*Oliver Garry with Pat Breen and Cllr Johnny Flynn. Photograph c/o Cllr Johnny Flynn
Former councillor Oliver Garry has withdrawn his name from the ballot paper for the local elections on May 24th.
“Family and personal reasons” have been cited by Garry in his decision to pull out of the race. Elected to the Council in 2004, Oliver retained his seat in 2009 but the merger of North and West Clare proved to be his downfall in 2014, despite polling higher than Ian Lynch, Bill Chambers and Gabriel Keating all three overtook him as he lost out on a place in the eight seat electoral area.
It comes as a setback for Fine Gael who received a boost when the Kildysart man agreed to contest the election alongside Cllr Gabriel Keating and Mike Taylor. “The Kilrush electoral area goes from Loop Head to Ballyea near Ennis so in the south part that constituency there was very little representation. A lot of my constituents would have asked me to get involved again and I decided I would and for that reason I put my name forward but circumstances changed so I wasn’t able to continue with it. We’re hopeful of getting somebody for Fine Gael in the area”.
“Since 2014 it has, I always hoping to get back into the political end of it again but obviously it wasn’t to happen,” Oliver told The Clare Echo. Reflecting on how he went from being the first elected candidate in 2009 to losing his seat five years later, he pointed to the increased area and reduced amount of seats.
Although he is confident, the party will be able to source a replacement candidate, he is aware Cllr PJ Kelly was unable to convince six different individuals in Lissycasey and beyond to go forward for the campaign. “I was in the same position as well, I tried quite a few people too. There is very little interest in politics out there for some reason it is more or less a pressurising job and nearly a full time job if you get elected unless you’re self employed and you can alter your times to suit meetings and all that. Outside of that, a lot of people are shying away from it for the simple reason they cannot get time off work to attend meetings and not every job will suit that”.
He is of the opinion that Fine Gael will need a third candidate if it is to be a successful campaign for them. “We’re hoping to get two seats in the West Clare area. The two candidates that are there are based in the very west of the Kilrush electoral area, they’d have to spread their wings a bit to get votes on the south part of that constituency”.
The Clare Echo this week features a 24 page special on the local elections with the countdown well and truly underway.