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No great surprises last night as Fine Gael announced their candidates for May’s local elections, with young Mitchell staying on, and Alice O’Donnell stepping up to take the seat vacated by her friend, Grainne McLoughlin.
Fair play to Derek for getting into the ring once again, despite a misguided Open Forum lynch mob calling for his blood recently.
Over something that, it would very much appear, the man didn’t actually do.
Still, something for the mild-mannered Alice to look forward to.
Given that there may be one or two Greystonians out there wondering, who the heck is Alice, here’s a little history…
Having stepped down from her chairperson role after eight years at Triple A Alliance in April, 2017, Ms O’Donnell has been heavily involved in local community projects ever since whilst also taking on the role of local area rep for Fine Gael in recent years. In April of last year, Alice was also appointed the town’s Peace Commissioner.
A native of Portlaoise, O’Donnell has lived here for more than 20 years. During her early years in Greystones, she worked with a small group – which included former town councillor Margaret O’Callaghan – to keep the walkway between Heathervue and Hillside Road open. “We collected signatures and petitioned the council to upgrade the walkway, to put in lighting, an improved surface and CCTV to reduce anti-social behaviour. That walkway is used by a huge number of people every day. As well as encouraging walking and cycling, it is a shortcut to our great sports facilities on Mill Road”.
Politics can be bruising but, O’Donnell says, she is ready to take on the challenge. “By nature, I am a positive person; when I see a problem, I work to find a solution. I work well with others and hope to continue to do that in order to achieve improvements for the Greystones, Kilcoole, Delgany and Newcastle area.
“We have seen a lot of development here in recent years and we need to have the infrastructure to match. I will advocate for better community facilities, improvements in public transport, roads and safe routes to school for our children. I want to see the excellent sports facilities that we have maintained and expanded. I look forward to working towards making Greystones a more inclusive place for everyone to live in. I also want to see more jobs locally to reduce travel time and increase quality of life.
“I think that the people who live in our area and who raise their families here deserve to be consulted about decisions that will affect their lives. My work with the Public Participation Network really showed me the value of people having their say. Communities work better when we listen to each other. I have also learnt a lot about the importance of good planning through my involvement with Delgany Community Council.
“I believe that climate change will be a big issue both locally and nationally in the next elections. We need to act now, our plans must have short term actions as well as long term planning. While people can make changes at an individual level there is a need for real leadership in terms of sustainable planning and alternative sources of energy.
“I have been really encouraged by the support of my family and friends, in particular Simon Harris and outgoing councillor, Gráinne McLoughlin, who nominated me at the selection meeting last night. I am looking forward to meeting as many residents as I can before the election on May 24th. If I am successful in getting a seat on the council, I will work hard to represent everyone as fairly as I can.”
Thanks to, eh, Alice O’Donnell for help with this article. You can follow Fine Gael’s latest candidate on Facebook here, or get in touch directly on email@example.com.