• Meath South

Gilmore gets a grilling from Dunboyne students

Wednesday, 16th February, 2011 4:50pm

Story by Noelle Finnegan
Jump to comments
Gilmore gets a grilling from Dunboyne students

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore meets students in St Peterís College, Dunboyne.

Gilmore gets a grilling from Dunboyne students

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore meets students in St Peterís College, Dunboyne.

Labour hit the campaign trail in Meath last Wednesday afternoon, this time hoping to capture the imagination of younger voters when party leader Eamon Gilmore visited St Peterís College in Dunboyne.

With their campaign team in tow, Eamon Gilmore and Meath East candidate Dominic Hannigan arrived at the school, followed by a large posse of journalists and camera crews who all wanted to talk about the 'big debateí the previous night.

How did he think the debate went? Would he more aggressive next time? Had he been overcoached? The questions were coming thick and fast.

ďNobody is going to go into a polling station in 16 daysí time, bite on a pencil and wonder to themselves whose debating tactics are best,Ē responded Gilmore. Whether he was overcoached was a matter of opinion but the only verdict he was interested in was on polling day.

From here it was into the school library for Gilmore and Hannigan to be grilled by members of the studentsí council. First up, a student asked how Labour was going to create all the jobs it was talking about?

In the short term, Gilmore said they needed to get people back to work, and would be setting up a jobs fund and providing incentives to employers to take on staff by giving them a holiday from PRSI contributions.

They would get construction workers back at work building schools and in energy conservation and, in the long-term, they would be looking at the food industry, alternative energy and tourism, and expanding international trade, he claimed.

Other questions centred on Labourís waste and landfill policy, their position on the place of Irish in the education system, public transport and developers avoiding liability by transferring assets to their spouses. But it came back to jobs; just how was Labour going to find the Ä500m for their jobs fund? Gilmore went on to outline their budgetary proposals.

Then it was the IMF deal. One student pointed out that Jean-Claude Trichet (of the ECB) had said in no uncertain terms that it could not happen, and wanted to know why Gilmore was telling everyone they were going to change the interest rates Ireland pays. ďAnd what makes you think yourself and Joan Burton can can do better than Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan did?Ē he asked.

Deputy Gilmore said the deal would have to be renegotiated or it would cripple the country, adding that it makes the Irish taxpayer totally responsible for all the burden while the bondholders get off.

School principal Eamonn Gaffney wanted to know about Post Leaving Certificate courses and if Labour would lift the cap on the numbers. He said they have 400 students on PLC courses in St Peterís and were funding 150 of these themselves. Meathís limit was just two places per thousand while other areas had approved numbers of 17-18 per thousand.

Deputy Gilmore said he would lift the cap and that further education was an area that could get people off the dole and back to work. He spoke of their plans for better integration betwteen the social welfare system and the education and training system.

Senator Hannigan said the issue of PLC numbers was something he had brought up in the Senate and with the Department of Education and that if elected he would make sure the next minister is aware of the situation.

As Gilmoreís handlers wrapped things up, student Sinead Cornyn wanted to know what advice he had for young people thinking of entering politics? Gilmore told how there was no better privilege than being elected and spoke of the huge tranfer of authority and responsibility that occurs when somebody makes their decision in a polling station.

Padraig Gallagher wanted to know why Gilmore would go into government with a man who is afraid to take part in the debate with Vincent Browne. ďEnda would have to answer for himself,Ē replied Gilmore.

Asked about Labourís chances of winning a seat in the Meath constituencies, Deputy Gilmore said he was very confident that Senator Hannigan would be elected in Meath East and Jenny McHugh in Meath West and that they were both very strong candidates.

Senator Hannigan said he was really enjoying the campaign, and found it the most engaging campaign he had been involved in with people asking lots of questions and really giving the candidates a grilling on the doorsteps. He said people want change and he hoped these people would come Labourís way, he added.

After a quick stop for lunch in Dunshaughlin, Gilmore joined Meath West Labour candidate Jenny McHugh at Eason in Navan where he read a story to local schoolchildren and spoke about Labourís literacy policy.

This was followed by a walkabout in Navan Town Centre.

€50 for 6 months (24 editions) of the Meath Chronicles. Ideal gift for those who have everything. Subscribe for free here.

Post a Comment

Group Publications

Cookies on Meath Chronicle website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Meath Chronicle website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
How does Meath Chronicle use cookies?
Cookies enable us to identify your device, or you when you have logged in. We use cookies that are strictly necessary to enable you to move around the site or to provide certain basic features. We use cookies to enhance the functionality of the website by storing your preferences, for example. We also use cookies to help us to improve the performance of our website to provide you with a better user experience.
We donít sell the information collected by cookies, nor do we disclose the information to third parties, except where required by law (for example to government bodies and law enforcement agencies).
Hide Message