*Cllr David Griffin & Cllr Antoinette Baker Bashua. Photograph: Joe Buckley
NEWLY elected Cllr Antoinette Baker Bashua (FF) says the success of “really strong candidates” in the Ennis Municipal District could lead to alterations of the contentious Ennis 2040 strategy.

Antoinette took the fourth of seven seats in the Ennis MD after polling 1,168 in her first run for politics.

Reacting to her election, Antoinette told The Clare Echo, “I’m Cllr Baker Bashua wow! We did an awful lot of hard work, we knocked on a lot of doors, we did a fantastic social media campaign right down to the ads in the paper, the front page thanks to The Clare Echo they were amazing”.

Constituents found Baker Bashua to be very on the canvass, possibly because she was not flanked by seasoned campaigners. “Do you know what 99 percent of my canvassers were first-timers like myself, we’ve never been to a count before and we had never canvassed before that. We just took it that we were nice people, we were going to knock on the doors and ask people for their vote”.

She continued, “I remember my sister in February saying ‘you need to practice what you’re saying at the doors’ so in between doors we did our practice. By the time the end of March came along we knew whatever they were asking us that we would have the answers, you are the only one that caught me out in the debate”. This was in relation to her lack of information on the Ennis Data Centre.

So while she was running under the Fianna Fáil banner, voters looked beyond the party and in her case backed the person. “You need to be relatable as a councillor, I’m not saying councillors are not relatable but in my area we knew who our councillors are since we were really young but in the last few years Mark Nestor came and he was fantastic, if you had a problem he was there.

“I remember my mother asked him to do something which he couldn’t so he called down and as he was there he carried in the coal for her, he said to me he can’t really help but I told him he was helping and to remember that”.

Nestor’s election in 2019 lifted Cloughleigh, his exit from politics in November 2022 prompted the Hermitage woman to step up. “When he left I felt we really needed somebody so I asked Mary Heuston of Sláinte an Chláir, she said she knew someone and like a fool I fell into it and it was me. I went away, I thought about it and I said why not, we need someone in the Council and I’m strong enough to do it. The people came out in their droves and I can’t ask for anymore”.

She acknowledged both Cllr Pat Daly (FF) and Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) did raise issues in the locality following Mark’s exit. “Pat Daly did amazing in Cloughleigh and Drumbiggle, they know he is a safe pair of hands and so did Clare Colleran Molloy because she has been up there with issues, people respect that and that was a massive issue but the councillors are working on so many issues, we’ve seven strong councillors now”.

Big issues include plans for Abbey St and Parnell St car park as part of Ennis 2040, both of which she is opposed to. She said she know has a platform “to say what my views are, we do need to invest in our town but it has to be the right investment. There are four really strong candidates going in to try change their minds, we can only do our best”.

When asked if her own mind could be turned to back the Council Executive and Ennis 2040 DAC, she said, “not at all, no way, just ask them”.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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