19
Sun, Jan
22 New Articles

‘Mayo can prosper in new decade’ – McHugh

News

‘LOOKING FORWARD TO THE CHALLENGE’Saoirse McHugh, Green Party candidate in the General Election. Pic: Michael McLaughlin

Edwin McGreal


The mistakes of the past can be used to help create a better future for Mayo.
That’s according to the Green Party’s Saoirse McHugh who is running in the next General Election in Mayo.
McHugh surprised many with her performance in the 2019 European Elections, where she took over 51,000 first preference votes. She believes a bright future can await Mayo.
“You get the feeling a new decade can bring a whole new outlook,” she told The Mayo News. “We can look back on the last ten years and see what didn’t work for us, figure out why and set a new course.
“Rural areas and the smaller towns have been decimated. Garda stations and post offices closing, young people leaving, farms and small businesses struggling along. We’ve had another so called economic boom but it didn’t reach everywhere. I think the conversation now needs to turn to where we would like to be in ten years time and for people in Mayo to take control of it,” she said.
Lamenting the depopulation of her native Achill, McHugh believes the rise in remote work opportunities offers some hope.
“With the correct broadband infrastructure, better planning and improved public transport there’s no reason why Mayo can’t burst back to life. People are only dying to get out of the cities. Then if we add in things like community energy ownership and localized food systems you start to imagine a very different Mayo,” she said.
But she conceded this will not happen overnight.
“It takes time for these ideas to permeate through society. We have to recognize problems before we can address them and even then it’s not that easy. But if we keep doing what we’ve been doing we will slowly die out. Once we decide on our ideal future than we can move towards it, one step at a time.”
With the Mayo constituency showing the highest percentage of votes for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil combined in the last General Election, McHugh is up against it.
“Both major parties have been strong in Mayo, they’ve got big teams and lots of resources and I know I’ll have to work very hard to compete. I’m looking forward to the challenge and every time I canvass I meet people who are genuinely worried about our future and feel they’ve been let down by successive governments. I believe people are really looking for an alternative and I intend to offer them one,” she said.