Fallon energised by engagement of youth

Independent candidate Laurence Fallon was elected on the third count in the Athlone Local Electoral Area (LEA) on 1,497 votes.

Cllr Fallon explained that while his experience as a councillor and the knowledge he’s gained over the years obviously left him well prepared coming into the election, in general he found this year’s campaign “quite different from previous years, in that there were many issues at the forefront that weren’t there before – things like immigration, planning, housing.

“Of course, we had the usual issues as well with village enhancement, services, roads, agriculture, things like that,” he clarified, “but we also had a lot of these new issues becoming very dominant”.

He particularly highlighted the “much greater demand for more local transport services” that he picked up on from voters. “A lot of people would like to have a bus from the significant villages in the area to the major towns”, he said, noting this would be an advantage not just in terms of accessibility, but also the environment.

Cllr Fallon also discussed the flooding at Lough Funshinagh, a prominent local issue that he has been very vocal about, commenting that he’s “extremely heartened by the level of anger that’s out there from people who are up to date with the environmental destruction that’s going on, who are annoyed it hasn’t been rectified, and who are aware of and fed up with the level of bureaucracy and red tape that’s there”.

Cllr Fallon expressed thanks to the “fantastic team” that’s behind him.

“We had some new canvassers, young people who’d never canvassed before”, he said, “and I must say my view that politics will survive has been energised because of just how many young people have keen interest – you can see it in the election candidates here in our own locality. My hope for the future is very much strengthened”.