*Mark Nestor celebrates surrounded by friends and family. Photograph: Martin Connolly
Sunday’s election of Mark Nestor to the Ennis Municipal District on the eighth count means that at 27 years of age he is the youngest councillor in Clare.
Across the board, Nestor gathered votes in each polling station across the Ennis MD amassing his biggest amount in his native Cloughleigh. Though he could sense a warmth on the doors from people towards a new candidate, he didn’t expect to receive a first preference vote of 1,211 as he revealed to The Clare Echo in the moments after his election was announced.
“I’m absolutely over the moon. During the week we didn’t think we were going to get there, we would have been very happy if we got the 600 or 700 votes but when we came into the hall here on Saturday and the first count came out with 1211 we were absolutely over the moon. We knew on the doorsteps that there was a lot of goodwill, kind wishes and helpfulness from the people and we were hopeful that if that goodwill came out in the boxes we would have a little squeak. Thankfully the goodwill from the people of Ennis came out in it’s abundance and it was enough to get us over the line, so I’m delighted with that”.
Ex TD and Minister for Defence Tony Killeen noted at the count centre that the success of Mark, Shane Talty and Cillian Murphy would bring “a little less grey” to Fianna Fáil. According to Nestor, it shows the party have found a new lease of life in Clare.
“It’s very important that Fianna Fáil can go back to the people and show the people of the county that there is a new young generation willing to take up the gauntlet to work with those that have been elected that after several years of experience and to carry on working on behalf of the county for the people of the county”.
Current Fianna Fáil TD, Timmy Dooley who was an active figure behind Mark’s campaign revealed to The Clare Echo that the biggest challenge was getting the young candidate to put up posters, a move which resulted in criticism from the people of Ennis.
“As controversial and all as they were, when it comes to politics there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Timmy was right I was very reluctant to put them up but realistically once I moved out of my own area people didn’t know me and we said we could spend weeks on a canvass knocking on doors and we could go absolutely nowhere. I reluctantly agreed to put them up, we took the stick for a week or so but after that the feedback I was getting on the doors regarding the posters was very positive and people said ‘fair play you had the bravery to go against the grain and do everything in your power to get elected to represent the people of the Ennis area’,” the NUIG graduate stated.
Now that he has his foot in the door of Clare County Council, the son of Kathleen Nestor and the late Jimmy Brohan is keen to deliver on the four pillars of his campaign, education, business, the Irish language and mental health. “In terms of the Irish language, we’re hoping to finish up our strategy and development plan for the town of Ennis and have that submitted to Foras na Gaeilge over the next couple of weeks and hopefully we will get working on that. Unfortunately the one thing I’ve lost on this weekend because of the election is the Fleadh Nua, something that was very central to my campaign in terms of business was to promote festivals like the Fleadh Nua into larger national and international festivals, from 2020 the Fleadh Nua is moving to the busy June bank holiday weekend, hopefully we’ll be able to build on that and bring a large festival to the town of Ennis and help promote the business in the town of Ennis”.