Inagh’s Roisin Garvey was one of two candidates unveiled by The Green Party on Thursday to contest the 2019 local elections in Clare.
She will run in the Ennistymon electoral area which covers North Clare while Barry O’Donovan will seek a seat in the Killaloe Municipal District. Roisin’s area is newly created and she’s hopeful it will lead to the election of a new councillor. “It’s a new electoral area so officially there’s no candidates in North Clare, three of our sitting councillors live in that geographical area and I think the three of them are running. There’s definitely space for a new one. A lot of things have changed not just our climate, things are changing all the time. I think I have the energy and the dynamic commitment to keep up with that change and represent people well in North Clare”.
Originally a candidate for the party in the 2016 General Election, Garvey withdrew from the race citing family commitments as she helped her son, Corrán prepare for his Leaving Certificate. Two years later, she’s back in politics while he has headed off to college. The single mother spoke of her pride at how he has fared.
“I’ve been a single mother for quite some time. Since I got pregnant with him I said I was going to run for him, it’s their legacy we’re talking about here. He just did a really good Leaving Cert and moved to college so now is my time. I’m very proud of him, he’s gone off studying Energy & Engineering at GMIT ironically, he loves the course and he made the college basketball team so I really feel now is a good time for me that he’s set up”.
While she is seeking to become a councillor for the first time, being in the Council Chamber would be nothing new for the forty five year old whose father Flan was a Fianna Fáil representative on the local authority from 1985 to 2009. “When we grew up we used to get a lift home from him and once a month on a Monday evening we’d sit in the Council chamber myself and my twin sister Sinead and we’d sit there for an entire Council meeting waiting for a lift home, we did that for five years so I’ve seen a lot and I know a lot about how local authorities work and I’m dying to get involved”.
At present there are three female councillors, Roisin is adamant that figure needs to increase. “When half of the population are female and three of the thirty six are female, the idea of a local candidate is to represent the people and it probably would be easier to represent half the constituents if there were more women involved, it doesn’t have to be fifty fifty or anything like that, it would be nice to have more of a gender balance, in West Clare we’ve eight men at the moment, we only have three women and they’re only in Ennis, we’ve no women in Shannon, Killaloe or West Clare”.
A past-pupil of Inagh N.S. and Colaiste Muire, Roisin for the past ten years has worked with schools across the county as part of the Green Schools programme ran by An Taisce. She mentions that several students she has dealt with in the past decade have since gone on to study environmental at third level.
When asked by The Clare Echo if there is a strong Green community in North Clare to elect her, she responds, “I don’t think I need a green community, I need a good community who understand we are facing huge challenges and really the solutions are all about up skilling and empowering people to be ready. If we’re ready to admit the climate has changed and there’s going to be more flooding and more storms we need to be prepared for that, we don’t want to keep putting things back and putting a plaster on the wounds everytime something is wrecked, we need to look at things and upskill.
“There’s huge issues around mental health, social isolation and things I think the Greens have solutions to. When you read every party’s policies that’s when I decided the Green Party has the best policies not just on environment but on supporting communities with having a proper vision for the future, other parties seem to be thinking very short-term, possibly about the next election but the Greens aren’t like that, they seem to be more altruistic in their thinking about long-term solutions,” Garvey who has rejoined the party on two separate occasions added.