Candidate Questions

The declared candidates for Carlow-Kilkenny answer our key election questions

Declared candidates are ordered alphabetically by surname

Kilkenny People Reporter

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Kilkenny People Reporter

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General Election 2020

Polling Day - Saturday, February 8, 2020

Bobby Aylward (Fianna Fáil):

Q: What do you think will be the main issues coming up on the doorsteps in Carlow/Kilkenny now that the election campaign is under way?

A: Better broadband services for homes, farms and small businesses; Housing; Improved transport services; Reduction in motor and business insurance costs; Better pay, personnel numbers and work conditions for our health service workers. Enhanced GP Services in rural areas. 24/7 Cardiac Care for the South East.

Q: What should be the key local priorities for the Carlow/Kilkenny constituency in the next Dail?

A: Fast tracking the National Broadband Plan; 24/7 Cardiac Care for the South East; Rural transport service; More affordable & social housing More regional development and job creation in rural areas

Q: Why should people vote for you?

A: I have a proven track record of representation on both local and national issues. Member of Kilkenny County Council from 1992. Re-elected in 1999 and 2004. Elected to Dáil Éireann in 2007, 2015 and 2016. No issue, concern or query is too big or too small. They are all important and I am readily available to advise, assist and support. The people within the rural and urban communities of this constituency need a representative who is willing to engage, listen and be a strong voice on their behalf in Dáil Éireann.

Q: If you had the power to make one big thing happen, locally or nationally, what would it be?

A: Enhanced primary care and GP services to meet the current demand. A hospital bed for anyone who does need it and then the step down services and homecare packages available to those who require these services when discharged from hospital.

Q: Who will top the poll in the Carlow/Kilkenny constituency?

A: John McGuinness has topped the poll two out of the last three general elections.

Kathleen Funchion (Sinn Féin):

Q: What do you think will be the main issues coming up on the doorsteps in Carlow/Kilkenny now that the election campaign is under way?

A: Ironically the same issues but just a lot worse will be the priorities in the upcoming election. Health and I include mental health services and services for disability and additional needs in this. Housing has gone beyond crisis and it’s not just for those waiting on social housing. There are serious issues around affordability and trying to obtain a mortgage.

Q: What should be the key local priorities for the Carlow/Kilkenny constituency in the next Dail?

A: The national issues are the local issues, housing, health, services for people with additional needs or disabilities. Our clinic is inundated with people struggling to access housing, health and disability services. 

Q: Why should people vote for you?

A: We need Sinn Féin representation, we have already seen the negative impact of not having SF at local level, property tax was increased straight away by the maximum amount possible. I have a good track record and have always stood up for people. The issues above will be far worse if we have four more years of FF/FG. We badly need a total change in government.

Q: If you had the power to make one big thing happen, locally or nationally, what would it be?

A: Housing, all aspects of this including rental and affordable housing. Mental health services to actually be accessible for all when needed and not a rush through job that we sometimes see. Finally an autism strategy is needed and is something the Dáil unanimously supported when I brought it forward last year.

Q: Who will top the poll in the Carlow/Kilkenny constituency?

A: I honestly think these questions are a nonsense but I would love to see five left wing TDs elected here.

Denis Hynes (The Labour Party):

Q: What do you think will be the main issues coming up on the doorsteps in Carlow/Kilkenny now that the election campaign is under way?

A: The crisis in health and record waiting lists; the lack of social and affordable housing, and the huge waste of public money under FG and FF over the last four years.

Q: What should be the key local priorities for the Carlow/Kilkenny constituency in the next Dail?

A: The need for more step-down care to take the pressure of St Luke’s, end the waiting lists for home help and lift the recruitment embargo. I also think better pay and greater job security is a huge issue. Too many people are underpaid, and wages aren’t keeping up with the cost of living. Labour will raise the minimum wage to be a real living wage of €12.30 and freeze the State Pension age at 66.

Q:Why should people vote for you?

