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Speakers’ Corner: Elaine Willis


With campaigning already underway for May 24th’s local elections, we’ve asked each of those running to answer five simple questions about where they’ve been, where they’re at, and where they hope to take us all.

Especially given that they’ve all agreed to keep our town and village centres free from campaign posters.

Day by day, each entry will be given the floor, unedited, to express their plans and hopes, their dreams and schemes.

And to keep it fair, we’re doing this alphabetically. So, next up is Elaine Willis, the Fianna Fáil girl who’s long been holding the fort for Stephen Donnelly and is now ready to stand on her own two feet.

Take it away, Elaine…

What inspired you to become involved in local politics? Was there a Road To District Council moment…?
I’ve always been involved with the community – with the schools, the festivals, the Chamber of Commerce and as a local business person. In my work as Constituency Manager for Stephen Donnelly TD, I’ve been helping individuals, families, community groups and businesses. This has given me a greater understanding of the needs of the public and it has been given me great job satisfaction dealing with the public on a daily basis. I love the work and the community. It occurred to me that were I elected as a Councillor I’d be able to do more, be more effective.

Of your work so far, are there particular achievements that you are particularly proud of?
I’ve worked with a lot of great local people over the years. Most recently in areas like housing, schools, finance, health, sports clubs, and local issues. I can’t speak about individual cases obviously, but we’ve had some great wins for the area. Securing the Greystones Community National School was one, by stomping the pavements with a petition. Saving Carrig Eden for Tiglin and assisting people getting housed. I am very happy with my work over the years with Greystones & District Chamber of Commerce representing the business community and with my work with festivals.

Looking forward, what are the main goals that you would like to achieve over the coming years?
When I look at the Greystones Municipal District, what I see is potential. We all know it’s a fantastic place – and huge credit goes to the community, and community groups over the years. Great credit goes too to previously elected councilor’s, and to the team of officials from Wicklow County Council. So, what’s next?
We’re working hard on school places – both extensions for St. David’s, , Colaiste Chraobh Abhann and Temple Carrig, and fast-tracking of a new secondary school. We’re pushing for better public transport links, including Dart & bus – and we’re looking for a multi-story option for the park-and-ride (you heard it here first!). We need to protect our coastal facilities. The North Beach has been largely lost to the community for years now, the Cove is popular but will soon be overlooked by apartments (which is putting a lot of people off), so the South Beach needs to be protected at all costs! Affordable housing is key. And local jobs – something we’ve been on for years now. The new commercial development by Cairns is full of potential, and we’ve already been engaging with them about a tech hub. We need more assisted living accommodation, so the town remains accessible for everyone. And then there’s the sports – it’s a fiercely fit town, and we need to ensure our wonderful clubs have every support we can get them, so they can continue to thrive. The future – with a little focus and a lot of work – looks very bright indeed!

To turn a fine Mayor Quimby quote into a question, ask not what you can do for your county, but what you can do for Greystones?
Plan one – Continue to help individuals, families, groups and businesses, as they need our help. Plan two – Work on that list above, helping the district go from strength to strength. Working directly with a TD makes it much easier to help people and the town generally – it means we have access to State bodies, and individuals and groups who can help the town. Being elected a councillor would of course help enormously in getting things done – I’ve been working with Wicklow County Council Officials for seven years now, and there are a lot of good people there who can help us greatly in the coming years.

If being a politician doesn’t work out, have you got a Career B in mind? Dancer? Magician? Traffic warden…?
Keep doing the job I am currently doing – or Plan C – live in the Bahamas!

You can find out more about Elaine Willis on Facebook here, and Twitter here, or you can get in touch directly on elainewillisff@gmail.com or 0857041865.

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