Writes Ciaran Dineen
Another new name on the ballot paper this May, in the Bandon-Kinsale LEA, will be that of Dermot Brennan. The Fianna Fáil candidate is originally from Mayfield, where his father was Chairman of the GAA club for around 20 years, while his mother was also active in the community. Dermot is a secondary school teacher in Clonakility Community College where he teaches History, Geography CSPE and also Politics to Transition Year Students.
He currently lives with his wife, who is a nurse in Cork University Hospital, in Ovens, but the couple are in the process of re-locating to Bandon, in the heart of the Municipal District. While Dermot evidently has connections across a wide geographical area in Cork, he believes that he understands some of the issues faced by constituents in the Bandon-Kinsale LEA as well as anyone.
Journey to Politics:
As aforementioned, Dermot’s parents were very involved in his local community of Mayfield when growing up and he believes that this has had an impact on his desire to become engaged in the local political process. He is also heavily involved through his role as a teacher with the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI), and acts as the Secretary for the Carbery branch, representing schools in West Cork.
Dermot’s home growing up was quite a ‘republican’ one and his father was asked to run for Fianna Fáil 30 years ago but declined. While his son went on to follow in the party footsteps, he went one further by deciding to put his name on the ballot paper. Dermot admires the Lemass generation in particular, citing their proactive and can-do style as one that he found very interesting. According to the Fianna Fáil candidate, that is the kind of approach he wants to take in dealing with local issues if elected in two weeks’ time.
On Wanting to Run for Elections and Connecting with Constituents:
This is the first time that Dermot has decided to run for elections, having put himself before the Fianna Fáil executives. While he has waited until now, he feels that it is the right time to get involved with the communities in the area and be a representative for all constituents.
“As time has gone on I have realised that I just really love the work”, Dermot tells The Carrigdhoun. “I really like helping people and I really like delivering for the area that I am in. I’ve really enjoyed canvassing and meeting people, it’s been great. When people have complaints it’s even better because you can understand where people are coming from and you can begin to understand their own positions on things.”
Although Dermot is moving into the centre of the electoral area there are questions about his ability to identify with people across the ward. However, the Fianna Fáil candidate believes that he should have no such issues and says, “I think you connect with people when you show empathy and concern for what issues are effecting them. I would always find it easy to connect with people and try and solve their problems. It doesn’t matter what part of the area they come from, they’re only 10-15 minutes away from me. This isn’t Munster we’re talking about, this is one section of County Cork and I can be somewhere at short notice for a meeting with people and I’m always at the end of the phone no matter where they are or where I am. I’m teaching on the West side but I also have many friends and relations on the Eastern part.”
On Understanding Rural Issues:
Dermot believes strongly that he can identify with people similar to him who may have previously lived in the City but now reside in more rural areas.
“I can relate to many people who would have lived in the City and then moved to rural areas like Belgooly. I do know where those people are coming from in terms of the situation they can be in. They have this expectation of living in the countryside, which is great, but they’ve grown up with facilities at their fingertips and now they sometimes don’t’ have access to basic amenities and services. That really vexes me because I am that person with a mortgage in similar circumstances to them and I can relate. Geographically I’ll be basing myself in Bandon but for that generation living here in the Eastern part, I can associate myself with the issues they face, particularly in Riverstick and Belgooly.”
On Housing in Kinsale:
Another big concern in the Municipal District relates to the affordability and accessibility of housing in Kinsale. Dermot believes that the next elected Council must work productively to ensure that pressure is put on the National Government to deliver affordable housing and positively affect the rental market. “It’s very important that we free up land that is suitable for building houses and that the next Council can work together to ensure that we produce an increase in the number of affordable houses in the Kinsale area over the next five years.”
Although the Fianna Fáil candidate believes in utilising the available space, he still feels that the priority should be centred around building compact, semi-detached houses rather than maximising space in the form of apartments. “I think you would be going for semi-detached housing on the edge of the town rather than apartments in the centre, I don’t think that they (apartments) would be feasible. Kinsale is a tourism town and apartments built in the centre I don’t think would match the demand. We need more social housing and as I said, price is just such an issue because people are paying huge rent and are struggling to save up to buy a house. Where are you going to get €30,000 in this market to save?”
In the lead up to the elections in just two weeks’ time, Dermot is contactable by phone: 085 805 9726. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Facebook: Dermot Brennan.
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