A leading Pro Life campaigner in Donegal and a local environmental activist, Mary T Sweeney has been selected by Ireland’s newest political party Aontú to contest the upcoming general election.
A native of Oldtown, Letterkenny and highly regarded campaigner for community causes around the county, Ms Sweeney, was co-founder of the Letterkenny and Drumkeen Environmental Group who successfully fought the “Corravaddy Super Dump.” She also mounted the first campaign demanding Donegal County Council to introduce recycling centres to the County. She believes that securing social housing for those on the waiting lists must be addressed. She is also bringing forward plans to make Eco friendly, passive homes more affordable to the ordinary family.
Education is a key focus in Ms Sweeney’s campaign. She was recently appointed to Aontú’s Education Policy Making committee and is well aware of the many concerns facing our teachers.
As a member of the Board of Management of St. Patrick’s N.S., Drumkeen, she will strongly object to the current government proposals to introduce, what she sees as 'an extremely inappropriate curriculum,' in Relationships and Sexuality Education(RSE) for Primary Schools and refers to our Constitution which affirms the parents rights as the primary educators of their children.
She said: “I am delighted to see that my highlighting of the dangerous road surface over the Bun Linn Bridge, only last month was acknowledged and being properly addressed and repaired.
“The local authorities have also given commitment to begin work regarding concerns that I have raised regarding the Oldtown Bridge. A new relief bridge from Rockhill Road across to Ballymacool roundabout would relieve traffic on the fragile 18th- century, Oldtown Bridge, this in conjunction with developing the link road from Kirkstown to Windy Hall would be a practical and achievable way to reduce commuting times into the key employment hub, and hospital region north of Letterkenny within what I believe is an achievable budget and timeframe.”
Having worked for many years in the family business as an Auctioneer, providing property valuations, she believes a central fund for Mica victims is required. She said that a Donegal County Council Mica panel must be established to identify and provide 100% costs for MICA properties as was secured for the Pyrite scheme.
She said: “Aontú is a party that cares and that it is essential to retain and expand our community hospitals who provide essential quality step down beds, which free up acute hospital beds in Letterkenny University Hospital allowing it to tackle the waiting lists. Community Carers are an integral part of supporting those most vulnerable in our communities and we need to look at supporting and expanding this service better to include supporting Mental Health Services, around the County. Ms Sweeney was recently appointed onto the Board of Donegal Mental Health Advocacy Group.
Designated Areas of VAT Reduction would go some way towards supporting and expanding our tourism industry, adding various incentives, like developing cycle paths would help to promote and expand the tourist season across the county, according to Ms Sweeney.
Mary T Sweeney ran in the local elections as the Aontú council candidate and fared very well. The mother-of-three was the unopposed candidate at the Aontú selection convention to represent the people of Donegal in the Dáil.
“If I win, everyone wins. Aontú is not a home for payroll politicians. I will not be silenced or shy away from difficult questions. Aontú’s guiding principles are simple and clear, to take up the torch of struggle and defend the values of life, unity and economic justice at all turns.”
The Letterkenny-based community activist believes that many disaffected members are flowing to Aontú from the mainstream establishment parties. Ms Sweeney believes there is a deep well of untapped support in the Donegal constituency, stretching from Ballyliffen to Pettigo and from Lifford to Tory Lighthouse that Aontú can draw on.
“We are a party whose policies are decided by grass roots discussion, not PR and marketing companies, I urge all voters in Donegal who feel politically disenfranchised, to join us on Aontú’s journey at our next public meeting on November 4 in Dillons Hotel, main street, Letterkenny at 8pm where Peadar Toibín TD will be in attendance. We have a real opportunity to build a successful electoral alternative in the forgotten county,” she said.
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