*Photograph: Boru Tri Club
For the fourth local election in succession, Tony O’Brien will put his name forward for the people of the Killaloe Municipal District.
As it stands, he is the sole councillor from East Clare’s largest town. According to the 2016 Census, Killaloe had a population of 1,484, O’Brien is adamant he needs to remain on as their represenative. “It’s vital that we have a voice on the local authority, I always consider Killaloe the town and East Clare as the gateway to the rest of the county. I’ve seen for years a lot of statutory funding going to the places like the Cliffs of Moher, the Wild Atlantic Way and I’ve no objection to that but Co Clare is only six kilometres from the M7 motorway coming in across the bridge at Ballina into Killaloe and if we are to boost economic development and retain our youths and our job in the east of the county, it’s vitally important we have a voice on the local authority”.
“I’m saying to the people the voice should be Tony O’Brien, I work diligently on behalf of the communities right across the Killaloe electoral area, I’ll stand on my work ethic and my commitment to the community, I’m a community person and based on that I’ll speak to the people. I’m living in the community, I’m available to all groups, organisations and the voluntary sector, I have been involved in a number of local voluntary organisations and still am, I will continue to serve the community as long as they want me,” he told The Clare Echo.
An elected councillor in 2004 and 2014, Tony lost his seat in 2009 when the Scariff District was added into the Killaloe MD and Fianna Fáil ran three as opposed to four candidates. For next year, the party have backed O’Brien along with Cllr Alan O’Callaghan and Cllr Pat Hayes to secure their seats. “In 2009 if I remember correctly it was a six seater and I think that was one of the factors that you would run four candidates in a six seater. There was also mitigating factors at the time, we were going through a huge economic downturn”.
His two successful elections were greatly assisted by the transfers from his then party colleague Michael Begley (2004) and Liam Wiley (2014). The Bus Éireann employee will now be reliant on other party candidates along with Hayes and O’Callaghan in his bid to retain his seat for the first time. “My campaign started when I was elected in 2014, I’ve been working very hard on behalf of the constituents of the Killaloe electoral area right across the constituency over the past four years, I’m hopeful that work will pay off and I will receive their support. I will be looking to my colleagues and others for their numbers twos if people have committed their first preference vote to another candidate, I will certainly ask them to transfer to me wherever possible”.