Galway city Cllr Pearse Flannery is hopeful his progressive stance on animal rights and human rights will help win support in the Seanad Elections for the NUI panel.
Cllr Flannery is the sole Fine Gael candidate on the NUI panel. He initially entered the political arena in 2014 where he secured a seat for Fine Gael on Galway City Council at the first attempt gaining the highest first preference vote of any Fine Gael candidate across the city.
Since his election to City Council in 2014, Cllr Flannery has been to the fore in driving the formation of some contentious policies including driving strong animal welfare bylaws, including banning live animal circuses in Galway and providing support for Madra to take all unwanted and stray dogs in Galway City into their care.
He also led the charge when he proposed the highly controversial motion that ensured the provision by Galway City Council of the necessary finance to enable Galway’s LGBT group AMACH open their long awaited outreach centre.
He has been equally outspoken regarding the management and governance of Leisureland and resigned from the board late last year in protest at being overruled by the council executive in policy decisions.
Seats on the NUI panel are traditionally taken by independent candidates. According to Pearce Flannery “ This has traditionally been a weakness in the Seanad makeup, as independents are excluded from policy formation and are invariably left powerless, commenting on policy after the fact. I have the agreement of the Fine Gael party and have their clear mandate to become hugely involved in the formation of policy and I will be a strong voice driving a reform agenda”.
Fine Gael last formally contested the NUI panel for Seanad Eireann in 1981 with the famous victory of James Dooge who was immediately appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs by the then Taoiseach Garrett Fitzgerald.