Kildare and Newbridge candidates gear up for elections

Cllr. Paddy Kennedy overlooking the south Kildare count at Punchestown, during the last local elections. Photo:Michael Donnelly.
Newbridge town council will be abolished in May after 149 years of sitting in the town.

Newbridge town council will be abolished in May after 149 years of sitting in the town.

There are nine new seats up for grabs for the new Kildare Kildare Municipal District which will replace the current six Kildare area county council seats and the town council.

Three Newbridge Town councillors have already announced their intentions to run again in Newbridge, two of whom are also county councillors.

They include Independent Councillor Paddy Kennedy, Cllr Willie Hamilton for Labour and Cllr Michael ‘Spike’ Nolan for Fine Gael.

Cllr Fiona O’Loughlin for Fianna Fail is likely to also be nominated, however the FF selection convention is yet to be held.

A recent attempt had to be abandoned after a disagreement between local party members and the party HQ over whether three or four nominees should go forward.

The four nominees mooted last December were sitting councillors Fiona O’Loughlin and Suzanne Doyle, former TD Sean Power and newcomer Simon Rainsford.

Concerns were rife at the time that running four candidates, as favoured by party HQ, could spread the vote too thinly and possibly result in only two getting elected.

New candidates meanwhile, who have announced their intention to run include Willie Crowley, as an Independent, and Fiona McLoughlin Healy for Fine Gael.

Mark Lynch is likely to run for Sinn Fein locally, alongside Cllr Damian Moylneaux, who made the move to that party from Labour earlier this year.

Other Town Councillors who have to yet to confirm their intention to run include Cllr Murty Aspell (IND), Cllr Mick Deely, Cllr Pat Black (FF), and Cllr Emma Kiernan (FG).

Long standing Newbridge Town Councill and Kildare County councilor Paddy Kennedy (IND), launched his election campaign back in January 31.

“My track record is what I fall back on,” said Cllr Kennedy, who topped the poll for the county council in the last local elections.

“I’ve spent my political career serving the community. One thousand voters in the Newbridge Town and almost two thousand voters in the Kildare Area of the County Council placed their trust in me by giving their No1 vote in the last local election in 2009. I just lost out by less than 1000 votes in 2011 General Election.”

Willie Crowley, who made national and local headlines last year as a founder member of the now defunct Newbridge Credit Union Action Group, announced his intention to run as in Independent last week.

He believes in “putting policies before politics”. He ran in the last local election but was unsuccessful.

“Since the last election I have continued to remain active in many areas in the service of our town and the wider community,” he said.

His policies include a focus on employment with an “end to the policy of outsourcing local services”; safe streets with a greater “police presence” for Newbridge; greater innovation in assisting local businesses and encouraging local investment.

The new Fine Gael candidate for local elections Fiona McLoughlin Healy is a committee member for over 10 years on Newbridge Chamber of Commerce.

Her official launch was held on Wednesday November 20, 2013 at the Silver restaurant in Newbridge.

Fiona said her focus will include supporting local businesses, early intervention in education and tackling obesity in young children as part of her campaign strategy.

“I believe that rebuilding this country will happen by generating and supporting local businesses,” said the former nurse turned business woman.

“I intend to be a voice for our local small and medium enterprises if given the opportunity.”

Cllr Michael ‘Spike’ Nolan (FG) was selected at the Fine Gael convention which was held on Thursday 24 October at Hotel Keadeen Newbridge.

Cllr Nolan is a sitting town and county councillor taking over the seat from his father before him, in a role spanning 50 years between them. Last year ‘Spike’ became the first politician since Gerard Sweetman to be Mayor of Kildare for consecutive

Meanwhile Labour’s Willie Hamilton was elected on to the Newbridge Town Council back in 2009 and served as the Mayor of Newbridge that year. He is currently the Deputy Mayor of Newbridge.

“My main focus is jobs, work and protecting people’s employment,” he said.

“As the Chair of Kildare Employment Services I am directly involved in helping people get back to work. I am also involved in the ICTU Unemployment Centre and serve as a Board member of Kildare Addiction Services. I am determined to fight the damage addictions cause in our community.”