President of South Tipperary Macra, Eddie O'Donnell, chaired a lively debate between candidates running in the upcoming general election in Feehan's Bar, Cashel, last Sunday, before opening the floor to questions from members of the public.
Political candidates Phil Prendergast (Labour), Tom Hayes (Fine Gael), Michael Murphy (Fine Gael), Dr. Martin Mansergh (Fianna Fail), Seamus Healy (Independent) and Mattie McGrath (Independent) each gave a brief overview of their policies and political achievements before questions were taken from the public.
Overall, a strong emphasis was placed by all candidates on creating jobs and growth, while reform of the HSE, investment in infrastructure and revision of payments to the IMF were recurring themes. Spectators voiced their frustrations and sought clarification from the candidates about the impact of their policies on agriculture, emigration and education on ordinary Irish people.
While reassurance of no increase in taxation was provided by Mr. Hayes, Dr. Mansergh emphasised that any incoming government would have to navigate Ireland through a very difficult economic landscape before things could improve.
The brief but lively meeting concluded quickly, with some candidates remaining to answer further questions while others returned to the campaign trail.