ATHY councillor Brian Dooley, Veralouise Behan and Emmet Kane have been selected to run as Fianna Fáil candidates for the Athy Local Electoral Area (LEA) in the local elections on Friday 24 May 2019.
The three candidates were selected at a convention at the Clanard Court Hotel in Athy on Monday 4 February, chaired by TD Brendan Smith and attended by Kildare South TD Fiona O’Loughlin. The number of seats available in the Athy area has been reduced from six to five.
“We have three excellent candidates – they each have unique talents and strengths, but together they make a winning team,” Deputy O’Loughlin told the Kildare Nationalist. “I certainly look forward to working with them over the next few months.”
Castledermot-based Emmet Kane is looking forward to the campaign, an opportunity to focus on the rural part of the constituency and particularly Castledermot, and to represent an area he believes has been forgotten about. Castledermot, he says, hasn’t had a county councillor since the early ’80s when the late Labour councillor Mick Cullen represented the area. “When he lost the seat, Castledermot hasn’t had representation ever since,” he said. “And it’s been basically neglected by Kildare Co Council as a result because it’s so far down in the county.”
If the election goes well, he said he will seek to represent both urban and rural Castledermot and others such as Moone, Kilkea and others. “It will be an interesting campaign,” he noted, highlighting the reduced number of seats and Fianna Fáil councillor Martin Miley’s decision to retire from politics.
Cllr Brian Dooley has represented Athy Municipal District since late 2018, having filled former councillor Mark Dalton’s vacant seat. Explaining that he has enjoyed his time as a representative so far, he said that he is delighted, honoured and privileged to have been selected as a candidate. Cllr Dooley raised several issues of concern in the area, including employment (both keeping jobs and creating new positions), infrastructural issues such as the Southern Distributor Road which he says will be a massive boost for the town, socio-economic issues including housing, and broadband in south Kildare.
“I can’t wait to get going,” he said, noting that his favourite part about politics is canvassing. “We’ll see what happens in May.”
A range of priorities have also been identified by Veralouise Behan from Maganey, who said that she is grateful to be in a position to run for election as a Fianna Fáil candidate. Her key priorities, she explained, will be reinforcing positive social behaviour (particularly among younger people) improving infrastructure, supporting the development of town centre properties to attract tourism and business and provide residential accommodation, addressing rural isolation, a dedicated running track for Athy and seeing a playground in Castledermot come to fruition, and working closely with and ensuring resources are made available for community groups.
“I hope people will come out and vote for me in May,” she said, “as I hope to win the seat and represent south Kildare.”
“I think geographically, gender-wise and with their talents we have a really, really strong team going forward,” Deputy O’Loughlin said of the three candidates.
The Kildare South TD also took the opportunity to wish Cllr Martin Miley the very best, noting that he leaves behind an “incredible legacy” in his work for south Kildare. “As a person, he always struck me – he had a very strong sense of self and a very strong pride of place,” she said. “And both of those elements combined make for a really good public representative.”