Sunday, 19th November 2017
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John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

Has Government interest in Waterford reached a plateau?

Last week at a clandestine, undercover meeting over the border, the news about the Waterford City Boundary Review extension decision was strategically leaked - once again via the source of instant information that is social media. To be more precise, I read the news across a number of Facebook posts and of course the local Kilkenny newspapers had their “scoop”, in no small part, due to the rumbustious nature of those Cats supporting TDs and Councillors, who have been very, very vocal and noisy on this topic.

The issues surrounding the expansion of the City, to a size of reasonable and significant consequence, are very complex, emotive and “Raw!” The fact is, that for the South East to grow and have any chance of competing with the other regions of Ireland, our City must be of much greater scale, than the one we currently recognise today.

For far too long we have been told that Waterford will be that “Gateway City” to the South East region. Despite report after numerous report, that goal is still as far away as ever. In spite of Minister after Government Minister promising to deliver for Ireland’s Oldest City, our competitive towns and cities steal yet more and more ground from under our feet, in relation to the greater good of the South East.

Last Monday, 3rd April 2017, the recommendations from the recent controversial review committee were NOT going to be implemented by the current Government. The report findings would be ignored and some “Fudge”, promising fields of green, would be put in place to appease the Deise natives.

This independent body, which we were constantly assured was set up with no political allegiance, came to the self-determined conclusion, that Waterford City must be helped to grow and expand. That growth is necessary to assist the region to compete and attract future investment.

Now, this Government’s record with report findings for Waterford, is to say at the very least extremely woolly. We have one report being slickly and secretively rejected, partly I fear, due to the political Grand National that is a looming FG leadership challenge. Only one report being implemented, despite the deep rooted flawed foundations, realising a single unacceptable outcome.

For the sake of protecting their identity we will call the two protagonists Simon C and Simon H! These two men have just delivered the most bizarre of all Government spin.

One, Simon H, has taken the Herity Report and stuck steadfastly to ALL of the findings and recommendations. Stating that the report was independent and as such must be adhered to, because as a Government Minister he cannot interfere with these outcomes!

Yet his colleague, Simon C, has taken another independent report and applied his OWN recommendations! Completely ignoring “The free from outside control and not subject to another's authority” independence of the Boundary Review Committee!

I suspect the outcome of both these reports, has far more to do with political posturing, than the good of the people of Waterford and the South East! Both FG and FF see the 5-deputy Kilkenny/Carlow, as a potential three-seat constituency. Thus these main stream heavyweight parties, view the Kilkenny/Carlow constituency, as a far more important political battleground than Waterford, probably returning a similar political map after the next general election, as we always do?

With Simon C trying to reach his own political summit, leadership of FG and ultimately an Taoiseach for Ireland, he needs to find supporters, keep them sweet and there just so happens to be, two of his own good men across the River Suir. In addition he should need the help of some allies from this side of the river. Alas, that particular political “Scarlet Pimpernel”, holds court with no man, just doing his own thing – so no guarantees where the swing vote from Waterford will eventually go.

With these sorts of odds, is it any wonder that Simon C is hedging ALL his bets? There will be no need for him to cash out early, as he appears to have all the aces in his hand.

“Flip-flopping” report findings, our new politics!!!!

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