A: I am a new candidate, and I have the experience to deliver real solutions for the people of our constituency and break the monopoly of FG and FF. We can ensure no child is left behind and Labour will make primary education genuinely free-of-charge through schoolbooks and healthy school meals.

Q: If you had the power to make one big thing happen, locally or nationally, what would it be?

A: That the State builds thousands more homes. Labour wants to build 80,000 homes over five years on publicly owned land so that everyone, from all walks of life, will be able to rent or buy them affordably. The private market has failed to provide affordable housing. Labour will get the state building again and end our homeless crisis. I would introduce the living wage of €12.30 per hour as the new minimum wage.

Q: Who will top the poll in the Carlow/Kilkenny constituency?

A: John McGuinness FF

John McGuinness (Fianna Fáil):

Q: What do you think will be the main issues coming up on the doorsteps in Carlow/Kilkenny now that the election campaign is under way?

A: Housing, health system, small business supports, farming and climate change.

Q: What should be the key local priorities for the Carlow/Kilkenny constituency in the next Dail?

A: Economic Development for Carlow/Kilkenny and the Southeast and university status.

Q: Why should people vote for you?

A: I want to be there to continue the fight for a better, fairer Ireland, an Ireland managed by professionals using best contemporary practices and systems to deliver safety and good living and public service standards to all our people. I want to be there to use my experience to help make our country a better place for all of us.

Q: If you had the power to make one big thing happen, locally or nationally, what would it be?

A: Sound management of expenditure is the key to lower taxes, better services for everyone and value for money for the taxpayer. In the Dáil and as chairman of the Public Accounts Accounts and Finance Committees, I have defended whistle-blowers, confronted bankers, challenged vulture funds and raised the need for transparency, accountability and good governance time and time again. It’s simple: if what we earn is wasted, we will never have what we need. That is what this election should be about. This isn’t just an Irish problem, over the years weak political leaders have avoided addressing the causes and cost of incompetence. They cannot avoid doing that now. Ireland needs a new, no nonsense, Dáil with the courage and backbone to take the country to a better, safer place.

Q: Who will top the poll in the constituency?

A: It’s down to the people on the 8th February. Good luck to all.

Jennifer Murnane O’Connor (Fianna Fáil):

Q: What do you think will be the main issues coming up on the doorsteps in Carlow/Kilkenny now that the election campaign is under way?

A: Health: Record numbers of patients on trolleys. Step down facilities for patients. Difficulties getting proper home care packages. Lack of mental health services and supports. Housing: Record numbers on our housing lists. Local Authorities not building social and affordable houses. Need for a women’s refuge. Climate Action: Carbon Taxes are not achieving any goals. They simply punish the elderly and low paid.

Q: Why should people vote for you?

A: I have been working hard for the people of County Carlow since 1999 and particularly since my election to the Seanad in 2016. I’m not like other politicians, with me there are no pretences, if someone comes to me it’s because my door is always open. Your issues are my issues.

Q: If you had the power to make one big thing happen, locally or nationally, what would it be?

A: Give a voice to those who feel they are never heard and make strong representation and not afraid to make hard decisions.

Q: What should be the key local priorities for the Carlow/Kilkenny constituency in the next Dail?

A: Build More affordable housing, Jobs and Investment good quality local jobs, better value for our health spend locally including a fit for purpose facility for Holy Angels and overnight respite in our constituency. University status for our regional third level institutions. Safer Communities, Safer Streets Prioritising our Town Centres Climate action fair and just prices in return for high quality produce.

Q: Who will top the poll in the Carlow/Kilkenny constituency?

A:That’s up to the good people of Carlow and Kilkenny. Wouldn’t it be just great to be that candidate though?!

Malcolm Noonan (Green Party):

Q: What do you think will be the main issues coming up on the doorsteps in Carlow/Kilkenny now that the election campaign is under way?

A: Climate change and protection of our environment, home help hours and respite care, the health services including mental health services, hospice and palliative care, housing and homelessness, education including third level education, youth employment, animal welfare, affordable quality childcare and rural transport.

