Two Castlebar councillors are at loggerheads over Enda Kenny’s track record since he became Taoiseach.
Fianna Fáil’s Councillor Blackie Gavin has claimed that Enda Kenny has not delivered for his home town of Castlebar but Fine Gael’s Ger Deere has argued that Kenny is doing all he can in austere economic times.
“I’d love to see Enda Kenny delivering more to Castlebar,” Cllr Gavin told The Mayo News yesterday. “Tell me what has he brought to his hometown? It is time he delivered. Young people are leaving the town in their droves because there’s no work for them.
“Sure, money might be tight but it seems to be dished out in other quarters and let Enda Kenny not be afraid to deliver to his own town. You saw Brian Cowan when he was Taoiseach bringing stuff to Offaly. I was up in Tullamore and their IDA Park is buzzing with activity and the gates are closed on the IDA Park in Castlebar.
“There is a lot you can do when you are sitting around the government table and that’s where Enda Kenny is. It is time something positive came to Castlebar. Enda Kenny was long enough in opposition criticising the government, let him deliver now that he’s leading the government.”
Cllr Gavin said that the Taosieach should spend more time meeting with the local town council than ‘going around the county cutting tapes on extensions and raising Green Flags’ but Fine Gael town councillor Ger Deere said that Enda Kenny was perfectly well informed of what was happening on the ground.
“Enda has over 30 [Fine Gael] councillors in Mayo and he meets them on a regular basis and very much stays in touch with what is happening on the ground. The cupboard was left very bare by the last crowd, Cllr Gavin’s Fianna Fáil, but I’m confident that when there is money to be distributed that Castlebar and Mayo will get its fair share,” Cllr Deere told The Mayo News yesterday.
The row emerged after the Fine Gael led government last week announced that the new VEC regional headquarters for Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim would be located in Castlebar. Prior to that news Cllr Gavin had slammed the Taoiseach for not knowing what was happening in his own town and being too busy performing openings, which prompted a press release from Cllr Deere slamming Cllr Gavin’s quotes.
“It is an incredible criticism - it is through attending events and meeting people right across the constituency that Mr Kenny stays in touch with what’s taking place on the ground. It was a cheap shot by Cllr Gavin, and, deep down, I’m pretty sure he knows that himself,” said Cllr Deere.
However, speaking after the announcement that the VEC headquarters would be in Castlebar, Cllr Gavin stood over his comments.
“I’m a member of the VEC and I’m elected by the people of Castlebar to do a job there. It would be a very serious issue if we lost the VEC. Michelle Mulherin [TD] was looking for the VEC to be located to Ballina and I wasn’t going to sit there like a dummy and say nothing.
“If the VEC was lost to Castlebar, people wouldn’t be long asking me why I stayed quiet.”