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Elections 2019: Pat O’Regan – Independent

Pat O’Regan: “From dealing with people I have come up with one slogan, ‘don’t ever promise someone something that you can’t deliver on’.”

A new name on the ballot paper in the Bandon-Kinsale district for the upcoming elections this May is Independent candidate Pat O’Regan. Pat is originally from Kerry but has been a resident of Belgooly for the last 14 years, where he lives with his wife and three children.

The independent candidate has had a long history in the hospitality sector, an industry that he started working in from the age of 13. Pat has worked across Ireland and also in Brussels during his working life, and for a number of years has now been immersed in the coffee industry.

The Kerryman established his own company, ‘Kinsale Coffee’, two years ago, which offers retailers and wholesalers Pat’s own blend and style of unique, distinctive and bespoke coffees. Down the line the business owner hopes to centre his entire business in Kinsale and provide the surrounding areas and beyond with his product.

Journey to Politics:

According to Pat he has no background in politics whatsoever and did not grow up in a political family. Instead the independent candidate says that he is more focused on community engagement and is actively involved in a number of local organisations. Pat is Chairman of the Ladies Football Club in Kinsale, a member of the Board of Management for the Parent’s Association in Belgooly National School, and also Chairperson of the Belgooly Residents Action Network (BRAN). The latter of these associations has probably been the most significant, as Pat and other residents in Belgooly have led the way in achieving positive change for their area. Mr O’Regan believes that with the constituency shifting its major concern further west in towns like Bandon and beyond, rural areas like Belgooly and Riverstick will be left behind with no voice. While he is not a politician Pat says that, “From dealing with people I have come up with one slogan, ‘don’t ever promise someone something that you can’t deliver on’.”

On Representing Constituents in Belgooly:

As well having a lot to say about the issues surrounding speeding in the Belgooly area, Pat is also very frustrated with the position residents still find themselves in with regards to their water quality and service. The problems with water in the area are well known and while current Councillors have said that the solution is now nearly over the line, the independent candidate is not convinced. “It just seems that every time there’s a local or national election on the way that the letters will come out saying the ‘pipes are going down, the water’s on the way’. We got a letter last year from Irish Water saying it was six months away, but I can tell you that it’s far more than six months at this stage. If elected in the morning I can’t walk into County Hall and turn the water on but I can constantly be in there and bring it up every week. The more you speak up and the louder you are the quicker action will be taken.”

Asked why he feels that such issues are not being adequately addressed Pat says, “it’s a lack of a voice and a lack of representation if you ask me and I know some people will highly disagree with that but that’s how I feel. The first thing I say to people at the door when I meet them is that I’m not a politician, I’m just a resident who’s tired of getting empty promises, and that’s all people are looking for, a local voice.”

On the Environment and Tourism in Kinsale:

Pat says that he is very concerned about the environment and that it is a topic of conversation coming up on many doors across the constituency. “The environment is a major thing that I talking about with people. Many want to see more and better recycling facilities, as well as compostable bins. I’ve gone no posters, despite the fact that I’m a new candidate I said I’d go poster-free at the start and a lot of people have told me that they like that because I suppose if you’re standing as someone who cares about the environment then that is where you should start.”

The independent candidate also believes that Kinsale’s tourist attractions should be more accessible to visitors, with longer opening hours. “I really think we should have our public buildings open as much as possible. The Municipal Hall, French Prison, they’re all closed. The museum in Kinale has only opened recently I think. Such big attractions on the start or end of the Wild Atlantic Way, whatever way you’re looking at it, should be open. I think we should have a full-time manager in some of them because they are fantastic tourist attractions.”

On Parking in Kinsale:

Mr O’Regan is very passionate about the parking situation in Kinsale and believes that residents and shoppers are being treated unfairly due to the parking charge of €1.80 an hour. “The first thing I’d like to tackle if elected is the paid parking system in Kinsale. Clonakility, Bantry and Skibbereen, none of them charge for parking, while Bandon allows for half an hour free parking. The people and businesses in the town don’t like it and I would like there to be an hour’s free parking in Kinsale because it will attract more people to shop locally rather than going to Carrigaline or Bandon”.

When asked whether such a view contradicts his environmental position, (because free parking encourages more cars), Pat says, “I think it would be ideal if we could have parking spaces on the edge of town and allow people to walk into the village. I think the pedestrianisation of Pearse Street would be fantastic and a lot of the businesses are in favour of it. It’s something that during the day I think can only benefit the town.”

Before polling day on the 24th May, Pat O’Regan can be contacted about his campaign via mobile: 086 825 0406, email: patoreganindepedent@gmail.com and Facebook: Pat O’Regan Independent.

Read the remainder of the edition here: http://subscriber.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/subscribe.aspx?eid=c946bff2-f434-4a7b-a75d-621998d7e750

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