Labour Senator John Whelan has drawn the battle lines for next year’s general election and said the electorate must choose between him and Sinn Fein’s Brian Stanley.
Senator Whelan was chosen as Labour’s candidate for next year’s election at a selection convention which took place in O’Loughlin’s Hotel, Portlaoise on Monday night.
The first official candidate for the new three seater constituency of Laois said he is aware that next year’s election will be challenging for both himself and the Labour Party.
“I am under no illusion that next year’s general election will be a tough challenge for myself and the Labour Party. But the election too poses a big challenge for the electorate to chose between the positive politics of Tanaiste Joan Burton and the protest of Gerry Adams and in this new constituency between myself and Sinn Fein’s Brian Stanley. This will be the first ever election in this constituency and it will be historic in every sense.”
He continued: “The 2016 general election will be of as pivotal importance as to the future direction and prosperity of our country as the defining events one hundred years ago in 1916,” Senator Whelan said.
The selection convention took place at the end of a day-long constituency wide visit by Minister of State, Kevin Humphreys to assess the effectiveness of labour market activation, training and community employment schemes in Durrow, Abbeyleix, Monasterevin, Kildare town and Athy.
Senator Whelan said the inclusion of Monasterevin, where he grew up and its surrouding areas, which encompasses 7,000 voters in the new constituency boundary, was a “lucky bounce” for him.
“Carlsberg don’t do boundary reviews, but if they did, they would have included this large swathe of south Kildare, incorporating over 7,000 voters from Nurney, Kildanagan, Harristown, Churchtown and Monasterevin, where I grew up in the new Laois electoral area for the first time.
“This is a lucky bounce for me and I intend to capitalise on it by working hard for this community in the tradition of Jack Wall, Emmett Stagg and the late TD Joe Bermingham before them.”
Senator Whelan was nominated at the selection convention to contest the general election by Cllr Noel Tuohy and Lisa Delaney.