Photo carried in todays Dungarvan Observer of Minister Mary Hanafin refusing to shake hands with Sinn Fein councillor Brendan Mansfield. Mansfield and fellow Sinn Fein councillor for Waterford County Council Pat Fitzgerald led a handful in a token protest during the Ministers visit to open the citizens information centre.Sinn Fein signaled their intention to protest prior to the visit with the centre and it was agreed that not to detract from the purpose of the visit that only a handful would partake.
The Sinn Fein councillors wished to discuss with the minister a number of issues regarding the West Waterford town, namely how the government plan to tackle the unemployment issue of the town, currently almost 2500 on the live register,what the government plan to do with the derelict site in the centre of the town earmarked for the decentralisation of OSI.
Armed with placards REMEMBER LISBON, SO WHERES THE JOBS FIANNA FAIL,Mansfield also wished to raise with the minister the recent closure of the towns Resource Centre. A centre much needed given the unemployment ploblems of West Waterford.When asked to comment on its closure by a journalist, Hanafin contended she didnt know the specifics of its closure and couldnt comment.
Is it right for a councillor wishing to raise such important issue's with a minister on behalf of the people of Dungarvan to be treated in such a manner?