Public Meeting with Election Candidates Tonight at 8-15pm

Bank of Ireland A
Pointing the Way: Guest speaker, Gavin Duffy during his inspirational speech to the Bank of Ireland, Castleisland Enterprise Town Expo last November. ©Photograph: John Reidy 13-11-2015

Castleisland Chamber Alliance will host a public meeting with general election candidates to discuss the issues currently facing the Castleisland area. The meeting is scheduled for this Thursday night February 4th at 8.15pm in the River Island Hotel.
Most of Kerry’s General Election 2016 candidates have accepted the invitation to attend in spite of the fact that open season has been declared in the mad, if short, scramble to get a seat in the 32nd Dáil.
Election day is shoving alarmingly close for the candidates and they’ll be anxious to impress here. We’ve been pitched headlong into a mercifully compacted season of verbal head-butts and withering assessments of political careers to date – while that all-important prize of a seat in Dáil Éireann becomes a stoic focus for those in the field.

Sense of Optimism

Will something emerge from the meeting tonight that will re-engage the sense of optimism which bounced and bounded from the Bank of Ireland EXPO at Castleisland Community Centre last November?  There are many people whose long family histories are woven into the fabric and the fortunes of this town. They have been quietly expressing concern for some time now at the visible decline of the town centre and its business interests.

People with little or no ties to the town also remark – on observations made in passing – on how quiet it has become in the evenings and at night. But that’s not unique to Castleisland – but it’s Castleisland we’re talking about now and what help the politicians may provide to put the spring (no pun intended) back in its step.

Job Announcements

The once American owned Aetna office has been lying idle since 2011. ©Photograph: John Reidy  22-3-2011
Ready to go or what? The once American owned Aetna office has been lying idle since 2011. ©Photograph: John Reidy 22-3-2011

After all, there are job announcements and investments being declared in news releases for many places throughout the country in recent weeks and months. One of the points made recently in conversation here, was the alarming amount of vacant floor space – or empty business premises – if you want to be blunt about it. Much of that space is near ‘good -to-go’ and a population raring-to-go with it.

There is a flower in the snow kind of optimism here. The least sign of sun and we’re up and at it. Every sporting or social facility put in place here, which needed an injection of government capital, was met by matching funds and community enthusiasm. There are monuments to this kind of altruism all over the town.

Is there a politician among tonight’s invited who will make a name for himself / herself and nail his or her colours to our slightly tattered mast. It wouldn’t take a lot to revitalise our mast and our colours – and boy are we proud of our colours.

Press the Flesh

Tonight’s public meeting will, after all, provide the politicians with an opportunity to press the flesh and tease out a vote or two while talking up the prospects of the town under their particular party or alliance after the votes are cast and distributed at the end of this month.
“We have invited currently declared general election candidates for the Kerry constituency to discuss job creation, broadband improvements and rural isolation and to present their plans to improve Castleisland and the surrounding areas,” said chamber spokesperson, Jeremy Burke.
All of our outgoing T.Ds have already confirmed that they will attend and we expect that most of the declared candidates will also take up the opportunity.  Members of the public are encouraged to attend what is sure to be a very informative meeting,” said Mr. Burke.