Writes Ciaran Dineen
In two weeks’ time a very popular figure in Kinsale and Bandon is set to run in her first ever local elections. Marie O’Sullivan, is the owner of the well-known and liked, ‘Salvis Café’ on Pearse Street in the heart of Kinsale. Marie is proud mother to two children and partner to Salvador, whom she met on her travels in Spain.
Marie went to school in Bandon and Milstreet and subsequently went on to study in University College Cork, where she completed a BA in History and English. During her time in UCC, Marie also took up Spanish as she had a grá for foreign languages. The Fine Gael candidate spent 16 years working in Benalmádena, Malaga. Marie returned home to Ireland back in 2007, bringing her family with her, and has now run and owned ‘Salvis Café’ for the past 12 years. On May 24th she seeks your vote in the Bandon-Kinsale ward.
Journey to Politics:
Marie comes from a family which is steeped in political history and has a long association with the Fine Gael party. Her father, Denis O’Sullivan, was first elected to Dáil Éireann way back in 1951 and served as a TD for 14 years. During that time he served as Chief Whip and Secretary to the Minister of Defence. He then went on to sit in the Seanad, and also was a Councillor in Cork County Council for many years.
The transition to the Fine Gael party was evidently natural for Marie, who recalls licking envelopes at home for the membership from as early as three years-old. Over the years Marie would have been more used to helping candidates to run elections for themselves, but now she finds herself on the opposite side of the fence for the first time. In late March the Fine Gael candidate discovered that she had been added to the ticket by the National Executive and her campaign is now in full flow.
On Parking, Pedestrianisation and Local
Businesses in Kinsale:
A very topical issue of late in
Kinsale surrounds that of parking. Currently, commuters must pay a parking fee
in the town of Kinsale and while this has led to some recent opposition, Marie
understands why it is in place but would like to see a change in approach.
“A parking charge is necessary otherwise you would have a free-for-all”, Marie tells The Carrigdhoun. “I think we definitely need to study the area and look at congestion and see where we can develop some areas for parking, I think there should be some leeway like in Bandon where there’s 30 minutes free parking so that you can do a quick drop-off or go buy your meat or a paper.”
While there have been calls to introduce Pedestrianisation on Pearse Street to reduce congestion, Marie has concerns over its viability. “From the point of view of even the Fire Brigade getting down the street, they can’t. From an access perspective I don’t think it’s practical. We would also lose so much parking again and that would definitely hurt local businesses. I am on that street and so are a lot of the main businesses and I think it would certainly affect them. People are not good at walking and I put my hand up because I’m not either, I think as a nation we are bad at it and we prefer to drive rather than park somewhere out of the town and then have to walk in.”
On Daily Issues Effecting Constituents in
Whether it be from canvassing in the area or being approached in her café, Marie believes that she is aware of some of the most common difficulties that people in her community are currently facing. One of these is the lack of access and high cost of childcare in the area.
“There are lots of young families living in Kinsale who have moved down here and childcare needs to be made more widely available. I was talking to someone recently who has to drop her child to a crèche in Cork City before she goes to work. I can really empathise with that because I am a working woman and I am a mother, so I have encountered all of those problems along the way that many others like me face.”
Marie also feels strongly on the housing crisis that is affecting many people in Kinsale. “Affordable housing is another huge problem that people are facing and I think we really need to be going after these ‘cuckoo funds’. I think we need to tax people at the same rate so as to free up rental accommodation. I think we need to encourage people with houses to rent them to long-term tenants, rather than give them to ‘Airbnb’, which Kinsale is just full of at the moment. I think we need to find a happy-medium in terms what we build. I think for some people apartments would be suitable if they’re on their own but then of course for families you need your affordable semi-detached houses.”
On Recycling Facilities in Rural Areas:
Although she is quite a
centrally-located candidate, Marie has canvassed in rural areas, with the lack
of recycling facilities regularly coming up on the doorstep as an issue. “It’s
something that people in the countryside are always saying to me”, the business
owner explains. “I think if we could introduce small recycling areas near GAA
pitches so that when parents are dropping off their kids to training or matches
that they can do their bit of recycling at the same time. They are then able to
get rid of their plastics or their cardboard in a very accessible and practical
place. That is one of the main complaints that I am hearing in those areas.”
In the lead up to the campaign Marie can be contacted about her candidacy via mobile: 086-3344703, Email: email@example.com and Facebook: Marie O’Sullivan Fine Gael.
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