Three new councillors received a joyous welcome at County Hall on Friday as they filled vacancies left by successful Dáil candidates.
At a special meeting of Galway County Council on Friday afternoon, the three new councillors were officially co-opted to the council, and warmly welcomed to their new positions.
Fine Gael nominated two new councillors to be co-opted into the council while Labour nominated one, to replace those who have departed the council for Dáil Éireann.
Replacing Deputy Colm Keaveney is Tuam town councillor Sean Cunniffe who will now represent the Labour party in the Tuam area. On the welcome received by the three councillors, Councillor Cunniffe said, “I was very impressed with the welcome we received, and a tremendous ceremony”. He said he was pleasantly surprised to see how open the council is. “We were welcomed with open arms and given top priority,” he said.
“The Tuam electoral area has a structural deficit, and now that we also have Colm Keaveney in the Dáil, we need to have all agencies working for the town,” said Cllr Cunniffe. The new councillor also intends to push for the continued development of the Western Rail Corridor.
The first of two Fine Gael substitutions is Seosamh Ó Laoí from Inverin who had unsuccessfully contested the 2009 local elections. He will be taking the seat of Deputy Sean Kyne. Also heaping praise on his predecessor, Cllr Ó Laoí said: “I see myself working for the people of the Gaeltacht and Connemara”. The Fine Gael councillor also intends to push for the contentious Galway city bypass.
The second new councillor for Fine Gael is Kevin Ryan from Moylough who is replacing Deputy Paul Connaughton. He will represent the Ballinasloe electoral area.
Councillor Ryan is eager to ensure the council returns its focus to people living in communities, and works with those in smaller parishes and rural areas. “If you can keep the youth in sport you are a long way to reducing crime,” he said. The Moylough man has strong issues about promoting community involvement. “To get people involved in the community you have to talk and communicate with people, to be a good politician you need to communicate with the people,” he added.
Each of the new councillors is eager to get to work for his constituents, but they also commented how they would be easing themselves into their new roles, and not making their demands to the county council too soon.
Since the new councillors’ initiation each has reported a huge influx of calls on every issue from roads to water issues.