The Fianna Fáil party in the Mullingar West area have an opening for a new councillor after the shock resignation of Cllr Niamh Kiernan this week, after a year as a councillor.
The Rathowen native, who was co-opted onto Westmeath County Council in place of Robert Troy when he took up his Dáil seat, announced at a meeting of Mullingar West Fianna Fáil on Tuesday that she was standing down from the council.
She told the Advertiser it was getting more difficult to juggle her council work with her own business as owner of a childcare facility, which has been expanding in recent months.
“It was a tough decision for me, but I thought long and hard about it. I am the kind of person who likes to give 100 per cent to whatever I’m doing, and being self-employed I wasn’t able to give that to either my business or the council, and unfortunately it has come to this.
“I will still be an active member of the party but I wanted to be fair to the party too,” she added.
The 25-year-old businesswoman is the owner of Waddlers and Toddlers, a playschool and childcare facility in her home village of Rathowen. She has been a member of Fianna Fáil since she was 14, and served as chair of the Rathowen Cumman and as the youth and recruitment officer for Mullingar West before taking up the council seat.
The Mullingar West Comhairle Ceantair must now meet to seek a nomination to replace Ms Kiernan on the council, a process which could take up to a month.
Deputy Robert Troy said he was disappointed to hear Ms Kiernan had decided to step down.
“Credit must go to her, she tried it out but her business was suffering, so she has stepped down and given the party the opportunity to select another candidate,” he said.
“I worked very well with Niamh and she gave me great support in the general election last year. I’m disappointed to see her leave, but I anticipate there will be great interest in the position.”
Ms Kiernan’s council colleague Cllr Ken Glynn also paid tribute to the hard-working former councillor.
“She thought long and hard about it and she put the party first. Everyone was shocked but we wish her well. She worked very hard but had to juggle political life with her business, and it was a tough decision to make.
“I look forward to working with whoever our new colleague will be.”