FIANNA Fáil’s decision to run three candidates in Bagenalstown for the May 2019 local elections has led to some disquiet within the party.
Long-standing councillor Arthur McDonald and new candidate Philip Gahan from Tinnahinch were selected at the party’s Bagenalstown convention back in December, but this week Fianna Fáil headquarters decided to add local businesses woman Josie Daly to the ticket. A native of Leighlinbridge, Josie runs Kiddies Kingdom, the well-known children’s indoor play centre in Bagenalstown.
“It came out of the blue,” admitted cllr McDonald when contacted by The Nationalist yesterday (Monday). “But look, it is what it is and I’ll just have to get on with it. It’s their decision to make and I just have to put up with it,” he added.
Cllr McDonald questioned the decision to run three candidates in the five-seat Bagenalstown Municipal District, while areas with larger populations like Tullow with six seats remain with just two FF candidates.
“It’s hard to understand … I’ve no problem, but it is hard to understand. Maybe it’s a gender balance thing, I don’t know. But look, it’s always difficult to get elected in Bagenalstown. This puts added pressure on me, but I’ve always increased my vote,” said cllr McDonald, who was first elected to the local council in 1991.
Ms Daly this week expressed her enthusiasm and interest in entering the world of local politics. “It’s a challenge, but I am looking forward to it. Hopefully I can bring something different. I’m a woman and I’m not afraid of hard work, that’s for sure,” Ms Daly told The Nationalist.
“I am honoured to have been added to the Fianna Fáil ticket for the Muinebheag Electoral Area. I am acutely aware of the many challenges facing the people of this area and I believe I can work for these people and help to bring about real and meaningful change,” she added.
Ms Daly has been involved with sporting clubs in the local area for many years, from coaching teams to positions on various committees. She worked tirelessly to bring the much-vaunted Superbowl in Leighlinbridge to fruition. Married to David, the couple have three sons, Conor, Jason and Shane.
Fellow newcomer Philip Gahan has been living in St Mullins for the past 18 years. A member of the defence forces for the past 22 years, he is married to Caroline and the couple have two sons.
“I’m really looking forward to getting going,” he said. “Our area needs strong representation on the council and I’m prepared to do that,” he added.
Mr Gahan said that his interest in community involvement stems from his mother Maura, a very active member of Tinnahinch Residents’ Association for the past 40 years. Mr Gahan spearheaded the area’s recent successful allocation of funding through the town and village renewal scheme.