As polling day fast approaches, the local election campaigns of Athlone Fine Gael candidates, Cllr. John Dolan and Alan Shaw took centre stage at the Shamrock Lodge Hotel on Monday night.
Keynote speaker at the launch was Minister for Rural and Community Development, who outlined the many fine qualities of both candidates and spoke about current Government priorities, informing those in attendance that he had never previously launched the campaign of a candidate who did not subsequently win an election seat.
Current Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council, Cllr. John Dolan, runs his family farm, while Alan Shaw is a former member of Athlone Town Council and works as a Chief Financial Officer. Minister Ring spoke of the important and responsible role played by Fine Gael public representatives in the Athlone area down through the years.
He paid tribute to local Senator, Gabrielle McFadden for keeping Athlone on the map at national level and referenced in particular her leadership in obtaining funding for urban regeneration projects in the town and her role in pioneering Destination Athlone during her time as Mayor of Athlone.
“It is essential that these two excellent candidates are elected so that we can continue to focus on improving and developing Athlone and surrounding areas for the benefit of all who live here,” Deputy Ring commented.
Speaking following the launch, Cllr. John Dolan, noted his determination to retain his seat on the local authority.
“With the local election boundary changes, I have unfortunately lost one third of my vote, but with a good supportive team in place on the canvass, both Alan and I are determined to take two seats for Fine Gael.
“I aspire to carry on the good work of the last five years and hopefully, the public will recognise this when they cast their all important vote on May 24,” Cllr. Dolan remarked.
Party colleague, Alan Shaw, who boasts previous elected representative experience, spoke of the need to set Athlone apart from towns of similar ilk within the Midlands region.
“We must set this town apart from all others if we are to meet the challenges set out in the National Planning Framework 2040. A place that supports family work and social life and sporting endeavours is what makes Athlone a great place in which to be.
“We need Councillors who can work together cohesively and diligently for the benefit of the town, who can focus on the big prize as well as the day to day issues that challenge us as public representatives. Playing politics in the Council chamber achieves little for our town and it is therefore incumbent upon those who are elected, to be leaders and help to think beyond next week and next month when setting the agenda,” the local election aspirant remarked.
The candidate then noted that the concerns of the voting public would be adhered to as the canvass progresses.
“Every person at their door will be treated with the respect and given the time they deserve. Every message, request and query will be processed. On our canvass we will take on the doubters and I know the forthcoming days will bring many surprises.
I know that the Fine Gael team in the Athlone area is the toughest and most enduring. We have the best candidates so lets make sure that on May 24 Fine Gael has the best results with post election seats,” Alan concluded.