Ward: Independents ‘have a duty to take control of Council’

Re-elected to Roscommon County Council for a fifth consecutive term, having first been elected in 2004, Cllr Tony Ward took the second highest number of preferences in the Athlone LEA and was elected on the first count. A traditional poll-topper, Cllr Ward is a stalwart of independent politics in South Roscommon and has consistently polled exceptionally well.

EC: Tony, congrats, what is the agenda for the next five years?

TW: Well, the agenda is similar to the agenda that I had for the last 20 years, that is to continue working for the people, all the people of South Roscommon. I want to take this opportunity to thank the people of South Roscommon for re-electing me.

I have worked continuously with the people since 2004. When I got elected in 2004, I resigned from my job as a technician with Eircom to do the job for the people of South Roscommon on a full-time basis.

Being a full-time councillor and topping the poll seems to be a trend in Roscommon with Cllr Valerie Byrne (IND, Boyle LEA) and others, also being full-time councillors and amassing staggeringly high votes.

EC: In terms of the formation of the next council, you have a very strong independent councillor after coming out of the woodwork in your own municipal district in Emer Kelly. It’s her first election. She’s clearly putting in the work on the ground. Do you think the independents will pull it off this time and be able to form a coalition without the parties?

TW: Well, I’d be hopeful they will, or at least that they will try. I was very disappointed the last time as an independent and someone who had topped the poll that there was a deal done with Fianna Fáil, with some of the independents, and with Fine Gael. And there were enough independents there to form a council.

And I think it’s a pity if some independents feel different than I feel. I believe when you have a majority of independents that you should try and form a council based on the independents. The people came out on Friday and voted for independents.

So the independents really have a mandate. So if some independents feel that they can’t be part of an independent group and an independent council, I think that would be a pity and a sad day for democracy in County Roscommon.