrielle McFadden thanked the large turnout for coming but said that they were not campaigning for her, but for the future of the country.
“As I see it, this election is a straight choice between from Fine Gael and a Sinn Fein led government” Deputy McFadden said in her launch speech. “Fine Gael is the only alternative to a hodgepodge of independents, which is a chaotic prospect. The last thing Ireland needs to see is a return to the stunt politics of the past; a return to parish pump politics.”
“Fine Gael is the alternative”, she said. “We are the party of recovery. Of responsible government. Of an Ireland with a future. Under Fine Gael’s watch, unemployment has dropped from 15% to below 9%. Thanks in no small part to the wisdom of Michael Noonan, we have the prospect of full employment again in this country. Jobs are the only way to pay for a proper health service, to pay for decent education, to pay for social welfare. Without jobs, how will be end poverty? How will we tackle inequality?” she asked.
Brian Hayes said he was happy to be in Athlone. He said he and Gabrielle’s sister Nicky had been close friends, and was that she was still sadly missed by a wide circle of colleagues and friends on all sides of politics. He said he had a long association in the Midlands, having gone to school in Garbally, where he was taught by former Fine Gael councillor Joe Whelan. He finished by reminding Gabrielle’s supporters that Longford Westmeath is a marginal constituency and urged everyone to campaign vigorously to give her every opportunity to be re-elected.