Cllr Sean O'Brien and Jenny O'Connor.

Cllr O'Brien launches local election campaign

Cllr Sean O’Brien launched his local election campaign on Friday, April 12 and gave a speech to those in attendance.

Five years ago he launched his campaign to seek election to Offaly County Council and Cllr O’Brien said that he had a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve and made clear promises to the electorate. “I promised to be a full-time councillor and that is simply what I have been for the past five years. I resigned from my full-time job to be that full-time councillor.

The Independent councillor explained that housing had been a central issue in his campaign. “In the five years prior to my election not one new social house had been completed in Offaly. At my first full meeting of the council I had a motion on the agenda to declare a housing crisis in Offaly.” Cllr O’Brien said that a total 296 houses have been made available in his electoral area and another 102 revamped houses have been returned to use since then and he still has bigger targets.

He also campaigned for and strongly supported the building of a new arts centre in Tullamore. “It is absolutely thriving and bringing great business to Tullamore town centre. I am proud to be a director of the centre and to work with the team to ensure that Esker Arts will be a major actor in the arts in the midlands and beyond.”

He added that he has assisted residents groups all over the electoral area. I represented them strongly and consistently. “One of the clear examples is the issue which faced the residents of Pearse Park last year as the council wanted to remove twelve mature trees and a beautiful green area along the canal without consultation. I was the only councillor to stand firmly with them and I acquired the necessary documentary evidence to fight their case, and yes we were victorious,” said Cllr O’Brien. I promised not to vote for an increase in the local property tax, I kept that promise despite heavy handed tactics form the two big parties; the Independents and small parties were the only ones not to vote for this increase.

Cllr O’Brien remarked that he has strongly supported all the rural areas in his electoral area and cited the Town and Village Renewal Fund which was used for major improvement works in Mucklagh, Mountbolus, Ballycumber, Killeigh and Clara. “I have been a strong advocate for the development of the N52 bypass of Durrow and I will continue to do so. I will work with the residents of Durrow to provide agreed safety measures while we are waiting for the much needed bypass to be provided.”

He added that repairs to roads and footpaths were required in many local areas. “I am asking for a dedicated budget for these works especially in the areas of Tullamore, Clara, Ballycumber, Tubber, Mucklagh, Rahan, Mountbolus Killeigh and Durrow.

Cllr O’Brien said that he will continue to work to protect and improve the train services in Tullamore and Clara. “Tullamore town centre needs a major improvement in retail and housing services. I was very disappointed that the proposed development on the former Quinnsworth site was completely rejected by our planners and again I will be supporting development on this site. We cannot simply stand idly by and expect miracles to happen, we need to make things happen.”

The Offaly councillor concluded: “We need development of our educational services; safe routes to school and bicycle lanes; ensuring that our indoor swimming pool, leisure centre has the required resources; continue to fund our fabulous town park. My message is clear. I endeavour to deliver what I promise and my record is there for all to see.”