Constant pressure on the Government has delivered results for University Hospital Waterford.

Constantly questioning and pressuring Government has led to the delivery of a second Cath lab and the pressure continues to deliver an extended hours service, 7 days a week with the ultimate aim of having 24/7 cardiac care for the South East. My lobbying to Government has also ensured the delivery of a new ophthalmology suite, advancement of John’s Hill’s new community services, new neurology and diabetes resources. I am also consistently pressuring for delivery of new laboratory extension, and new two storey vertical overhead outpatients unit.

I am fighting to help small businesses remain viable through challenging times.

I was proposed by the Regional Group to be a member of the Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment and have used my role to fight for all SMEs during the cost of living crisis, and the Pandemic. I am highly cognisant of the impact of the recent pressures such as rising VAT, energy costs, PRSI, wages and the  increased cost of doing business. I initiated and led the Regional Group in introducing a Private Member’s Motion calling for the Government to reduce the VAT rate for the hospitality sector and to also introduce another range of supports for small businesses. The motion was voted down but the Government has agreed to engage with the Regional Group to discuss additional sector supports.

I have been the loudest voice in support of Waterford Airport

I was the first to raise the issue of tendering for the Rescue 117 Search and Rescue service, which attempted to remove the service entirely from Waterford. I brought two delegations of regional independents to Waterford to lobby for Government support. This forced Government Minister Hildegarde Naughty to visit the Airport and categorically announce continuing permanent mandate for a 24/7 search and rescue helicopter service in Waterford. I have persistently questioned all three Government leaders about capital funding, which is needed to facilitate an extended runway at the airport.

I remain the only South East Oireachtas member who publicly refused to support SETU and the end of a standalone University for Waterford because of funding concerns

I remain Waterford’s only Oireachtas member who refused to sign a public support document to South East Technological University (SETU) because of the absence of a guarantee of adequate capital funding.  Governance and funding structures which were promises are still not in evidence three years later – this is exactly what I feared, and knew would happen. I have spoken multiple times in the house and in committee to the lack of support from government to SETU. I continue to work stridently with executive leadership and private investment sector to deliver capital investment for SETU.

I am Waterford’s most ardent supporter of the Agriculture sector

I persistently raised and challenged in Leinster House the objections to build new Cheese plant Belview Waterford which is to open in coming months. I have been successful in seeking new additional EPA monitoring of Rendering facilities at Christendom Waterford and have been to the fore in promoting multi-seed pastureland in an effort to reduce synthetic fertiliser requirement. I have continuously raised the issues of private forestry, supports and the continuing failure to meet our afforestation targets in an effort to sequester carbon. I have been to the fore in questioning carbon calculation in Irish farming and I continue to query what derogation is offered by EU to Ireland for the unique carbon sink that our Farmers have nurtured in hedgerows and rewilding. I continue to lobby for horticultural and organic supports and recognition for the unique value and high natural components in Irish farm production.

I continue to strongly lobby for strategic infrastructure and regional development.

I have consistently raised the lack of road spending N24/ N25 and the requirement for a new bridge crossing Waterford city. I pressure Government to recognise the capabilities of Waterford Port as a sustainable partner to wind and solar generation and the viability of a future take off grid at Bellevue from future adjacent offshore  Wind development. I remain actively involved with Waterford and Dungarvan Chambers of Commerce and Waterford LEO and LEADER programmes. I actively engage with industry leads in IBEC, ISME and CIF in an effort to support pro-business and infrastructure policy and initiatives. I am also heavily engaged with private sector development to assist with Housing and Tourism related infrastructure. I welcome the acknowledgement by Minister O’Brien for recognising my work in securing the final funding to deliver the new Waterford Wake museum which was recently highlighted in the New York times travel awards.

The value of an Independent Voice for Waterford

Since the foundation of the State, Waterford has only ever had one Minister. This may go some way to explain why we have been left so far behind compared to other major cities and regions. If Waterford is to get its fair share from the Government table its Oireachtas members need to work together but we also need to stand up for what is right and what is wrong.

Waterford is not getting its fair share and the data to support this is there for all to see.

If Waterford does not have an Independent voice raising inequalities in sectors such as health, education, foreign direct investment and capital support, then those inequalities will go unheard and unchanged. The history of party politics for Waterford has not served our city and county well. The past four years have demonstrated the value of a strong independent voice for Waterford city and county.

My mission and ambition for Waterford continues and has not wavered. I want to see our city, towns and county re-establish its prosperous heritage and political relevance delivering the highest levels of quality living to its people to rival any place in the world.

One of my most important achievements to date — not alone, am I a committed political representative for Waterford citizens but I also understand that my duty is to try to implement proactive policy legislation. I consider policy on a case-by-case basis, and I have supported, but I believe to be progressive policy within government programme. But most importantly I have successfully brought a Private Members Bill into committee stage which is due for further scrutiny in coming weeks. This Private Members Bill is passed will provide for the first time a dashboard that records, all annual capital developments nationally with a value exceeding €500,000….. if successful this will, for the first time, provide an exact account of annual regional capital expenditure by sector, location and development stage. It will allow for the first time for people to see where government is allocating capital resources and it will show people for the first time exactly how their money is being spent.

Without an Independent voice, the historic precedent of Party over People will prevail. Waterford deserves more and I will never stop fighting to ensure that we get it.