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Budget Vote Could Be In Doubt If Hoctor Misses Vote

Batt O'Keeffe's Letter to Deputy Lowry

Batt O'Keeffe's Letter to Deputy Lowry

Backbencher Ms Maire Hoctor TD, who was sacked as a Junior Minister by Taoiseach Brian Cowen last year, was not present for a number of tight votes in Dail Eireann recently.

Truth is that in the past three weeks Ms Hoctor has only voted possibly twice out of 18 votes which were signalled. This includes one vote last week that saw the Government scrape through by a meagre two votes.

The Tipperary North TD is a constituency colleague of Independent TD Michael Lowry, who claims to have his own private deal with the Fianna Fail Government. This deal, which has seen Mr Lowry claim credit for a series of capital projects in Ms Hoctor’s constituency, is said to be quietly causing serious tension in the Fianna Fail camp. Political whispers claim Ms Hoctor is growing increasingly unset with the way in which Mr Lowry was being allowed to wheel and deal with the Boss, her party leader, Brian Cowen.

A spokesman for the Government Chief Whip Pat Carey last night said he was aware Ms Hoctor did not vote on a number of recent issues. So was Ms Hoctor given a pairing by the whips office so that she could miss the string of votes? We can’t confirm, but ahead of tomorrow’s important Budget vote, Mr Carey has implemented a three-line whip which requires the presence of all Fianna Fail TDs.

According to the local scholarly political pundits “Presently, every pothole patched in the constituency of North Tipperary, credit is claimed by Michael Lowry.  Anything of a positive nature that is implemented or promised, he’s claiming it’s part of this special deal with Brian Cowan”.

While the Government is still expected to win the majority of the votes tomorrow, thus avoiding an immediate General Election, the result would be very tight without the presence of Ms Hoctor.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch in North Tipperary yesterday, Deputy Michael Lowry has welcomed confirmation from the Minister for Education and Science, Mr Batt O’Keefe TD that Scoil Nasuinta Cronain Naofa at Dromakeenan, just outside Roscrea in Ms Hoctor’s neck of the coral, has got the go ahead for their long awaited building project. The scale of works approved is for a three classroom extension, a new GP room, along with refurbishment and associated works on the older parts of the school.
In the coming days the Building unit of the Department of Education will contact the school to allow them to issue the ‘Letter of Acceptance’ that will enable them to award the building contract to the winning building tender. It is hoped that works will be completed over the summer holidays at the end of the current school year.

Deputy Lowry stated:

“I am delighted that building will finally commence for this project, as they have been waiting for the go-ahead since 2007. The school has proven itself to be very progressive in recent years, and has set up an autism unit that serve the people of Roscrea and its surrounds. I have been working with the school and with other public representatives to get a favourable outcome on this case and the Ministerial order (See Above)  that has been issued today comes on foot of a concerted lobbying campaign dating back two years since the contractor had been selected in 2007.”

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