Q: What do you think will be the main issues coming up on the doorsteps in Laois/Offaly now the election campaign is officially underway?
A: Nationally they will be health, housing and the cost of living. They will be no different in Laois/Offaly in this regard. I’m hearing the same issues all the time. These include farming, Bord Na Mona, rural isolation, crime, flooding controls, affordable housing for workers and lots more along this line.
Q: What should be the key local priorities for the Laois-Offaly constituency in the next Dail?
A:On a local level, they have to be rural renewal and Bord Na Mona. There are areas of Laois and Offaly that are dying on their feet. There is no incentive for young people to stay and rear families. Everything is pointing towards Dublin. This needs rebalancing. Bord Na Mona is the other big one. The government and Fianna Fáil really have made a right mess out of this.
Q: Why should people vote for you?
A:Firstly, the current TDs simply haven't delivered for the counties. So going with the same again would be madness. I would then say that I am as hardworking a politician that's out there. So if the people do elect me, they are getting a man who will work with other rural minded TDs in the Dáil to deliver for counties like Offaly and Laois.
Q: If you had the power to make one big thing happen, locally or nationally, what would it be?
A: Rural renewal and I mean rural renewal which would see young people staying in counties like Offaly and Laois. We have got to stop the flow of everything going to Dublin. So, a real jobs plan for the midlands, in turn, a housing plan for rural areas like the midlands. Dublin is bursting at the seams and what's happening is our young people are being forced up there aswell. This has to change.
Q: Who will top the poll in the Laois/Offaly constituency?
A: If I was having a bet I would say Sean Fleming.