The northside of Cork City has been neglected by its recent political representatives with one Government TD not even bothering to show up for work, said Labour’s general election candidate for Cork North Central.
City councillor John Maher said: “For the last four years, the northside has been left down. One guy didn’t show up for work but got paid for another job, another went to Europe elected, and another two just make noise.
“Enough is enough.”
Mr Maher is hoping to gain a seat in the north Cork a constituency which has seen a lot of recent change after Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher left for the European Parliament and Fine Gael’s Dara Murphy resigned to work with the European Commission — and whose Dáil attendance record and expenses have come under heavy scrutiny.
If elected, Mr Maher said that housing and providing infrastructure on the city’s northside will be his priorities.
“We have to solve the housing crisis,” he said. “My friends are living with their mams and dads. These are working people and they can’t afford to buy a house.
“We all know the solution — build more social and affordable houses — but it’s not being done.”
Mr Maher said that crime is another problem that needs to be tackled by deploying more gardaí to Cork’s streets and he is calling on Garda commissioner Drew Harris to come to Cork “to see how bad things are” on the ground.
“The people of North Central are sick of noise,” he said. “They know it achieves nothing. They want a progressive candidate who is like them, who works with them, volunteers with them, will go for a pint with them.
“We’re knocking on doors, asking people to vote for us, to trust us. People are listening to us and they like what we’re offering.”
Mr Maher is one of 16 candidates contesting the four-seat constituency.
But his party leader, Brendan Howlin, who was out canvassing with him in Cork, said that he is confident that Mr Maher can win one of those seats.
Mr Howlin said: “We’re very confident of John taking this seat in Cork North Central.
It’s a seat with a long, long Labour tradition — Kathleen Lynch has a distinguished record of service, Jerry O’Sullivan was much loved, and we’ve had fantastic Labour councillors and lord mayors from the northside of Cork. That heritage is important.
“[Mr Maher] our new candidate did terrifically well in the local election and by-election.
"From the result of that by-election we think he’s reasonably set; we must just garner that vote and supplement it, and I think we’ll do that,” said Mr Howlin.
Former Labour TD for Cork North Central, Ms Lynch, who was also on the canvass, said that the constituency has a strong Labour heritage.
“That residue of affection and loyalty still exists here, it buoys you up,” she said.