Full house as Athleague hosts Naughten campaign launch

In News by Denis Naughten

17Denis Naughten’s election campaign was given a major boost on Friday night last when large crowds packed the Bridge House in Athleague for the launch of his campaign by Michael Ring TD.

Denis Naughten thanked those who attended the launch “from the four corners of the constituency”.

“We picked Athleague for this event because it sends out a message,” stated Denis Naughten. “Just over a year ago in this village I stood in Main Street up to the top of my wellies in water when the village was flooded. The people here rallied together, refurbished the village, dusted themselves off and got back to business. That’s what we have to do for this country now. We need to give hope and a future to this country. We need to show people that there is a future in this country for everyone.”

He outlined three key areas which need to be focused on including the Fine Gael jobs strategy which will create 100,000 new jobs, the plan for reform of the political system and the reform of the health service including the abolition of the HSE “which is trying to close our local hospital services”.

“We will replace it with local managers in Roscommon and Portiuncula who make decisions in consultation with staff, the community and patients themselves to ensure services are not only maintained but also enhanced,” stated Denis Naughten. “We have given a written commitment to retain services at Roscommon and to see services developed and enhanced to deliver for this county and the surrounding communities. We will take Roscommon Hospital off the political agenda once and for all.”

He also spoke of the number of young people emigrating and the need to “stop the haemorrhage of people from this country” highlighting that the number of people expected to emigrate this year is equal to the population of County Roscommon.

He also highlighted the need to support agriculture which he said can “provide a future not only to people working the land but also to the people working in the food industry” adding “we have one of the finest food industries in the world in this country”.

He concluded: “We have a golden opportunity to show people what we mean and we mean business.”

Michael Ring, Fine Gael Spokesperson on Social Protection, told the crowd: “There is not a finer TD in the Dáil than Denis Naughten. Today we have bad times and we need people like Denis Naughten to fight your cause and fight the cause of the people of this country.”

Referring to the party leaders’ debates Michael Ring stated: “The people of the country will debate with Fianna Fail on 25th February – they have been waiting the last three-and-a-half years. So many of them are jumping ship, they know they have destroyed the country, I’m only sorry people didn’t get the opportunity to deal with some of them. Fine Gael has the policies, Fine Gael has the team and we will show what we are going to do in Government.”

He warned: “We had two independents in the Dáil who propped up this Government, they are the people who kept the Government in. Independents don’t do anything for you. We have waited to be back in Government and we are going to put Ireland first.”

Also speaking on the night sitting TD Frank Feighan spoke of his close working relationship with Denis Naughten.

He praised Denis Naughten’s work on Roscommon County Hospital stating: “Denis has made all the running and he has come up with ideas to ensure the future of Roscommon Hospital. With us, James Reilly and Enda Kenny the future of Roscommon Hospital will be secure because we are telling the truth. If you want to keep the hospital vote Denis Naughten number one because he will ensure the hospital will be delivered.”

Cllr. Domnick Connolly reminded those present that it was 14 years to the day since Denis Naughten was first elected to Seanad Eireann and despite his experience he remains one of the youngest candidates in the field. He added: “This is one of the most eagerly awaited elections I have ever seen.”

21Referring to the large turnout for Denis Naughten’s campaign launch, Cllr. Laurence Fallon said: “I am impressed by the numbers I see, it is a sign there’s a mood for change, that people want to make a change and you are manifesting change by coming out in such large numbers.”

He also reminded those present that the new leader of Fianna Fail, Micheál Martin, is the former Minister for Health who introduced the HSE. “He is the man who introduced the HSE and who would prefer to put you in an ambulance and take you to Galway rather than let you into Roscommon Hospital,” stated Cllr. Fallon.

He also warned that nothing should be taken for granted in this election and that “two seats out of three is a big challenge”.

Cllr. Fallon described Denis Naughten as “a courageous candidate, determined to get the job done and who will stand up for what is right, he always does the job 110%”. He added: “It has been my pleasure to work with him at every election since he first ran for election and you won’t be disappointed when you re-elect him again.”