“An open mind and a willing ear” is what Mary Lou McDonald, Leader of the Sinn Fein party, promised delegates from Waterford Chamber and Dungarvan & West Waterford Chamber at a private meeting in the Tower Hotel during her visit to Waterford.
Very much spreading the message of collaboration, Deputy McDonald went on to say, “You are the experts in your field and it would be arrogant and stupid of us not to listen and collaborate.”
Thanking Deputy McDonald and Deputy Cullinane for the invitation to meet with them, Paul Nolan, Waterford Chamber President, said, “Commerce of the lifeblood of the economy” and suggested they “take the best counsel in terms of a balanced approached to the parties ambitions and the finances required by them”.
Following addresses from a varied cross section of business people, covering many issues such as the current challenging business environment, the housing crisis, the energy crisis, the squeezing of middle income families, healthcare, including parents of children with disabilities in need of support, to enable these qualified parents to get back into the workforce and the SETU equitable funding requirement, Deputy McDonald addressed her invited guests.
“There is no doubt there will be big strategic challenges if we get into Government but I also see them as opportunities. There are practical things that need to get done.” Among those are “the need to work to full energy independence”, “pace in delivery”, “deal with the HSE conclusively” and she was emphatic that “public infrastructure and hosing will be front and centre for us”.
Meanwhile, Deputy Cullinane added, “There is a misconception that we are anti-business but that is certainly not the case. I am very pro innovation, I have family with their own businesses. I want to see more jobs and a better economy.”
Referencing his own portfolio of health, Deputy Cullinane said the ultimate goal for any medic on the frontline right now is to have a “health service that is not in perpetual crisis”.
Sinn Fein believe with their leadership, they can make “big changes”.
Speaking after the meeting, Gerald Hurley, CEO Waterford Chamber said: “Our message to Sinn Fein and other political parties is very clear that Waterford Chamber has an extensive lobbying agenda, we have a diverse network of professionals across a number of sectors who are driven, experienced and willing to help and advise on cost effective solutions to some of the critical issues facing us today.
“The message we got from Mary Lou and David Cullinane last night was that they were committed to collaborating and promised an open mind and eager ear on all matters that would help them grow the economy.”