TWO defeated candidates in the Mayo constituency have slammed comments made by Minister of State Michael Ring questioning whether people in some areas ‘wanted delivery’.
In last week’s Mayo News, Minister Ring was critical of the vote he got in Mulranny and Aughleam, Erris, arguing he had delivered to these areas but was outpolled in those boxes by Dr Jerry Cowley (Ind) and Cllr Rose Conway-Walsh (Sinn Féin) respectively.
“When you look at some of the places I allocated money lately – like in Aughleam where I gave half a million euros for a hall, I got beaten two-to-one there [Ring got 91 votes while Sinn Féin’s Rose Conway-Walsh got 191 votes].
“In Mulranny, very substantial funding was provided to revitalise the whole area, and I got 42 votes [Jerry Cowley got 165 votes], so you have to wonder, do the people want delivery? I don’t know,” stated Minister Ring.
Dr Jerry Cowley, who is based in Mulranny, and Cllr Rose Conway-Walsh, who lives close to Aughleam, have both criticised his comments.
“It’s not his votes, it’s the people’s votes,” Jerry Cowley told The Mayo News. “People will decide how they want to vote and who they vote for. If he didn’t get the vote, it is because he didn’t deserve it. It’s not his money that’s being given out, it’s taxpayers’ money that’s given out.
“It would be more in his line to sort out the issues that people have than giving out about a few votes he didn’t deserve in the first place,” added Dr Cowley.
Rose Conway-Walsh alluded to the fact that the funding of just over €300,000 for the Naomh Bhreandain Community Hall in Aughleam actually came from Leader funding and was not the responsibility of Minister Ring at all. The funding was announced by Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly of Labour.
“Money that is allocated in different communities you would like to think, such as Leader and the Rural Development Programme, it is crucially important it’s non-political and not the gift of any political party. It has to always be based on the merit and the need for the project.
“Sometimes, and I’m not referring to any particular politician here, politicians look for credit for things they haven’t had any hand, act or part in. I think people see through that.
“There’s no point being annoyed if people don’t vote for you. You can look at some of the reasons and self-reflect and reflect on the sociology of it all. People have a free will to decide to vote for whatever reasons they feel is important to them. I think it is wrong of any politician to be critical of that,” she argued.