Sheehan calls for University in Wexford

Michael Sheehan, Chairman of Wexford County Council and Fianna Fáil general election
candidate, calls for an end to the charade of Waterford and Carlow Institutes of Technology
attempting to merge to form Technical University of the Southeast (TUSE). “Talks of a
merge have been going on for nearly a decade now. Virtually all we have is the brand name
TUSE and nothing to show for it. It’s time for action now or to seek alternatives. Wexford
needs a substantial third level campus in the county.” Waterford IT and IT Carlow initiated
the TUSE project in 2011, produced a submission to government in 2012 and conducted a
consultation exercise with stakeholders in 2014, publishing their vision in 2015. When the
Technological Universities Bill came into law in March 2018, other regions immediately took
advantage1. “After nine years, we still do not appear to be much closer to a substantial TU
campus in Wexford. This slow progress is hurting all of Wexford. In the meantime, TU
Dublin commenced operation last year and here at home Georgia Southern established a
campus in Wexford, over a far shorter timescale”.

Wexford is the largest of the eleven counties in Ireland without a substantial third level
campus, leading to just 24.5% of our county’s adult population having 3rd level education. In
the west and south west of the county it is worse, with only 22.5% with 3rd level. This is two
thirds of national average of 33%2.

Most of the other counties without such a campus are within an easy daily commute to a
choice of universities and institutes of technology. Six of those eleven counties are in
Leinster. “There’s more to Leinster than just Dublin, and with 150,000 population we need a
real and substantial campus in Wexford. While this obviously impacts young people and
their families, a substantial third level campus would make Wexford more attractive to
industry. Companies, particularly high potential start-ups and foreign direct investment

multinationals actively seek to cluster around a substantial third level campus” said
Councillor Sheehan this morning as he observed the early bus queues in New Ross.
“The consequence of years of neglect and squabbling between WIT and IT Carlow is that
Wexford is not an IDA ready county”. There were with four IDA visits to the county with
potential employers in the first nine months of 2019 and three visits in all of 2018. Many
counties received more than 20 IDA visits in the same period in 2019, with Louth hosting 32,
Sligo 24 and Clare 203. Every morning 24 buses and three trains leave the county4. “Our
young people spend more time on Wexford Bus than on Wexford streets, doomed to the
daily purgatory of commute to Dublin, Waterford or Carlow and the environmental
consequences of this travel. The alternative is the equally unacceptable expense of living
away from home, making college a far more expensive option for Co. Wexford students
compared to much of the country”. Wexford has the 4th lowest level of third level education
attainment in Ireland5.

As a first time Dáil candidate Michael, if elected, will fight on behalf of the younger
generation in Wexford for fair access to education at all levels and for an environment
where there are meaningful jobs in the county when they graduate. “As an educator, I look
at my secondary school students every day, knowing that I am educating them for export
from the county, not by choice but by necessity. This has to stop. The same won’t do.”
During Michael’s campaign he will be highlighting key policy areas that he will tackle if
elected including: creation of meaningful jobs, access to affordable housing, investment in
community health, investment in mental health resources for Wexford, urban and rural
development programmes, agriculture and the environment, and of course fair access to
education for all in Wexford.

Sheehan reveals proposals to protect local GP services

Investment required to boost primary care services in Wexford

 

Wexford Councillor Michael Sheehan has revealed proposals to protect and grow GP services in county.

Cllr Sheehan has raised grave concerns about the future of primary care services in Wexford, with many GP practices forced to further scale back services.  The Fianna Fáil candidate has said radical action is needed to protect local GPs, increase their supports and invest in the expansion of primary care in the region.

“I have spoken to a number of local GPs who are seriously concerned about the future of the essential services they provide to communities. They feel abandoned, with cuts to supports, changes to contracts, and a worrying shortage of young doctors joining the profession. Many GP practices and Primary Care Centres have been left with no option but to cut their opening times as they simply don’t have the resources to provide a full service.

“It can be hard or impossible to get onto a GP list in some areas of Wexford, and appointments can take two weeks or more. Many health issues simply cannot wait that long for attention, so patients are left with nowhere to go except to turn up at a hospital A&E.

“One case in particular struck me as deplorable. A man living in south Wexford, who is battling cancer, has a 150km roundtrip to Athy, Co Kildare to see a GP, as he can’t get into a practice in the county.

“This is an extremely dangerous situation and it’s getting worse. Scaled back primary care services puts lives at risk and pushes people onto an already overburdened hospital system.  Wexford General Hospital is already under far too much pressure and it can’t be the only available port of call for people who would be very well looked after by their GP.

“Fianna Fáil has made a commitment to protecting GP practices by increasing the GP Allowance to €30,000.  If elected to government we will negotiate a new GP contract to underpin General Practice for the next 30 years, to include Women’s Health Programmes, Out of Hours Services and services to patients n nursing homes.  We will increase GP training places to 274 to provide a much-needed injection of young doctors into the sector.”

 

ENDS

Sheehan welcomes long awaited Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy bridge.

Bridge brings potential for economic growth from inward investment, development of New Ross and South Wexford, recreation and tourism.

 

Fianna Fáil Councillor Michael Sheehan, Chairman of Wexford County Council, today welcomed the opening of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge on the N25 over the River Barrow, bypassing New Ross.

“The bridge is a major investment in infrastructure for Co Wexford and the Southeast – its benefits will last for many years.  I am delighted to see an end to traffic congestion in my native New Ross, and in particular the opportunities presented by improved connectivity for business and tourism in Co Wexford.

“Now there is a potential for economic growth due to inward investment along with opportunities for the development of New Ross, recreation initiatives and new tourism.

“It provides a chance for a clean break from the area’s industrial past and legacy of Albatros, (defunct fertiliser plant on 55 acres of land on the outskirts of New Ross) rural decline and to reboot the town.

“The opening of the scheme means that chronic traffic congestion and tailbacks in New Ross will be a thing of the past, particularly during peak times, with travel time savings of up to 30 minutes.

“This will provide significant efficiencies on the strategic N25 route from Cork to Rosslare Europort while supporting the future growth and sustainability of New Ross Town and the Southeast region. The scheme also links the N25 route with the N30 New Ross to Enniscorthy route.”

Cllr Sheehan went on to compliment Labour leader Brendan Howlin.  “At a time of severe austerity, Deputy Howlin protected this project and without him we would not be celebrating the opening of the bridge today.

“Deputy Howlin is a good example of the impact of having a strong Wexford voice in Government with an ability to work with TDs from all parties.

“This massive piece of engineering, which is Ireland’s longest bridge, only serves to highlight the lack of other investment in New Ross and the South of Co Wexford.  The N25 bypass is excellent news for New Ross.  What is not excellent news is that the Government has been consistently bypassing New Ross when it comes to investment in jobs and education.

“Pockets of South Wexford have some of the highest unemployment in the country such as Clonroche, Tahgmon and Campile. In 2019, we have had some of the fewest IDA visits of any county, this is not their fault but a failure of Government policy to invest in rural areas such as; South Wexford, meaning our county is not ready for such visits.

“We need substantial long term investment in education, childcare, rural transport, rural economic hubs and housing to make South Wexford attractive to modern industry.

Counsellor Sheehan concluded: “South Wexford and New Ross cannot survive five more years of under representation. We need a strong voice at the heart of Government”.

ENDS

Issued by Michael Sheehan’s campaign office.

Phone:                 085 134 9020

Email:                   votemichaelsheehan@gmail.com

Manifesto

Click or tap on the pdf below to turn the pages and read the policy.

Cllr. Michael Sheehan Policy

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