Q: What should be the key local priorities for the Carlow/Kilkenny constituency in the next Dail?

A: Transitioning Carlow and Kilkenny towards a zero carbon future, achieving a good mix of housing to meet all needs, sustaining our urban centres, supporting the arts and developing an arts college, addressing poverty, inequality and integration of migrants.

Q: Why should people vote for you?

A: I want people to vote for me to put in place a TD who gets the urgency of addressing the climate and biodiversity crisis but also because I bring with me over 30 years of campaigning and political experience to address wider societal challenges of equality and social justice.

Q: If you had the power to make one big thing happen, locally or nationally, what would it be?

A: The establishment of a National Traditional Building and Craft Skills Centre in Kilkenny, Nationally: to build consensus on using human wellbeing as indicators of progress and to replace GDP and GNP for Ireland based on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Q: Who will top the poll in the Carlow/Kilkenny constituency?

A: I don’t care as long as all will work to ensure that Carlow and Kilkenny prosper in a sustainable way and on a safe planet.

Patrick O’Neill (Fine Gael):

Q: What do you think will be the main issues coming up on the doorsteps in Carlow/Kilkennynow that the election campaign is under way?

A: The regular issues of the economy, health, housing and the environment are sure to be to the fore. In rural areas the issues around beef farming and broadband connectivity will be key.

Q: What should be the key local priorities for the Carlow/Kilkenny constituency in the next Dail?

A: The delivery of housing. Ensuring investment into the constituency to stimulate job creation and opportunity. The development of Kilkenny City and the completion of the ring road. To finally deliver the University of the South East. Completion of MRI Scanner in St Luke’s.

Q: Why should people vote for you?

A: I am a new candidate with the hunger and determination to succeed on behalf of our constituency. As a former Mayor I know the needs of our city. Coming from a farm I understand the needs of our rural communities. I have a Fiancé who is self employed and know the struggles that they face. I am currently trying to take my first step on the property ladder and know first hand the difficulties that young couples and families face trying to put a roof over their heads. I want to be given the chance to shape our country’s future for all members of our society. I got involved in politics in 2014 because I wanted to make a difference and now I feel is the time for me to do so.

Q: If you had the power to make one big thing happen, locally or nationally, what would it be?

A: To ensure that no child was homeless or living in emergency accommodation in this country.

Q: Who will top the poll in the Carlow/Kilkenny constituency?

A: Not for me to say. That will be a decision for the people of Carlow/Kilkenny.

John Paul Phelan (Fine Gael):

Q: What do you think will be the main issues coming up on the doorsteps in Carlow/Kilkenny now that the election campaign is under way?

A: Investment in infrastructure will be key – greater funding for healthcare, for the 75-bed extension to our hospital, the new MRI, investment in schools; getting the Technological University of the South East over the line; providing more supports for communities, businesses and home owners who want to combat climate change; the completion of the ring road; investment in the rural broadband scheme

Q: What should be the key local priorities for the Carlow/Kilkenny constituency in the next Dáil?

A: More public as well as private housing delivered across Kilkenny. We need more tourism and recreation investment, as well as the completion of the new Greenway. The roll-out of free GP care for under 12s and the broadening of the Medical Card system to include provision for citizens over 70 years of age. We also want to continue to help households and businesses to help combat climate change

Q:Why should people vote for you?

A: I’m privileged to have been a public representative for the people of this area since I started out as a councillor. I have the drive, the passion, the skills, the connections and the track record to be a strong voice. I’ve helped secure the new A&E at St Luke’s and want to get the extension and MRI over the line. Want to get the new schools delivered. We’ve seen massive investment at Ferrybank. The Village Renewal Schemes have given communities a major lift.

Q: If you had the power to make one big thing happen, locally or nationally, what would it be?

A: The Technological University of the South East

Q: Who will top the poll in Carlow/Kilkenny?

A: John McGuinness