It may have been the worst kept secret in Galway politics, but this week Fianna Fáil officially confirmed what the city’s political watchers and what this column has been saying for months - Peter Keane will run for the party in Galway City West.
Mr Keane, a 36-year-old solicitor living in Taylor’s Hill, was widely tipped as the party’s candidate since the end of last year.
“I have had a political interest all my life,” he told the Galway Advertiser. “I was never directly involved in the party but my family always had Fianna Fáil tendencies.”
It is not certain if Mr Keane will have a running mate or if he will be the party’s sole candidate in the ward. Either way, he acknowledges that he will not have it easy given the current climate of recession and the severe lack of public confidence in the Fianna Fáil leadership.
“I am conscious of what’s down the line,” he says. “I am willing to listen to people’s concerns and attempt to address them. I won’t leave any stone unturned.”
Like many, Mr Keane is unimpressed by the bickering and petty point scoring that often plagues city council meetings and if elected, he says he will try yo help change that.
“I’m very disappointed by the performance of the councillors at the council meetings,” he says. “I can’t understand how they cannot sit down and get to work instead of this tit-for-tat carry on.”
Every new candidate says this. Why should voters believe Mr Keane can make any difference?
“Every day in my legal life I deal with problem solving,” he says. “I feel I have the people skills to listen to the various concerns, bring it through the various channels, and get it sorted. I feel I can make that difference.”
Recently comments were incorrectly attributed to Mr Keane to the effect that after a recent canvass of The Claddagh, 95 per cent of people in the Claddagh were satisfied with the education cuts and abolishing medical cards. However this is incorrect.
“Those comments were incorrectly attributed to me as I did not say 95 per cent of people in the Claddagh were satisfied with the medical card situation and the education cuts,” says Mr Keane. “People in the Claddagh know I didn’t say that.
An issue in the Claddagh is how the old lead pipes on people’s property can be replaced and connected to the main piping system.
“I have raised real concerns about the contamination of the water and how it is to be rectified,” says Mr Keane. “They want to know how the water will get from the ‘gate to the kitchen tap’. I am calling for some sort of scheme on financial assistance to be available to people to allow this work be done. I will be raising the matter with Minister Éamon Ó Cuív and Dep Frank Fahey.”