Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Fine Gael general election candidate Garret Ahearn in Cahir last Friday
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has backed Fine Gael general election candidate Garret Ahearn as the government standard bearer in County Tipperary.
Officially opening Garret Ahearns constituency office in Cahir on Friday Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Tipperary was one of the few constituencies in the country without a FG TD and winning back a Fine Gael seat,if not two seats, was a top priority for the party.
He expected Garret Ahearn to continue to be a champion of causes just like his late mother former FG TD Theresa and his father Liam , as a county councillor, were. Taoiseach Varadkar,a rugby team mate of the Grange man, said playing on the same sporting team was a good way to get to know the attributes of a person and he believed that Garret Ahearn had the ability and the potential to represent the people of Tipperary if given the chance saying he had all the qualities to succeed in public life.
Taoiseach Varadkar said Garret's late mother Theresa, who served the people of Tipperary after winning three general elections and was the first woman to be a trustee of the party, would be a minister in the government today were it not for her untimely death.
Described by Leo Varadkar as the representative of Fine Gael and of the government in Tipperary Garret Ahearn said the goal was to win back a seat for the party and said the opening of his constituency office as a base for Fine Gael was another step in that direction.
He was honoured to be in a position to bring the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to Tipperary within the space of a week.
Among the causes to be championed are the delivery of the announced government investment for an overcrowded South Tipperary general hospital, the under res ourced mental health services in Tipperary and the securing of Deis funding for Tipperary town primary schools.
Those were the issues that arose as Garret Ahearn, selected by Fine Gael after a grueling nomination process , accompanied Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on his first walkabout as Taoiseach on the streets of Cahir.
Garret Ahearn, on his first walkabout since beating off six other candidates for the party nomination last March , introduced Taoiseach Varadkar to business people from Super Valu to the Square meeting the local butcher, pub owners, jeweller, and the public as they walked through Cahir in the sunshine.
St.Joseph's national school principal Louise Tobin raised the issue of Deis funding for primary schools in Tipperary town to maintain pressue on the government on the long running campaign for inclusion. The overcrowding issue at South Tipperary General Hospital was also raised as also was the closure of acute care psychiatric beds in Clonmel by two concerned parents.
Garrett Ahearn told The Nationalist that the hospital was always a priority and it was his job to ensure that the investment for South Tipperary General was delivered on time.He had already made arrangements to meet primary school principals in Tipperary town this week to discuss the case for Deis funding and said he would work towards improving resources allocated to mental health in the county.