*Hilary Tonge. Photograph: Martin Molloy

A NEW COUNTY committee has been appointed by the Social Democrats as they prepare for the 2024 local elections.

Activities in Clare will now be overseen by the new committee as the party bids to elect a representative in the county for the first time.

Killaloe’s Garry Miley has been elected as Chairperson, Feakle based Bernhard Rohrer is Vice Chairperson with Ennis duo Hilary Tonge and Peadar Ó Rathaille taking the roles of Secretary and Treasurer respectively.

“It’s a very exciting time to be a Social Democrat,” said SETU lecturer Miley. “After Holly Cairns’ success at national level, the momentum behind the Social Democrats is phenomenal. Ordinary people are beginning to realise that there’s a political party out there that represents their interests,” he added.

Hilary who is very active with the Mná ag Gáire group in Ennis stated, “It’s great to see young people, especially young women, getting behind a political group. There’s a lot of frustration out there with the current political leadership, both at national and local level, especially on quality-of-life issues. This is an area which affects women in particular and it’s one which the Social Democrats will be focusing on in the coming months”.

County Chairperson Miley is a lecturer in architecture at South East Technological University. He also has many years’ experience in architectural practice in Ireland and New York, in both the public and private sectors. He has a particular interest in the planning and education systems.

Hilary Tonge is a psychotherapist and life coach who has also been heavily involved with the Mid-West Hospital Campaign.

Both officers are viewed as potential candidates for next year’s local elections. The party is currently going through the process of choosing candidates for the local elections and expect to finalise their selections in the coming months.

“We have some strong, enthusiastic candidates lined up for next year’s elections but we’re always looking for new people,” the Chairman added.

For the 2019 local elections, the Social Democrats ran three candidates, Betty Walsh (SD) in the Shannon MD who secured 479 first preference votes, Beckha Doyle (SD) who amassed 198 numbers ones in the Killaloe MD and Chris Kirwan (SD) in the Ennis MD who polled 172 first preferences.

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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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