Gavin Duffy calls for Derry to Kerry rail, road, broadband corridor

Four presidential hopefuls make pitch for nomination to Kerry County Council

Presidential hopeful Gavin Duffy has called for the development of a rail, road and broadband corridor from Derry to Kerry to try and counter the growing imbalance between Dublin and the West coast.

Mr Duffy said he believed that the benefits of the prosperity currently being enjoyed by Dublin needs to spread out into the provinces. He said if Dublin continues to expand its population at existing rates, it will "end up sliding in the sea".

He was speaking to members of Kerry County Council when seeking their support for a presidential nomination.

He believed in particular that the West needed public infrastructure investment to enable to attract companies into the region. While motorways had been constructed, they all radiated out from Dublin and did not connect various parts of the western seaboard, he said.


Mr Duffy said while he understood the constitutional restrictions of the presidency, he believed that there was scope within the office for encouraging enterprise and ensuring a fairer distribution of economic benefits to every region.

“ I believe there should be a rail, road and broadband corridor running from Derry to Kerry to help development along with western seaboard,” he said.

Mr Duffy who got the backing of Meath County Council on Monday , was the first of four candidates to address the specially convened meeting of Kerry County Council at its chamber in Tralee and it was notable that after his address, several councillors left the chamber.

President Higgins

However musician Jimmy Smyth of The Bogey Boys was undeterred as he took the podium. He was given a warm welcome by Sinn Féin Cllr Pa Daly who recalled him playing in Tralee with U2 as the support act and he congratulated him on not losing his voice unlike Bono in Berlin on Sunday night.

Mr Smyth said he wanted to clarify comments attributed to him where was reported as saying he believed that President Michael D Higgins was the best candidate for the job. He had indeed said that but the press had failed to report the caveat - "apart from myself".

He said he had great respect for President Higgins and how he had performed as president as he recalled that he knew Michael D before he was even a Labour TD and used to book the Boogie Boys for gigs in Galway.

Mr Smyth said he had been briefly a member of Sinn Féin as he was frustrated with the failure of the establishment parties to ensure an equitable society and he still could not understand how, in a relatively wealthy country like Ireland, young families were ending up homeless.


Journalist, Gemma O'Doherty told Sinn Féin Cllr Toireasa Ferris she had been the victim of a vendetta in recent days where she was being depicted as anti-Muslim and nothing was further from the truth as she campaigned for equality and fairness and a corruption-free Ireland.

In her work as a journalist where she has focused on exposing corruption, she said she had worked closely with a number of Imams to highlight challenges facing the Muslim population in Ireland while she had also championed transgender people and Travellers and was an advocate for minorities.

Highlighting corruption had led to her being treated as a pariah but she told Fianna Fail Cllr John Joe Culloty she would not run for Dáil Éireann as she did not believe the Dáil was serving the interests of the people because of the confidence and supply deal between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.

Industrial school campaign

Artist, Seamus Nolan explained he is seeking to get on the ballot paper as William Delaney 1957-1970. William Delaney died in 1970 aged 13, three years into a six-year sentence for stealing a loaf of bread, at St Joseph's Industrial School in Letterfrack, Co Galway

Mr Nolan said his campaign was aimed at highlighting William's story and that of the 146 other children who died at Letterfrack while in the care of the Christian Brothers between 1869 and 1969.

He told Kerry County Mayor Cllr Norma Foley that in the unlikely event of him getting a nomination and winning the presidential election he would not take up the office and another vote would have to be held, but he would have achieved his aim of highlighting the plight of industrial school victims.

Cllr Foley thanked the four candidates for their presentations and explained that councillors would vote at their next meeting on September 17th on whether the council would support any of the four candidates in their bid for a presidential nomination.

Veronica Guerin

Ms O’Doherty has denied that she raised concerns the State was involved in the murder of investigative reporter Veronica Guerin as a means of highlighting her bid to obtain a presidential nomination.

She said she had mentioned Guerin’s murder at a public meeting in Waterford on corruption when asked about it by a member of the audience but it had nothing to do with her bid to obtain a presidential nomination.

“I was asked about Veronica Guerin at a public meeting on corruption in Waterford, I did not raise Veronica Guerin, it (her murder) is not a priority for me,” she said.

“This idea that I am seeking publicity- what an outrageous thing to say, that is the last thing I would do - I am a very private person,” said Ms O’Doherty who stressed she has never raised Ms Guerin’s murder at any presentation she made to county councils when seeking a presidential nomination.

Ms O’Doherty was speaking after addressing Kerry County Council where she did not mention Ms Guerin’s murder.

Ms O’Doherty said she was reluctant to discuss the matter as it was not part of her campaign for the presidency.

However she said that she believed that Ms Guerin had been murdered on foot of collusion between the state and criminals as she was about to expose collusion between Garda investigators and criminals in a number of high profile cases.

Asked what evidence she had of her claim , Ms O’Doherty said she was reluctant to speak about it as it was not part of her bid to obtain a presidential nomination.

She said she had examined Ms Guerin’s articles into Garda collusion with criminals and she had put them into the public domain in recent days and “the facts speak for themselves” in substantiating her belief Ms Guerin had been targeted because she was about to expose this collusion.

Asked about the upset that her comments had caused Ms Guerin’s family including her brother, Jimmy who said the family found her comments offensive and upsetting, Ms O’Doherty said it was never her intention to cause upset to anyone.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times