THE first Fine Gael Tipperary Constituency AGM in modern times took place in the Anner Hotel, Thurles, where a large crowd turned out to show their support and elect an officer board for the proposed new constituency.
Due to boundary changes and a Fine Gael pledge to reduce the number of TDs, the constituencies of North and South Tipperary will be amalgamated into one five-seater constituency.
Local Fine Gael TDs Noel Coonan and Tom Hayes addressed the meeting. Sean Kelly, MEP, chaired the meeting alongside Maurice Fitzgerald from Cappawhite who represented the national executive.
Speaking to the packed ballroom after Fine Gael members had voted for the new officers for Tipperary, Deputy Coonan said there will be “unity of purpose in the new constituency.”
“Tonight, we elected a good distribution of officers between North and South constituencies,” said Deputy Coonan “and now we must focus on winning two Fine Gael seats in the next general election. We will also concentrate on the local and European lections in June 2014. I want to warmly thank everyone who came here tonight to show their support and who have held their nerve as we clean up the financial mess left behind by the previous Government. We will miss our friends in the Lower Ormond – Borrisokane area and will be sad to see them leave once the boundary change is enacted.”
The local TD highlighted two issues of major concern for him including CAP reform and difficulties facing Gardaí and Emergency Frontline Services.
“These are two issues of importance to me and matters that I raise on a weekly basis in Leinster House. The productive farmer must be recognised and rewarded and we are pushing for the best reform deal possible. Meanwhile, we must show empathy for Gardaí and Frontline Services and acknowledge the difficult situation they are working in,” he said.
Deputy Hayes said: “We came into power at the most difficult time to take over the running of the country but the policies we are implementing is the right thing to do for the generations to come. An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, has given us a commitment that he will look at the difficult mortgage situation and he wants to help families who are in a difficult financial situation by introducing a loan scheme for students.”
Michael Harty from Toomevara was elected chairperson of the new constituency. “It is a great honour to be nominated for the position of chairman. I have been heavily involved in Fine Gael since 2002 and our hard work was rewarded in 2007 and again in 2011 when Noel Coonan was elected,” said Michael. “As chairman, I will represent the interests of the whole county.”
Officers electe: Michael Harty, chairperson; Colm Taylor, vice-chair; Lucy McCormack, secretary; Mary Eakins, assistant secretary; Tim Bourke / Margaret Hogan, secretaries; Una Ryan, membership officer; PJ O’Meara, policy officer; Alice Burke, equality officer; Liam Brereton / Michael Long, delegates to agricultural council; Declan Burgess, youth officer.
The Constituency Commission Report 2012, published last June, stated the constituencies should adjoin one another taking account of geographical considerations and population densities. It recommended: “The county of Offaly with some population from north west Tipperary should form a 3-seat constituency. The rest of the county of Tipperary should form a 5-seat constituency.”