Pictured last night at the launch of the Louth SF local election candidates are the Drogheda SF team of Joanna Byrne (front left) and (back row, from left): David Saurin, Leanne Saurin, Kenneth Flood and Tom Cunningham with party Leader Mary Lou MacDonald and the two Louth SF TDs Imelda Munster and Gerry Adams. Photo: Andy Spearman.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald joined the two Louth SF TDs Gerry Adams and Imelda Munster in Drogheda last night to launch the Louth Sinn Féin local election team of 13 candidates.
Ms McDonald said she was delighted to be in Drogheda and that the Sinn Féin national and local leadership is ready and able to confront the conservative mé féin politics of the establishment.
The launch, which took place at the D Hotel, was well attended by the party faithful and it was announced that, as well as the ten sitting councillors, the party hopes to get an extra three candidates elected across the county on 24th May.
The candidates standing in Drogheda Urban are the three sitting councillors Joanna Byrne, Kenneth Flood and David Saurin. In Drogheda Rural they have Tom Cunningham, currently a councillor in Mid-Louth and new-comer Leanne Saurin.
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Councillor Joanna Byrne said “When I took over as Chair of the Housing SPC (Special Policy Committee) I quickly realised that one of the biggest blights facing local representatives was the housing crisis and the homelessness crisis that goes hand in hand with it. I feel in the few short years I have championed both these issues by putting pressure on the local authority to turn around vacant properties, calling for affordable housing schemes and additional homeless facilities especially for those with addiction problems that are not being provided for. I believe everyone deserves a home and your Sinn Fein Team does too.”
Councillor Kenneth Flood said “Our Republicanism guides our politics. Our activism keeps us rooted in our communities, neighbourhoods and local clubs. We bring that activism and connection to our communities into the Council Chamber with us.
In the past five years I have fought my hardest to change the stale, stagnant and disconnected policies of Louth County Council and the pact of the establishment parties. We have done our work, when and where it matters.
We have connected with more community groups as they all know if you want something to be done, bring it to Sinn Féin. We got support for Drogheda City Status at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis. No other party can say they support Drogheda like we do. But to keep fighting for Drogheda, we need the strongest Sinn Fein team possible elected in May. The other parties will talk the talk, but they will not walk the walk. Our Republicanism, work ethic and team spirit in the council chamber are the only things that will deliver real and visible change for the better for Drogheda and Louth.”
Councillor David Saurin said “I came to the Council very passionate about the objectives of the Party, building an island of equals, and that starts by making sure people have suitable housing that is maintained to an acceptable standard as rent payers to Louth Council. People in some estates don’t deserve to be held to ransom by anti-social elements and they have been failed by Louth County Council through their inaction in dealing with these people. Nobody should be afraid to go outside their front door and nobody should be afraid behind their front door. We hold the officials of Louth County Council to account and we won’t let them off the hook.”
Cllr Tom Cunningham said “I’m a Clogherhead man, I live there with my partner Sinead and our three daughters and it would be impossible to give 100% to a campaign without their full support and it would be impossible to do my work as a councillor without the support of family.”
Cllr Cunningham also paid tribute to his fellow Mid-Louth colleague Cllr Pearse McGeough and talked of the day Cllr McGeough became Chair of the Municipal and how the pact of the other parties was broken. He continued “I look forward to the new challenge of a new electoral area and giving 100% to getting two candidates elected in this area.”
Leanne Saurin thanked the Colonel Leonard Cumman and the SF party for selecting her as candidate. “I feel I have an advantage because I work in the disability sector, the public sector and the private sector. I believe we will get a United Ireland in my lifetime but we can’t stop there. We need to push further and push for an equal society, up and down the length of the country, in the 32 counties. Gender, ability/disability, religion or ethnicity doesn’t matter, we need an equal society. We need equality for everyone.”
The other SF candidates in Louth are: Dundalk Carlingford: Cllr Antóin Watters, Cllr Edel Corrigan and Eugene Garvey; Dundalk South: Cllr Anne Campbell, Cllr Tomás Sharkey and Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú; Ardee: Cllr Pearse McGeough and Brendan McKenna.