County Councillor for the Birr Electoral Area, John Clendennen, officially launched his Local Election Campaign last week at Giltraps Pub Kinnitty.
The Kinnitty based Councillor recognised the sharp contrast in campaigning five years ago in comparison to this campaign, acknowledging that the buoyancy in the economy and reduction in unemployment as key factors, whilst stating that there are still challenges. He highlighted the need to influence National Government but that this election is about what Local Councillors can do to improve the local area.
Cllr. Clendennen informed those gathered of his key priorities if re-elected to Offaly County Council, which amongst others include Local Health Services, Climate Change, Tourism Development and Road Improvements.
He believes that it is vital that we retain the highest standards of safe and accessible local healthcare services, across all our towns and villages, through health centres and community care such as Home Help services provision, identifying that Medical Cards must remain easily accessible for those who apply and qualify through the new online system www.medicalcard.ie. ‘It’s beyond belief that candidates, sitting Councillors and parties that rejected a €7 Million investment in Birr Primary Care Centre and Sporting Facilities that local GP’s were crying out for, would campaign for a MIDOC Service that the local GP’s have flatly rejected due to increased Clinical Risk’, according to Clendennen. We need best practice healthcare and that is a network of Primary Care Centre in locations such as Birr & Banagher serving South & West Offaly. I’ve been working with all stakeholders in recent months to advance the concept of Birr Primary Care Centre once again and if I am successfully re-elected to Offaly County Council I will make it a top priority’, emphasised Clendennen.
In relation to Climate Change, Clendennen highlighted the need for action to curb the imminent threat and preserve the planet for future generations, recognising that it will initially see job losses at Bord Na Mona as renewable energy comes into sharp focus. ‘I am fully supportive and will work with Bord Na Mona and associated stakeholders to ensure the company continues to be an integral part of life in Offaly’ stated Clendennen.
Continuing to highlight several objectives that must be achieved; working in conjunction with the national transition group which has been established to deliver key economic drivers for the region, whilst also seeking National Park status for Lough Boora and beyond, establish Offaly as a Centre of Renewable Energy Research and Generation, and explore the feasibility of a National Outdoor Events Centre in Offaly following the success of Tullamore Show and National Ploughing Championships.
Cllr. Clendennen recognised the great strides and multi-million euro investment made in Tourism Development in recent years with the establishment of a Tourism Committee for the county and the development of Slieve Bloom Bike Trails and Greenways, along with recent success at key attractions such as Birr Castle and Lough Boora. ‘I predict that Tourism will be a cornerstone of Offaly’s future success and economic growth, countywide greenway development must be prioritised, endeavouring to connect all of our towns and villages to create economic opportunity, whilst collaborating with respective state agencies to promote Offaly as a recreational tourism destination with national and international appeal’, affirmed Clendennen.
Other areas that Clendennen recognises as key for the county include the continued increased investment in Roads standing at €14 Million this year alone, support for the Agricultural sector, Rural Crime Prevention, Consistent & Sufficient Internet Speeds and vacant premises in Towns & Villages converted to Housing. Clendennen concluded his address by showing his appreciation for all in attendance and commented that the previous 5 years serving on Offaly County Council, following in the footsteps of his father Percy, have been rewarding and he looks forward to working for Offaly if successfully re-elected and asked for the number one vote in the Local Elections on Friday May 24th.