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May 8th 2002

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Donegal Times Says Vote Local

In just over a week the people of Ireland visit the polling booths to vote in those who will represent them in Dail Eireann for the coming term. Over the last seven issues, Donegal Times has interviewed most of the main protagonists in this constituency, teasing from them their hopes, aspirations, plans and policies. Now it is decision time!

If there is one thing that we have learned from noting the largesse handed out by Doctor Jim to our neighbours in Donegal North-East, it is the benefit of having a sitting minister, with loads of dosh to distribute, in your constituency. However next best is to have an elected TD as near as possible, looking after local issues.

In this region of Donegal Town and environs we have three people aspiring to take their places in the big house on Kildare Street, sitting TD and Minister of State, Mary Coughlan, Fine Gael’s Jim White and Independent Thomas Pringle. Donegal Times is urging its readers to vote for these 1,2 and 3, in order of choice. The days of rigid party allegiance should be a thing of the past - votes should go to those who can best help our locality - those most strategically placed to benefit South Donegal - and, in the opinion of this newspaper, that is those mentioned above.

Mary Coughlan has shown great energy and ability since her appointment as Minister of State and, if the FF party attains a majority and can form a government in the next Dail, should have reasonable expectations of achieving further promotion. Needless to say, this could prove only beneficial for the constituency she represents.

Thomas Pringle is the Young Lion. Since being elected to the Council in 1999, he has made a major impact on the local political scene, fighting issues across a wide spectrum. He is the type of rookie politician that this country needs. Were candidates to be elected on merit rather than by party affiliation, the Killybegs man would be a cert. Indeed his sure judgement and astute decisive qualities were demonstrated when he picked a Donegal Town girl, Caroline Brogan, to be his wife.

Jim White has been through it all before. An accomplished businessman, well used to the cut and thrust of commerce and finance at the highest level - he has also previously served his time in Dail Eireann as a TD from 1973-1982. Though not exactly a spring chicken, Jim’s experience in business and politics, combined with his boundless physical and mental energy, would add immeasurably to the political dimension at this end of the county.

So there it is - a trio of talented and hard-working south Donegal candidates who, over the next week, will be criss-crossing the highways and byways looking for your vote. Mary, Thomas and Jim - mark them 1,2 and 3, in order of choice - remember the future of our area is at stake.

Crystal Ball Politics

Donegal Times, always innovative, will attempt to do something never previously tried at local level, by forecasting the first preferences of each South Donegal candidate in contention at next week’s General Election. So, when preliminary results come in, keep this table in front of you and see how accurate our political pundit is in his assessment of each of the runner’s vote.

Pat the Cope Gallagher FF


Mary Coughlan FF
Jim White FG
Dinny McGinley FG
Joe Kelly Ind
Doherty SF
Seamus Rogers Lab
Thom. Pringle Ind
Gwen Breslin Ind
Dignam SF

Quota: 8,400

FF 48%

FG 30%

The Men Behind the Wire

Jackie Gallagher had spent the whole morning keeping the car park of the Bosco clear. Labour Party leader Ruairi Quinn was being helicoptered in and was to land there. The only problem was the hapless pilot did not know this, so when the chopper whirled into town, it touched down on the running track instead, causing consternation among the awaiting party faithful. Why? Well, the gate of the highly fenced track was locked and nobody had a key. Panic ensued, with waiting hacks, photographers and local party followers on one side of the wire facing the visiting dignitaries on the other. Eventually the key was found, gate unlocked, leader and advisors released - and then began a frantic chase around town trying to make up for lost time.

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

Tel: +353-73-22860 Fax: +353-73-22937