This week’s e-letter

Welcome to this week’s e-letter. After months of waiting, we are now at the mouth of the most significant general election in a generation. To date, my team and I have touched upon some 5,000 houses in the constituency through leaflet drops and canvassing, since we began campaigning in November. I am confident that Labour will take a seat in this constituency as increasing numbers of voters see the appeal in my own record in local Government for 16 years, in Labour’s sensible policy platform, and in the leadership of Eamon Gilmore. Therefore I would urge you to Vote HARTE No. 1 on election day. By giving me your number one vote, you are voting for Jobs, Reform and Fairness.

In the meantime, if you wish to contact me, I can be reached at 087-2511037 or jimmybharte@gmail.com.

Regards,
Jimmy

Deputy Joan Burton’s visit to Donegal North-East
The Labour Party’s deputy leader and finance spokesperson, Joan Burton, will visit the constituency on Friday where she will officially open our constituency office, meet several community groups and meet some local media. Deputy Burton is a highly-respected politician and has an extremely strong grasp of her finance portfolio, and we are delighted she has accepted our invite to visit Donegal NE. Her visit comes shortly after the party’s justice spokesperson, Pat Rabbitte, paid a visit to the constituency two weeks ago. Deputy Ruairi Quinn also visited before Christmas.

Next Govt must look at rates reduction for rural businesses
This week I proposed that the incoming government look at revising the rates for businesses to take account of the difficulties face by rural businesses. As it stands, rates are calculated on an archaic system and there is a need to revise the method of valuations. The recent threatened closure of small retail businesses in rural areas in Milford and Inishowen not to mention Letterkenny will be replicated across the county unless we deal with the prohibitive rates issues facing small rural towns. While I accept that the knock on effect of such a measure is the reduction in income for the local council I believe that the shortfall could be made up by introducing an increase in rates on holiday homes. This money could be ring fenced for local businesses that are struggling to survive. This would ensure that the money for services is not lost and more importantly that the funding would be allocated specifically for that particular area.

Tribute to Blaney but FF still ‘full of wind’
I wish to extend my best wishes to Niall Blaney following his announcement not to run in the general election. Deputy Blaney, like myself, comes from a family with a strong tradition of public service. However I am appalled at the continuing arrogance of Tanaiste Mary Coughlan who said on Sunday night that Fianna Fail ‘had to remind people of all the work they had done’. Let me remind her of the work they have done: up to four hundred thousand unemployed, thousands more facing job losses and uncertainty, the export of our children, a banking crisis, and the continued depressed level of both consumption and investment through an absence of affordable credit. Her deluded mantra stated: “We are going to take on a hurricane but we would like to reduce that down to a gentle breeze.” The only response those comments warrant is that the FF party are clearly full of wind.

Moratorium in health service must be addressed
I am concerned that Letterkenny General Hospital is expected to provide care to patients where staffing cover is insufficient for this to be done reliably and safely.
Recently I have been in contact with numerous health service staff and they are very concerned that the moratorium shows no signs of ending anytime soon. It is affecting all acute services across the hospital and that staff are being seriously stretched. While the moratorium isn’t a new development, it is an issue that is still deeply affecting frontline services and we cannot become immune to its effects. The freeze is having a profound impact on the ability of staff within the hospital to deliver a quality service through absolutely no fault of their own. Unless the issue is addressed, it could lead to seriously diminished health services in Donegal. The public are justifiably concerned that the moratorium introduced primarily as a cost-cutting measure is in practice becoming a safety issue.

Are you registered to vote?
As the election nears, it is important to check that you are definitely registered to vote. You can do this by logging onto checktheregister.ie, and follow some simple steps to see if you are on the register. If not, download an RFA2 or RFA3 form, fill it out, get it stamped by the local Garda station and drop it into the nearest Public Service Centre to you. You can also drop it into my office at 7 Castle Street where myself or someone else can ensure to drop it to the local PSC. If you don’t vote you have no say!

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About Senator Jimmy Harte

I am a Labour Party Senator based in Donegal North-East and a public representative for the last 16 years. I represented Letterkenny Town Council and Donegal County Council until 28th April 2011 when I was elected to the Senate I attended St Eunan's College in Letterkenny and UCD (Dublin) where I studied psychology to BA level. I also played soccer with UCD first team. I live in Letterkenny and own Harte Insurances which I set up at the age of 24. We have two offices, Letterkenny and Raphoe.
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