*Joseph Woulfe. Photograph: Martin Connolly
Joseph Woulfe’s first entry into politics caused quite the stir with the Quilty farmer coming 184 votes shy of causing the shock of the election.
“I loved every minute probably not losing it but every other part of it. I’m very excited by how many people came out and voted for me, it’s a big vote to finish with 1299 so you couldn’t be sad about that,” the Quilty farmer told The Clare Echo of his campaign which began in April.
He added, “The whole lot was a lesson, it was my first time ever doing it. I only tackled into it about a month ago, it was all new but a lot of building blocks were there, being known with people being self-employed for 17 years and knowing that whole area, it all stands to you. I have an unusual name Woulfe, if you heard it once you don’t forget it”.
Certainly the Woulfe name is now known in the Clare political bubble with political parties taking note of the thirty six year old as he topped the poll in Connolly, Cree, Miltown Malbay, Mullagh and Quilty.
According to the farmer, there is now concern in Miltown Malbay as the area has no representative on the local authority. “Christy Curtin’s retirement sent a shockwave through that area, they had Christy and Michael Hillery living in Miltown Malbay, it’s going to be quite a shock to the area and it backs up the point that voting is so important, everyone should get out and vote. I’m only out by a small amount, 185 people that’s not a lot”.
Clare’s Chairperson of the Beef Plan will continue to speak up for farmers in the county and will put his name forward again for election if necessary. “I’ll do whatever is needed. Rural areas need a voice and I’m there for them”.
“It’s all connected, you might not see it at first light but quite quickly you will see it. It’s like the post offices going, the pubs and I threw the idea of pubs operating as cafes too, becoming a restaurant would be a big step but people want to socialise they genuinely do. When you walk into pubs, it tends to be a lot of men, there’s a lot of women out there too half the population is female. To be down in Cree or Quilty having a cup of tea with your friends and soulmates is a great thing to do”.
Voters need to be informed better when it comes to boundary changes and he felt Clare County Council could have done more in this area. “It is hard to tell would I have got in if I started earlier because the area has changed, a lot of people even though I canvassed them believed I was in the wrong area. I think there is an onus on the Council as a mark of respect to them people that if the area changes write to them, there is no good giving a polling card in the last week when they’re supposed to be voting and they find out they are looking at the wrong candidates. That’s on Clare County Council but it probably swings back to Government, why are they tactically doing these changes”.