TDs must put Tipp town first

The people of Tipperary town, like most of the rest of the country, might have felt some small degree of optimism a week ago. The Dail had finally been dissolved and all parties were promising hope for the future. We still had to face massive repayments to the EU and the IMF for the bail-out but at least we were making a fresh start.

The people of Tipperary town, like most of the rest of the country, might have felt some small degree of optimism a week ago. The Dail had finally been dissolved and all parties were promising hope for the future. We still had to face massive repayments to the EU and the IMF for the bail-out but at least we were making a fresh start.

And we had our jobs...

Well that's what the workers at Pall Ireland thought. They had their jobs on Wednesday but on Thursday were told that they would all be gone within four months.

It was a bolt out of the blue that shocked not just the ninety four workers involved but the entire town.

Few towns in Ireland could absorb the impact of such a blow but Tipp town is more vulnerable than most.

It has been ravaged by factory closures and consequent job losses for years.

Pall was its last major industry outside the indigenous Tipperary Co-Op and its future was vital as the town struggled to retain an industrial presence.

But now it has followed the way of so many more companies in the town. The decision will push the jobless figure towards 2,000 - an outrageous figure in a town of its size.

There was an irony in the fact that the announcement was made in the first week of canvassing for the election. The decision will make for some interesting debates on the doorsteps as candidates will face relentless pressure on what they will do to create jobs in the town.

It must be Minister of State and lone Fianna Fail candidate Martin Mansergh's worst nightmare - nearly one hundred jobs gone in your home town as you start your campaign.

He will have to explain what went wrong during the last administration but he won't have to promise what his party will do during the next as Fianna Fail are facing a term in opposition.

Offering some glimmer of light for the future will be the task of those candidates who expect their parties to be part of the next government.

What can they offer a town that has taken so many knocks already? Task forces can be promised and pressure put on the IDA to prioritise the town for itineraries but what has that achieved in the past?

Three TDs will be elected for South Tipperary on February 25 and their first job must be to visit the town again in their new role and start working with the people to get Tipp moving again.

They will have many calls on their time and the demands will be huge but they won't have to travel far to see where the priority is.

Tipp town has suffered enough and now it needs action from those elected to serve the people.