*Ian Lynch. Photograph: Martin Connolly
Having narrowly retained his place on Clare County Council, Ian Lynch has urged Fianna Fáil to continue the power sharing agreement that has existed with the local authority for the past fifteen years.
With the Independents losing two seats following the retirements of Christy Curtin and James Breen, their presence is not as strong. However Roisin Garvey of the Greens may join their alliance and Lynch is hopeful Fianna Fáil who added an extra seat will not seek to try take control of the local authority.
“I know Fianna Fáil have the higher number and they might try form a technical group but I wouldn’t like to see that happen. I’d like to see power sharing across the three different groupings, we’re all there for the one county, having come from a party I know party politics, we have to make sure we work together as a unit. If there’s no clashes, we’re doing something wrong. I hope a mix of how it works won’t affect it and that decisions will be made on the merit, not because one particular party wanted it and the other didn’t,” he told The Clare Echo.
In the space of five years, the Kilrush councillor lost 192 votes which he outlined did not come as a major surprise. “I was late out of the traps and I had personal hard luck, we had a funeral which would have took time out of it and took me a while to get my head back into it, I hadn’t the people met on the ground so we knew we were going to be in trouble, we thought we might have been battling for the fourth but not the fifth seat, we got over the line. I have to give credit to Joseph Woulfe, a first time Independent candidate, a phenomenal campaign, the big difference was Miltown were afraid they were going to lose and they came out and voted for him, he got huge votes in his own area and that’s what it is about, he ran a nice and clean campaign, the same for Violet-Anne Wynne, Mike Taylor and Noreen Lynch. It was a lot to learn, it was the first campaign I did where I lost two stone and that was just at the count”.
On the campaign trail Ian was surprised people did not understand the difference between a TD and a councillor. No such shock came from the strength of parties throughout the county. “The parties have come back strong, the Independent vote is hard to get now, it’s fine in a localised area but to get the spread across the place. If you’re a Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil candidate you’re aligned to the party and the vote is everywhere whereas if you’re an Independent candidate in Kilrush you’re a Kilrush candidate and the same in Miltown. I watched the other candidates and what they’ve done, I wouldn’t always be one for putting myself forward, if I do something it’s because it is the right thing to do and I don’t like the fanfare around doing but you have to tell the people the work you’re doing, what happens if you don’t other people will take the credit for it and we had a good campaign around that. We got across the line, we learned a lot and we’ve a lot of notes taken so we’re gearing up for the next one in five years time”.
He is confident the election of Cillian Murphy (FF) will lead to a strong dynamic alongside experienced councillors PJ Kelly (FF), Bill Chambers (FF) and Gabriel Keating (FG) in West Clare. “There is a good mix of the old heads with the knowledge, myself and Cillian have good synergy, we worked quite well on previous projects like Scattery Island, we didn’t do it on our own, we had Scattery Island Ferries and the Heritage Group but we work well together, we have a good vision but we will clash on a few things when it comes to tourism, Cillian is very big into sustainability, we’re only getting going with our industry in Kilrush, North Clare has seen it too where the tic tac of each other”.