Writes Ciaran Dineen
A new name on the ballot paper for this year’s Local Elections will be that of Audrey Buckley. Audrey was born and reared in Crosshaven, before moving abroad to the United States when she was still a teenager. During her time away, she also travelled to Australia, where she met her husband, Guy.
Although she returned to the States and then
onto France, Audrey claims that she was always going to return to her roots,
which she did in 2004, coming back to Crosshaven. The Fianna Fáil candidate
still resides in her hometown, along with her husband and three children. Since
returning, Audrey has been very active in her community with a number of
different groups and projects. She has also recently completed a Degree in
Community Development from Cork Institute of Technology. This coming May she
seeks your vote, standing on a platform that is pro-Crosshaven and
During her time in America, Audrey says that part of her working week would sometimes involve going out into the community and getting stuck in. This might be painting a school or cleaning up an area, but she claims it was her first real introduction to volunteering for the benefit of the community. When she arrived home in 2004, then in her thirties, Audrey began to walk the beaches of Crosshaven with her kids, who helped her to pick up litter along the way.
From that moment, the 2019 candidate never looked back and is now a staple of everything community-orientated in Crosshaven. Audrey is now 14 years with Crosshaven Tidy Towns and also Crosshaven Development Committee. Two years after joining both groups, she was asked to become Chairperson, a position that she accepted and has now held for the last 12 years.
Her constant role in the community caught the attention of the Fianna Fáil party, who approached her to see if she would like to run in the upcoming elections. “I decided to run in October”, Audrey tells The Carrigdhoun. “I have always been encouraged by people in the Community Association and others to go forward for elections. I spoke to a Councillor from Fermoy and it was after that that I thought I would be able to give the people of Crosshaven a strong, local voice,” she continues.
Infrastructure and Access:
Top of the list of priorities that need
addressing according to Audrey is access to Carrigaline from Crosshaven and
vice versa. Traffic levels and the poor condition of roads is creating a huge
problem for the community, the Fianna Fáil candidate notes. “Over the years the
situation has got a lot worse”, Audrey explains. “Before you used to be able to
leave Crosshaven at 8:15am to be able to get into town by 9, but now you have
to get out of Crosshaven by 7:45am if you want to go anywhere. I think we need
to look at other countries and see what they’re doing. I personally believe
that if we can solve the congestion issues in Carrigaline then that will have a
knock-on effect in Crosshaven. We also have to look at ourselves in order to
try and resolve the problem. When I was in CIT I would always put the message
out there that I would be travelling up if anyone wanted a lift, I would be a
huge advocate of carpooling and reducing the number of cars on the road.”
Although transport and infrastructure improvements are needed throughout the Carrigaline Local Electoral Area, Audrey argues that there are also many important local issues that she encounters on a regular basis. “In the rural areas for me WI-FI is a big problem we have. It’s often the case that it comes and goes, while also being very slow. I have been told that it’s even worse for people living out in Tracton and Minane Bridge. I would love to be a voice for those people because these are every day, real issues that we face and I would like to be able to do whatever I can for them.”
Another relevant topic which is currently in the news again is the ongoing incinerator case in Ringaskiddy. Speaking about this Audrey says, “I think the feeling many people have is that they can’t trust the Government to use the incinerator purely for our own waste. They probably think that we’re going to be taking in loads of rubbish from elsewhere and burn it here. I think if the incinerator is granted then that is what the future holds for us. Therefore, I would be totally against it and would happily speak openly about my views on that.”
Keeping in Contact with Constituents:
Being a councillor involves allocating huge amounts of time to your community and is often classed as being a full-time job. Therefore, the role certainly isn’t for those who find it difficult to balance their workload. However, Audrey believes that, if elected, she will not face such a problem. “This is a job that I would be able to fully commit to”, Audrey tells The Carrigdhoun. “I don’t know how councillors work full-time and do this because I know from my experiences in volunteering that this is not a part-time job. I don’t believe that I have to sell myself to people too much because I’m a long-time activist and my record in Crosshaven speaks for itself. However, I do understand that I need to also represent people in others areas and I am all for having meetings with people whether it be here in Crosshaven, Carrigaline, Tracton, wherever. I am a ‘doer’, I’m not someone who sits down and comes up with policies or procedures, I prefer being on the phone trying to get things done and that’s why I think I would be a good councillor.”
In the lead up to the campaign, Audrey can be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 086-1257512.
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