Independent Media Centre Ireland

Socialist Party stand candidate in Letterkenny

category donegal | elections / politics | press release author Saturday May 29, 2004 01:55author by Mark O'Connell - Socialist Partyauthor email socialistparty at eircom dot netauthor phone 0749120908

In whose interests is Letterkenny run? Wealthy developers and property speculators with the right political connections or the people who live and work in the town?

Francis McCafferty has been nominated by the Socialist Party to be their candidate for Letterkenny Town Council in the coming local elections.

Originally from Oldtown, he has witnessed the massive changes to the town over the years. Having worked for a period in England and returned 5 years ago, he also understands the perspective of the many who have settled in Letterkenny in recent years. He now lives in Glencar Park. He has been active in politics throughout his life on a wide range of issues. Recently he has been one of the local residents who campaigned against the building of apartment blocks in Glencar, an experience which has convinced him that planning and development are not being carried in the best interests of the people of Letterkenny.

“Letterkenny is growing fast and development is a good thing when it benefits the people of the town”, he said, “But too many developments have been carried out which suit only the financial interests of the developers and builders involved, often in the teeth of total opposition from local residents. It is a scandal that the council has allowed this to happen.”

“The question needs to be asked: In whose interests is Letterkenny run? Wealthy developers and property speculators with the right political connections or the people who live and work in the town?”

“I will demand consultation with local residents for all major developments which affect their area before any approval can be given. At the moment the onus is on residents to keep up to date with planning applications and to navigate through the minefield of planning law if they wish to object. This is wrong.”

“The destruction of protected structures and historic buildings amounts to vandalism of what remains of the town’s heritage. It is a disgrace that the former Gallagher’s Hotel has been razed to the ground. Protecting something of the town’s heritage cannot be allowed to come a poor second to the wishes of property developers.”

“The Socialist Party believes that planning and development should be in the interests of all the people of Letterkenny and not the profit of the few.”

“In this election we are also highlighting the deafening silence from the other parties and candidates on the issue of service charges. There is no doubt that
Fianna Fail are planning on introducing a raft of new charges on local councils once the elections are out of the way. These back-door taxes will be dressed up as ‘service charges’, including the return of water rates.”

“Workers already pay too much tax while the super-wealthy use tax avoidance schemes to pay little or nothing. There is no equity or fairness in the taxation system and that is why we are committed to opposing all ‘service charges’ on local councils.”

“We are challenging the other parties to come clean about their intentions on these charges and to tell the people of Letterkenny during this election which charges they support.”

“Housing is another important issue we will highlight. House prices have been pushed through the roof by the failure of the supply of affordable housing and the inadequate local authority housing programme to meet demand. Many people are being pushed into getting private rented accommodation as a result. We believe that current housing policy need to be changed from one which is currently dictated by property developers to one which is dictated by the need for affordable housing, particularly for first-time buyers and those who need local authority housing.”

“The lack of regulation of privately rented accommodation also needs to be addressed as it has been shown that very few private landlords are complying with the obligation to register with the council.”

Indymedia Ireland is a media collective. We are independent volunteer citizen journalists producing and distributing the authentic voices of the people. Indymedia Ireland is an open news project where anyone can post their own news, comment, videos or photos about Ireland or related matters.