Sajjad Hussain hits out at ‘abuse’ and ‘dirty tricks’

Second-time independent candidate Sajjad (Saj) Hussain (Ballaghaderreen) has told the Roscommon People that his experience of running for election this time was exceptionally more challenging than in 2019.

Mr Hussain, who is originally from Pakistan, has been living in Ballaghaderreen for 22 years, and runs a barber shop in the town. He says the level of abuse and ‘dirty tricks’ he was subjected to throughout the campaign represented a significant escalation since his last run.

“Friends contacted me to say they had heard all sorts of terrible rumours about me, that I was a criminal… it was all lies”.

Contesting for a seat in the Boyle Local Electoral Area (LEA) last weekend, Mr Hussain claims that during the campaign an anonymous call was made to An Garda Síochána alleging that one of his children was missing and had returned home. Mr Hussain says he explained to An Garda Síochána that not only were the allegations untrue, but he also intends to pursue all available recourse to identify the individual who allegedly made the sinister threat about his family.

Visibly upset, Mr Hussain expressed his frustration that his family had been dragged into the election campaign: “I am a man. If you have a problem with me, come to me. If you have a problem with me, I stand here and I will take it. But don’t come after my family. Even the mafia have boundaries. Even the mafia don’t come after your family”.

The candidate claimed that An Garda Síochána advised him to ensure his children did not answer the door if unsupervised “for their own safety”.

Polling 411 first preference votes, Mr Hussain was eliminated after the 5th count. He has pledged to continue to represent his community at every opportunity.