A FOCUS on the next local elections is the first order of business for Laois Fianna Fail, as it seeks to rebuild in Laois-Offaly, following the catastrophic general election a year ago.
The first putative steps towards recovery were sounded at the party’s dinner dance last week in the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel.
Following a lengthy hiatus, this was the local party’s first dinner dance in years and, if attendance is any yardstick, then the 260 plus who turned up on the night signalled that there is still more than a pulse left in the local organisation.
Former TD and Chairperson of Laois Comhairle Dail Ceanntair John Moloney emphasised the future, and renewal, in his speech, whilst paying tribute to past endeavours and members.
It was a theme which Deputy Sean Fleming also drew upon. In his address, he pointed up Fianna Fail’s past achievements, before dealing with the task at hand.
“I know this generation is well fit to match the work of our predecessors and bring the party back to its former strength. Fianna Fáil must now develop new policies, new thinking and new approaches for the future. We have to be forward looking and radical in our thinking.”
Deputy Fleming emphasised a number of policy areas, including education, natural resources and tourism. He also drew attention to a new rule which will be adopted at the Ard Fheis in early March.
“In Laois, our model whereby every Cumann sends a delegate to the Comhairle Dáil Cheantair is to be incorporated into the Fianna Fáil rules and will be implemented nationwide. This is of course in addition to the delegates from the Comhairli Ceantair who also attend the Comhairle Dáilcheantair meetings. There will be a new policy conference each year separate from the Ard Fheis.”
Paschal McEvoy PRO for Laois Fianna Fail thanked everyone involved in the organisation of the night, and also sounded a rallying cry for the local elections.
In attendance also were former Ministers Paddy Lalor and Liam Hyland, as well as Senator Mary White and former Kildare TD Aine Brady.
Sympathies were extended to the family of the last Peadar Maher who passed away earlier in the week. Mr Maher was a Fianna Fail TD for Laois during the 1950s.