Friday, August 6, 2010

A note from the canvass

It’s been a busy week. I started on Tuesday in Connolly Place in the City. The reaction was good but the issues were to be expected. People are worried about the economy, jobs, the next budget and generally making ends meet. Anti-social behaviour also featured with concerns raised regarding a number of boarded up houses. Several complaints were made about the quality of the remedial works in the area and having inspected the houses it is hard to disagree. Poor finishing and uncompleted works has left a sour taste in the mouths of many. In one house floor boards were used as skirting! I left feeling a little annoyed that the council had spent so much money and yet the works are not of the highest standard.

On Wednesday I visited Farron Park in the City and Portlaw in the county. The areas are different in many ways and yet the issues are the same. A lot of anger was vented towards the Government and people are genuinely worried about the future. I was struck by how many young people were out of work and how they felt they had no prospects for the future. Some talked about emigrating but I wondered how real an option it was for them. The monthly live register figures reinforced the magnitude of the problem – 452,000 people nationally out of work. So much for being out of recession!

Thursday brought me to Crook and Cheekpoint in Passage and Ballinroad in Dungarvan. In Crook and Cheekpoint the state of the roads and a decline in fishing dominated the doorstep conversations. I was completely taken aback as to how bad the roads actually are. On the entrance to one housing estate I counted seven potholes. An issue that emerged a lot was the need for a running water tap in the local graveyard and it puzzled me that local authorities often fall down on the small but important things.

In Ballinroad in Dungarvan residents living in An Grianan and Pairc na mBlath are furious with the county council regarding water quality. Residents complained of being unable to use showers, damage caused to electrical appliances, a discolouration problem and recently a contamination of the water supply. Several people complained that when taking showers they get scalded because the pressure is so low. Many are forced to visit family or friends nearby to use their shower facilities. Others complained of a bad smell coming from the water and of a need to constantly purchase bottled water. Parents with young children are particularly concerned as they cannot boil up bottled water for the children. A new community was built in the area without proper infrastructure provision such as footpaths, lighting, roads and water. I had hoped we had learned from the mistakes of the past, obviously not. I wonder what next week will bring..

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