TWO of the front runners for Taoiseach got a vote from Waterford TDs. David Cullinane (SF) and Mary Butler (FF) voted for their party leaders. The new Green Party deputy Marc Ó Cathasaigh voted for his party leader, Eamon Ryan.
The other new Waterford deputy, Matt Shanahan, didn’t vote for any of the nominated candidates but said he hoped to give his support “in the future to a progressive programme for government.”
The hospital campaigner used his maiden speech in the Dáil to highlight the lack of 24/7 cardiac services in the South East. He said that, as a mark of protest, he would not be voting for any of the four candidates nominated for Taoiseach.
“I was elected to represent the constituency of Waterford. I also represent the people of the Sout East region,” he said.
The South East and Waterford suffer significant discrimination
“I will not be supporting the nomination of a Taoiseach tonight as a protest against the fact that the South East and Waterford suffer significant discrimination in the provision of cardiac services at University Hospital Waterford.”
He said: “I will not vote in favour of a Taoiseach this evening but I hope to give support in the future to a progressive programme for Government. However, it must have equity and fairness at its heart. When people look at that programme I want them to see themselves reflected in it in terms of the challenges we face in education, housing, healthcare and homelessness. I will do all I can to work with every member of the House to achieve that.”
Ms Butler used her first speech of the 33rd Dáil to highlight housing and healthcare issues. She told TDs their task was to put in place a secure, responsible Government that can deal with all the issues.
we all deserve the same respect
“Today I stand proudly re-elected to the thirty-third Dáil with a mandate I received in Waterford,” she said. “My mandate is as important as anyone else’s and must be respected the same as everybody else’s. Some 160 people were elected to this Dáil a few weeks ago, and we all deserve the same respect.
“The main job at hand is to put in place a secure, responsible Government that can deal with all the issues, but which can also deliver on those issues within the fiscal space available to us. “
She explained her support for the Fianna Fáil leader: “I support the nomination of Deputy Micheál Martin for Taoiseach. He is a man of integrity, commitment, experience, grit and determination, with a proven track record who can and will deliver if given the opportunity.”
Mr Ó Cathasaigh has still to make his maiden speech.