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Renua’s first ever Clare candidate is confident of making a breakthrough for the party following Saturday’s General Election.

Conor O’Brien FACTFILE

Occupation – Law student
Family – I’m the eldest of five children
DOB – 23/03/64
Schools/Colleges Attended – Kilrush CBS, NUIG
Political CV – Member of Renua since 2017. Previously canvassed for Mary Mannion in 1992 election.
Top 3 priorities – Strength our families, strength our communities, strengthen our country.
Something the electorate don’t know about you – I enjoy playing golf and tennis.

A native of Kilrush, Conor decided to put his name forward for Renua Ireland in October to contest the General Election in Clare. However his interview with The Clare Echo is the first and most likely the only interview he has done. He said that he was unavailable to appear on Clare FM’s radio debates due to “ill health”.

“I did ask them to do it but they didn’t do it,” O’Brien stated when asked why Renua failed to promote their only candidate in the county through local media. Their failure to assist in getting his name out is a bone of contention with the law student. “It is frustrating, I thought they could have done a little bit more to help me get my name out there”.

Traditionally a voter for the Progressive Democrats, Conor did canvass for General Election candidates running for the PDs. He acknowledged that his team is much smaller than those he was a part of.

Since 2017, the Lahinch resident has been a member of Renua. He explained why he chose to join the party. “I support their policies, they are a good party overall and I think they have a good future in Irish politics”.

Founded a year previously by Eddie Hobbs, Lucinda Creighton and John Leahy, all of whom have since left the party, O’Brien maintained Renua will still have a big role in Irish politics. “It was a blow alright (to lose Creighton & Hobbs) but I think they are going to do very well in this election and in the coming years. It takes time for the message to get through to the electorate”.

On what makes him so sure, he added, “Their policies are very sound, they have good anti-crime policies, pro-family, pro-life policies which are very good”.

Despite having no elected representative in the Dáil, Seanad, or on any local authorities across the country, Renua was still able to avail of €258,595.96 in state funding in 2018. To qualify for such funding, a party must be registered in the Register of Political Parties and its candidates must attract no less than 2% of the total first preference votes obtained by all candidates at the most recent Dáil general election.

The weekend is a decisive one for the party but Conor is confident the weekend isn’t their final hurrah. “I think they are going to get more support over the coming years and they will be a major force in Irish politics in the future”.

Of why he put himself forward, the Macra na Féirme member outlined, “I’m interested in helping people, I would like to represent the people of Clare in the Dáil”. He did contemplate seeking the party’s nomination for last year’s local election but didn’t pursue the matter.

From his canvassing to date, Conor admitted, “People weren’t too sure of the party, it has taken a while for them to get used to the message”. Nonetheless, he is of the view that his low profile will not hold him back. “I think I can cause an upset”. He concluded, “I think I understand people, I understand their problems and I would like to fight for the people of Clare, I think I can make a breakthrough for the party”.

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