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Rivals make their pitch


Ring and Chambers each say their party will deliver for Mayo

Edwin McGreal

As the countdown continues to General Election 2020 on Saturday, leading Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil candidates argue their party will deliver for Mayo.
Fine Gael Minister Michael Ring says there has ‘never been as much investment in Mayo as there has been in the last four years’.
However, his Fianna Fáil rival Lisa Chambers says Fine Gael has not delivered for the county and that ‘there is an appetite for change’.
Mayo will be seen as something of a bellwether constituency with a strong field, and the performances of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and the Greens here could well point to how well they will do nationally.

‘We have delivered’
Westport-based Minister Michael Ring said he is happy to stand on the party’s record in Mayo for the last four years, and he also launched a broadside at Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin.
“People should vote for Fine Gael because never has there been as much investment in Mayo as there has been in the last four years,” he told The Mayo News. “That’s across health, roads, education, the Town and Village [Renewal] Scheme, the Rural Regeneration Scheme and money for so many groups and organisations. There has never been as many people working in Mayo.
“In health in Mayo, with all the new primary-care centres, never has there been as much money spent in health in this county in the last 50 years as has been spent in the last four years.
“Schools in every corner of the county have received funding. We have put major funding into the county in health and education, and I think people will respond to that.
“We have delivered the N5 Westport to Castlebar road and the Westport to Newport road. The Castlebar to Erris road (R312) is what we will be trying to get funding for now.
“The first few years we were in government from 2011 were difficult with the mess Fianna Fáil left the country in, and if it is Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin in charge, we will be back where we started within two years.
“Some people talk about a time for a change … do we want to put power back in the hands of a party who have destroyed the economy three times in my lifetime?” he argued.
‘No major investment’
However, Lisa Chambers argued that she is seeing a different reaction on the doorsteps.
“There is a considerable amount of anger towards the Government out there, and there is an appetite for change,” she told The Mayo News. “Fianna Fáil are a party who can and will deliver that change.
“We have published in our manifesto how we intend to tackle problems with the health service, our plans for housing access and how, in general, we intend to tackle the high cost of living for people.
“Fine Gael are saying the economy has recovered but many parts of Mayo haven’t seen it. Huge parts of rural Ireland are struggling.
“Mayo hasn’t seen the level of delivery Fine Gael has promised in the last two elections. There has been no major investment in the county, no major job creation. Broadband hasn’t come, farming is on its knees. In rural towns and villages there are far too many vacant businesses and vacant houses. We haven’t seen the balanced regional development Fine Gael have promised,” she added.
She also argued that there are ‘considerable ideological differences’ between the two parties.
“We intend to invest in public services whereas Fine Gael intend to provide tax cuts. We want to ease the burden people are feeling in health, in housing. Fine Gael’s tax breaks will not help the people who need it most. People are struggling to pay the bills even though the economy is doing well. We cannot be cutting taxes when public services like health are in crisis,” she said.