Aontú

  • An Aontú representative for Mayo, has hit out at Taoiseach Micheál Martin over remarks he made in the Dáil regarding the EU cross border directive.

    Paul Lawless says the Taoiseach’s response to the question is a slap in the face to those he brings to Belfast for cataract procedures.

    Independent TD for Cork, Deputy Michael Collins raised concerns in the Dáil about the threat posed to the Cross Border Directive by the chance of a no deal brexit.

    Mr. Lawless says the Taoiseach responded by jeering and mocking Deputy Collins, saying “you guys put the busses together and run a bit of an auld operation”. He failed to answer the very important question – what will happen with the cross border directive in the event of a no deal?”

  • 27-year-old school teacher from Knock, Paul Lawless has been selected as a candidate by Aontú to run in the Claremorris Local Electoral Area this May 24th.

    Aontú is the political party created by former Sinn Fein TD Peadar Toibin.  

    Paul teaches Maths and PE at Ballyhaunis Community School. After playing soccer for Mayo, Connaught and the Republic of Ireland at underage level, he achieved a professional contract with Derby County FC. This led to him attaining a scholarship to study a BE.d at UCC, and an M.B.A in the USA. He is currently doing a post graduate in Mathematics in his spare time. Paul plays Gaelic football for both Aughamore GAA club and the Mayo junior football team.

    Paul felt compelled to get involved in local politics to address what he describes as the regional development imbalance which is hurting Mayo.

     

  • Whatever the make-up of Mayo County Council following tomorrow's local elections, all elected councillors should make a united call on Government to approve a life-changing drug for children suffering from SMA - Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

    That's according to Paul Lawless, Aontú local election candidate in the Claremorris electoral area.

    Mr Lawless wants to see all local authority members putting pressure on Government to approve Spinraza for children across the country suffering from SMA -including two children in south Mayo......

  • A “Citizens Initiative” type of system needs to be introduced for Mayo County Council, according to Claremorris election candidate Paul Lawless.

    The Aontu candidate says the initiative would be comparable to what’s available at EU level.

    In the European Parliament across all member nations, the public can have an issue of concern debated by MEPs at the European Parliament once they collect 1 million signatures.

    At a local level, Mr Lawless is proposing that the same opportunity should be given if 500 signatures are collected in the county, and he suggests that a representative of those citizens should be able to address the council before the debate is held.

    He also wants an online noticeboard facility where local issues can be highlighted directly to the council by the electorate.

  • Aontú leader, Deputy Peadar Tóibín has challenged Micheál Martin to list the names of Fianna Fáil TDs who have organised buses to Belfast for cataract procedures. The Deputy was speaking in response to comments by Micheál Martin on last night's Virgin Media leaders debate.

    Aontú candidate in Mayo, Paul Lawless has been active on the ground recently in this region organising the transport to get people to the hospital in Belfast.

    Deputy Tobin says he is not aware of any Fianna Fáil TD who organised a bus to Belfast and he challenged Deputy Martin to publish the names of the TDs who have organised buses.

    Speaking to Midwest News today Paul Lawless described Michael Martin’s reference last night “as hugely disappointing”.

  • Aontú representative for Mayo, Paul Lawless, has expressed his disappointment that student nurses are still not getting paid for their work on the frontlines.

    Mr Lawless says that back in March the then Minister for Health Simon Harris announced that student nurses would be paid for their work in fighting the virus on the frontlines.

    His announcement was largely welcomed and celebrated by students at the time but all these months later student nurses still haven't been paid.

    Mr Lawless says that what happened after the Minister's comments in March was that the HSE offered employment to the students. Any student who took that employment and is now back in college is discovering that none of the hours they worked have been counted towards their placement and that they now have to work for free for a number of months to make up the hours.

    For students who didn't take up that offer have been working for free on the frontlines for the past number of months in very stressful circumstances.

