Fine Gael has this evening unveiled four female candidates for May’s local council elections.
In a seismic shift for a major party locally, Eimer Friel, Bernie Moran, Evelyn Sweeney and Michelle McKenna were all confirmed as candidates across four electoral areas.
Eimer Friel, (35) and Evelyn Sweeney, (43), are native Irish speakers from Fanad and Gaoth Dobhair respectively. Both work for Minister Joe McHugh’s Constituency Office and will run in the Milford and Glenties electoral areas.
Bernie Moran, a 43-year-old creche owner and medical professional, and Michelle McKenna, (48), from Buncrana, will run in Letterkenny and South Inishowen respectively.
The candidates are mothers to 12 children between them and all say they are passionate about bringing new voices for women into the council chamber in Lifford.
All four candidates and their supporters packed in the Radisson Hotel in Letterkenny this evening for Fine Gael Constituency Convention.
“Fine Gael is such a diverse party with people from all walks of life and it’s important that women like me help to create role models for the next generation; strong women are at the heart of families and communities and we need strong women in our county councils and in Dáil Éireann reflecting those views and reflecting the needs of rural communities and rural villages and towns,” said Eimer, a mother of two from Cashel, Fanad.
“I want to inspire young people to look to a brighter future for Donegal. I want to inspire hard-working families and retired people to believe we can all work together for this beautiful county in a positive way; re-calibrating our communities for the better.
“I believe in the ‘can-do’ spirit of the Donegal people. That’s where my heart lies. I am humbled by the groundswell of support I have received from every townland across the Milford Electoral area.”
Evelyn Sweeney says she has also been inundated with messages of support.
“I work for Joe McHugh’s constituents every day in west Donegal; in my home parish of Gaoth Dobhair but also right across the west of the county, from Glenties and Ardara to Gweebarra, Dungloe, the Rosses and right up to Falcarragh and Dunfanaghy,” said mother of three Evelyn.
“Working with Joe has given me a unique insight into the issues which affect ordinary hard-working families in the county. Helping people overcome those issues is very rewarding but I feel I also need to the voice of people in Lifford too, working on issues which the County Council needs to address.
“Joe McHugh and grassroots party members have been extremely supportive and that’s why I have decided to try to get a seat for Fine Gael in the next Council.”
A native Irish speaker originally from Cnoc An Stollaire but now living in Bun A Laca, she says she’s proud of the work of Minister McHugh and the Constituency Office team for communities across the west of the county.
“In my own parish of Gaoth Dobhair Joe’s dedication to the Amharclann showed his passion for our culture and our language; it’s the same with the new St Finian’s Hall in Falcarragh, both wonderful centres for real people in real communities to meet and engage with their neighbours. I want to help share that love of our language in our county,” said Evelyn.
Bernie Moran is well-known in Letterkenny. A mother-of-three, she says she wants to work hard for families throughout the area.
Said Bernie: “I believe my background in healthcare and in education provision gives me a real understanding of the challenges facing families in Donegal on a daily basis. This is why I have decided to stand in the local elections on May 24th as a Fine Gael candidate.
“Women are hugely under represented on Donegal County Council, comprising only three of 37 sitting councillors. Women and men bring a different perspective to the table and a fairer gender balance will better reflect the views and needs of our community.
“If elected I will serve the whole community and represent the interests of the entire electoral area, urban and rural, individuals and families, business and the farming community. My experience as a nurse, as a mother in the home, as an employer and provider of preschool educational services, gives me a real understanding of the challenges facing families in Donegal on a daily basis.”
South Inishowen candidate and Buncrana native Michelle McKenna is involved in a range of voluntary organisations including the GAA and the LGFA.
“I love working in the community; I have a huge passion for it. I know that being elected to Donegal County Council will give me even more opportunities to get more done for people in Inishowen,” she said.
“I’ve worked in our community for 30 years; helping people where and when I can. I know being in Lifford representing our communities will give me the chance to help even more.
“Our council must reflect the people it serves. We need more women as councillors and more women in the top jobs inside the council. It’s about bringing a new dynamic to our entire county and I am delighted I will running with such great candidates like Bernie, Evelyn and Eimer – all bright, intelligent and dynamic women.”Tags: