Rita McInerney launched her General Election campaign in Kilrush on Friday night as she begins her attempt to become the first Clare female TD since Síle de Valera.
Over seventy five people from a mix of political backgrounds and villages gathered at the constituency office of McInerney which opened in January of this year. Indeed, more people packed into the office for the campaign launch than which have visited it in recent months.
A framed picture commemorating Clare’s Munster senior football success of 1992 hung proudly on the walls of the office which was fitting as current Banner boss Colm Collins was on hand to launch the campaign with several ex county players present in the crowd to show their support for the Doonbeg candidate.
As the clock passed 8pm, space and air inside the office was a rare commodity so Rita ushered the crowd outside onto the street where the proceedings commenced. Stressing the benefit of the office bringing a Fianna Fáil presence to Kilrush, the ex CEO of Ennis Chamber outlined that all work associated with opening the facility such as graphics, fitting and painting were completed by local tradesmen.
Her launch comes five weeks off the back of the local elections where in Clare, Fianna Fáil elected twelve of their thirteen candidates. “The local elections were brilliant. It shows the support for Fianna Fáil in North and West Clare, that is great platform and base of support to build from”.
Moneypoint was “a huge concern” for the area, Rita told the crowd. “I like to look for solutions in problems, we know what we have to do for the environment but jobs are still there for our community”. The N68 and recent speed limit alterations were also discussed with a petition available to sign at the launch, “For people looking to live or invest in North/West Clare you need to have access to it and some people now feel cut off”.
Owner of The Wild Atlantic Break Cafe in Doonbeg, she noted “there are opportunities for further development” in the parish and spoke of the need for measures to ensure the area’s largest employer, Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland maintains it’s high employment all year-round. “I am working to have a meeting with Clare’s five Oireachtas members on these issues in the next couple of months”.
Newly elected MEP, Billy Kelleher urged those in attendance to support Rita when it comes to polling day but also by canvassing. “Public representation needs commitment and people, the only way you can advocate for West Clare is by having representatives, that’s where Rita comes in, she is a flag carrier”.
“West Clare is a very strong Fianna Fáil area and Clare has given great service to Fianna Fáil”. The former party spokesperson for Health reiterated the concern of people he met on the recent European election campaign that “rural Ireland is being downgraded”.
Colm Collins also issued a plea for the support of the launch to fester through to the parishes of North and West Clare. “It is fantastic to have a candidate of quality in this area. The important thing from this evening is whatever your circle of influence you have that this support turns into votes”.