Writes Ciaran Dineen
Aidan Lombard: “I find it great when you’re working on something and then you get that reward which is so important to the community.”
Contesting this year’s elections in just over seven days’ time is Councillor Aidan Lombard. Aidan was born and bred in Minane Bridge, where he still resides today alongside his partner and three young children.
After leaving school, Councillor Lombard went on to study Electronic Engineering in Cork Institute of Technology. Despite completing his degree Aidan knew that he wanted to take a different career path and decided to get involved with stonemasonry, and worked with a company for five years.
Following on from that, the Fine Gael candidate established his own construction business, which has become very successful over the years. Councillor Lombard also set up another company about four years ago named Japanese Knotweed Ireland, which deals with the careful removal of knotweed. Although Aidan remains at the core of both enterprises, he has taken a small step backwards since his entrance to representative politics in 2016.
Journey To Politics:
Growing up, the Lombard family was quite a political one according to Aidan, who says that his father would have been a strong supporter of Hugh Coveney TD, and that the relationship with his son, An Tánaiste Simon Coveney TD has continued.
While Councillor Lombard was focusing on his businesses he was also helping out his brother Tim, who was first elected to Cork County Council in 2003, taking over from Simon Coveney following the abolishment of the dual mandate in 2002. While Aidan never had any real belief that he could himself run for local politics, he decided to put himself forward, selected at convention and then co-opted when his brother took a seat in the Seanad back in 2016.
To his surprise, he was picked as the best candidate to replace his brother Tim on the Council and over the course of the last three years Aidan has been a County Councillor in the Bandon-Kinsale area. He now hopes to continue to be a strong voice for the rural community, in particular in the new Carrigaline LEA.
On Seeking Re-Election:
Although Councillor Lombard has two very successful businesses on which he could focus and develop more, he wants to continue to represent his constituents, particularly in areas who will be moving back into the Carrigaline District.
He admits that the joy he gets from hearing positive local developments gives him a reward that is more important than anything. “I suppose there’s nothing in my work that is more enjoyable than getting a phone call saying, ‘we’ve gone to tender’, or ‘we’ve received a grant for Graball Bay’. That’s a great personal kick for me and maybe that’s selfish, I don’t know what it is but I find it great when you’re working on something and then you get that reward which is so important to the community,” Aidan tells The Carrigdhoun.
Given that the likes of Ballygarvan, Minane, Crosshaven and South Carrigaline are moving back into the wider Electoral Area, the Fine Gael candidate would like to see the proposals for development in those areas that he has raised come to fruition. “I would really like to stay on and help steer certain projects like the foreshore development in Crosshaven, which is one of the biggest things that Crosshaven needs. Other issues like in Graball and Church Road that I have been pushing, we are hoping to have schemes for them and I think being the only current Councillor running in that area, it would be great for me to stay on.”
On Traffic and the Importance of Future Planning:
His background in construction and civil engineering has proven to be a valuable asset during his time on the Council but Councillor Lombard believes that the country and the county need to get serious about sustainable development and planning for the future.
“In Carrigaline during the last development plan I was the guy going on about a ring-road, and I’m not leaving that go. I think we need to stop this cycle of zoning green fields with no plan. What I want to do if elected is to map the engineering side of things for a ring-road so that the plans are then there for the future. They have one in Clonakility, in Midleton, in Ballincollig, we are going to be the biggest town in the County and we don’t’ have a plan for a ring-road. That is something that I have started and want to keep going with, for me that is the biggest thing in Carrigaline. I’m not talking about building this road now, I’m talking about having a corridor that can be designed and zoned so that in 10 years’ time we can be prepared.”
While Aidan believes that the Western Relief Road is a fantastic idea, he is not convinced that it will solve all congestion problems leading into Carrigaline. “It’s not going to solve the traffic issue, absolutely not, it’s going to be a second street. If someone is coming from Crosshaven, South Carrigaline or Minane there is no reason they should be coming through the town unless they want to go in there. It’s not good for residents, business or commuters, so it’s something that I will be bringing up first day in the Council, that we need to start planning for the future.
On Representing Ballinhassig And The Wider Rural Community:
With new boundary changes seeing half of Ballinhassig coming into the Carrigaline LEA, along with areas such as Waterfall, Aidan believes that having represented rural communities in the past, he can be a strong voice for those constituents.
“I have spent weeks up in those parts of the County canvassing and what I’m getting on the door from residents is that it’s not big stuff that they’re asking for, it’s road re-surfacing, it’s fixing the pothole. We have Halfway, Ballinhassig and Waterfall coming into the district now and it’s very important that they are represented. I think similar to what I have said about Carrigaline, we need to have planning for our rural villages too and the Council need to be taking a lead on that.”
In the lead up to the election Councillor Lombard can be contacted via mobile: 086 3620047 and on email: email@example.com.
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