  • Some staff members at Mayo University Hospital said they felt 'disillusioned, embarrassed and frustrated' over cross-over between covid and non-covid sections in the hospital last May, according to information released under a Freedom of Information request, to Mayo Aontu member, Paul Lawless.

    The latest documents released under the FOI to Mr Lawless, indicate that staff at the Hospital were reaching out to public representatives with their concerns regarding staff and patient crossover in the facility. 

    In one email in early May, a staff member said that Ward C, Ward D and the Ortho Ward were "all looking after positive, negative and query patients, there is crossover between staff and this is going on all week".

    The staff member also makes reference to "the shambolic way hospital management have dealt with the crisis from the start and the impact it has had on patients, staff and their families" and tells of how staff were, at the time of the email being sent, planning "a lunchtime protest next week". 

    Another email was forwarded to the CEO of Saolta, Tony Canavan on 1st May 2020 signed by "a very concerned nurse". This nurse spoke of how the structural changes to the hospital as part of the management of patients had resulted in a unit no longer fit for purpose. The nurse spoke of how "the reduced space makes Covid ED no longer a safe working environment. The nurse went on to note a "huge lack of handwashing facilities", adding that "we no longer have staff changing rooms and no access to showering facilities, no longer access to staff toilets and are to use the toilet facilities for the general public".

    Mr Lawless says in addition, a staff member in MUH has told him that there were delays in testing for the virus, and a reduced capacity issue with a thermal cycler PCR machine used in the testing process. He says this was cited by the staff member as central to the problems experienced in the hospital.

    He has been speaking to Midwest News today and says the documents released to him under the FOI request make for 'shocking reading'.

     

    Midwest News contacted Saolta for a response to these allegations in the FOI documents and we are awaiting a response.

  • Kilmovee native, Tommy Horan has been selected as a candidate by Aontú to run in the Swinford Local Electoral Area this May.

    Aontú was founded by former Sinn Fein TD Peadar Toibin TD.

    Tommy Horan is a Family Support and Community Development Worker at Kilmovee Family Resource Centre and is also self employed running his own business.

    He has an extensive track record in community development and has always been actively involved, at local, county and national levels.

    Tommy has been the one of the driving forces behind the now well-known and busy social enterprise of Kilmovee Community Centre which incorporates social housing, all weather pitch, laundry, health centre, meeting rooms, Meals on Wheels and Heritage Centre.

    He serves on the Board of Mayo North East Leader which is responsible for Leader Funding (Rural Development Programme) in North and East Mayo. He has huge concerns that the current programmes funding has been slashed which is another hit at Rural Mayo.

  • Amid speculation of an early general election, Aontú has selected Paul Lawless as they party's candidate in Mayo for the next election.

    Aontú Mayo held its selection convention last night in Castlebar, where Knock native Paul Lawless was nominated unanimously.

    Mr Lawless, a teacher at Ballyhaunis Community School, contested the local elections earlier this year, but was unsuccessful in getting elected to Mayo County Council.

    Mr Lawless says he's contesting the general election he feels there's a need to provide a voice for rural Ireland.

  • Sinn Fein's popularity has plummeted by five points according to a new opinion poll.

    It now leaves them 18 per cent behind leaders Fine Gael.

    After a promising surge in last month's poll, things seem to have changed dramatically for Sinn Fein.

    The latest Red C opinion poll for the Sunday Business Post has them at 13 per cent - a decrease of five points.

    It comes a fortnight after party leader Mary Lou McDonald posed behind a controversial banner reading "England get out of Ireland" at the St. Patrick's Day parade in New York.

    Meanwhile, support for Fine Gael is unchanged at 31 per cent, while Fianna Fáil are on 25, up one point.

    The Social Democrats, the Independent Alliance and the Green Party all sit on 3 per cent, with Solidarity-People Before Profit on two.

    The Independents and Labour are unchanged on 15 and 5 per cent respectively, while Renua and Peadar Tóibín's new party Aontú are on less than 1 per cent.