Birr hurling legend will run for Fine Gael

Story by Tom Kelly

Friday, 27th March, 2009 8:00am

All-Ireland winner and Offaly hero Brian Whelahan has been unveiled by Fine Gael as a golden candidate to contest the Offaly County Council elections.

Mr Whelahan, a local businessman, now joins sitting councillor Percy Clendennen and Mr Nigel Craughwell on the Fine Gael ticket in the four-seat Birr Electoral Area.

Brian Whelahan is considered one of hurling"s all-time greats. The holder of four All-Star Awards, he won two Senior All-Ireland titles with Offaly and four All-Ireland Club titles with Birr. His selection on the Hurling Team of the Millennium in 2000 was notable for the fact that he was the only player still playing at the time.

'I am delighted to have this opportunity to stand for Fine Gael in the upcoming local elections. It is now my focus and ambition to secure enough votes to help Fine Gael secure a second seat in the Birr electoral area,' said Mr Whelahan. 'I look forward to campaigning and canvassing long and hard in the run-up to the vote on June 5.'

'Brian Whelahan is an excellent young candidate with an exceptional sporting pedigree and a track record in business. The party has a very strong ticket in the Birr Electoral Area and looks forward to success,' said Frank Flannery, Fine Gael"s National Director of Elections.

Deputy Olwyn Enright said she was delighted by Mr Whelahan"s decision to run for Fine Gael.

'As a businessman, publican and shopkeeper, he has a great understanding of the needs of people in the Birr area. Well-known nationally as a great sportsman and legendary hurler, he is also known locally in his business capacity,' she said.

She said he is joining a strong Fine Gael team of Nigel Craughwell, a local businessman and the outgoing President of Birr Chamber of Commerce, and long-standing Kinnitty-based Cllr Percy Clendennen.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael has selected two candidates, both sitting councillors, to run for Birr Town Council. Councillor Ann Hynes Spain and Councillor Michael Campbell were selected at a party convention last week.

Both candidates spoke about their involvement in the community life of the town and both outlined their work rate and achievements to date. They also spoke about the importance of ensuring that Birr continues to progress and that the people of the area are facilitated to work in the area.

Deputy Olwyn Enright welcomed the selection and said both councillors have an outstanding record and they have been heavily involved in what is happening in the town and its environs over the past number of years.

'I have had the privilege of working with both Cllr Hynes Spain and Cllr Campbell over the past number of years and I am delighted that they have been chosen to represent Fine Gael again in the forthcoming local elections,' she said. 'I have seen at first hand their marvellous work rate and their dedication to the people of Birr town.'

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