*Michael Shannon celebrates. Photograph: Joe Buckley

HE BIDED his time to return to politics but Cllr Michael Shannon (FF) grabbed the opportunity when it came before him.

Twenty years in from contesting the 2004 local elections where he polled 612 first preferences and was eliminated on the third count, Michael’s name was back on the ballot paper but this time he was going all the way.

Michael took the fifth and final seat in the Kilrush LEA. He was elected on the tenth count and secured 1,051 first preferences.

Speaking to The Clare Echo following his success, Michael said it was certainly worth the two decade wait. He paid tribute to his family, supporters, his canvassers, those who voted for him “and the people who believed in me”.

“It’s a lovely thing to happen someone that you are chosen by the people to be one of five representatives for West Clare but is bittersweet because we lost a colleague, I hope Cillian (Murphy) will be back again, he is a young man, he was a full-time councillor and a fantastic councillor for West Clare but unfortunately that is the way counts go”.

Falling victim to the count is something Shannon had prior experience of. “Twenty years ago I probably wasn’t at the races but it stood to me this time because I learned so much, I bided my time because I had to. An opportunity only comes around now and again, you have to recognise it when it does, you have to have patience in politics like us waiting at the count for two days. I spoke to you last December when Rita won the co-option for Bill Chambers’ seat and my message is still the same, it is about getting people back into West Clare I want to encourage the youth back to West Clare, to our town lands and to accommodate these young people to contribute to our communities”.

Building a strong future for the young people of West Clare is something that the Aer Lingus clerical officer is conscious of given that his three young sons Andrew, Niall and Ross all aged in their mid twenties and lower. They were keen spectators in the count centre and may have caught the political bug given rise to the potential of a new political dynasty, such a scenario is quickly rebuffed by Michael, “tonight is our first night, I’m only elected and we’re starting the foundation”.

Given that he waited for the opportunity, Michael said he “will grab it with both hands”. He added, “we need to sit down as new West Clare councillors and outline what our priorities are. We will have broadband infrastructure in the next two to three years all over West Clare but we need the regional roads upgraded and in my view we’ll need to look for a special package to get the roads upgraded, to take out the dangerous bends and we have dangerous junctions, we need to address those. If we have roads and broadband we are halfway there but we need the investment in the roads”.

Shannon was very appreciative of persons who travelled back from different counties and some from England to give him their vote. He singled out Tom Daly who voted on the way home from hospital. “It takes that commitment from a community to get me to where I am now or to get any councillor elected”.

Flanked by Therese Doohan (FG) and Joseph Woulfe (II) in the parish of Kilmurry Ibrickane it made things very competitive on his home turf. The predication of ex Mayor, Patrick Keane (FF) on The Electoral Chair that the one of the trio which polled highest would be elected came to fruition.

Both Doohan and Woulfe were “fantastic candidates,” Michael said. “Joey ran five years ago and had a very strong performance, this time he had a good performance but it wasn’t as good as before. Therese had a fantastic performance for a first time candidate, she did an excellent canvass and I knew I was under savage pressure because we had a late entry into the field in Dinny Gould and he was the first elected”.

When travelling to the second day of the count, Michael admitted he was “apprehensive” but told his family to expect movement by the sixth or seventh count. Indeed it was the sixth count when Doohan was eliminated that he powered away from his party colleagues Alan Troy (FF) and Cillian Murphy (FF) to take the final seat.

One of the largest parishes in the Diocese of Killaloe, it is 1999 since Kilmurry Ibrickane had a voice on the Council, that being the late Pa Joe Burke (IND).

Having a representative on the Council will help Kilmurry Ibrickane but also Michael’s native Miltown Malbay, he said while pointing out Kilmaley, Cranny, Labasheeda, Kilmurry McMahon, Kildysart and Ballyea won’t be left behind. “All the people there need to be represented, it is a big task and probably a full-time task but I am up for the challenge, I am delighted to be chosen by the people, over 11,000 voted and I’d encourage the youth to continue to come out, the youth in my family and parish have engaged in it and they have seen the process and how the courts work, they have seen first-hand how important every vote is”.

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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.

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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