CEANN COMHAIRLE John O’Donoghue has supplied his constituents with “hard evidence” of his work for them since being elected to the position of chairman of the Dáil. The glossy four-page newsletter posted to voters in Kerry South this week is being seen in part as gearing up for the local elections and also as a rebuttal of any notion that he is restricted in his constituency because of his role as Ceann Comhairle.
It is fronted with pictures of Mr O’Donoghue and his brother Paul, along with other Killorglin area Fianna Fáil councillors on the controversial Gaddagh Bridge, which had been swept away in a flood. Independent TD Jackie Healy- Rae, Mr O’Donoghue and Fianna Fáil councillors have claimed responsibility for the reconstruction of the bridge, on the foothill of Carrauntoohil, and there have been angry exchanges on the matter.
The Ceann Comhairle by tradition precludes himself from active participation in politics but remains free to make representations on behalf of constituents. He is automatically re-elected. Along with sports facilities, health, water treatment plants, creches and school extensions, Mr O’Donoghue is claiming the retention of the Valentia Coast Guard station as “hard evidence” of his work. The proposal to downgrade Valentia was seen as particularly embarrassing for Mr O’Donoghue as the station is on his doorstep