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Elections 2019: Seán O’Donovan – Fianna Fáil

Writes Ciaran Dineen

Running for elections this May in the Bandon-Kinsale LEA is Seán O’Donovan for the Fianna Fáil party. Seán resides near Bandon but is also well-known in Crosshaven, where he has now owned Fitzy’s pub for the last two years. Seán has been a business man in his native Bandon, where he had run a number of enterprises over the years. The Fianna Fáil candidate has for many years been very active in his own community of Bandon and is former Chairperson of the Mainstream Playground Action Group, the Joint-Policing Committee and of Bandon Week Festival.

Journey to Politics:

Growing up, Seán was well-used to being surrounded by the political process as his father regularly canvassed for Fianna Fáil. He therefore went on to continue that legacy by aligning himself with the party, which he officially joined in his early 20s. In 2004 he ran for the Town Council elections but was unsuccessful in his first venture into representative politics. However,  Seán was nominated as a candidate to contest the 2009 elections and on that occasion he was elected, with Fianna Fáil taking a total of three seats in Bandon.

Like some other candidates battling it out this May, Seán had a good experience of sitting on a Town Council for five years , but unfortunately all of these were abolished in 2014. Having been out of representative politics since then, Seán hopes that if elected this May, he can be a strong Councillor for all of the ward.

Experiences from Bandon Town Council:

According to Seán, when he was elected to Bandon Town Council in 2009 there were a number of issues that needed to be addressed. One of the most important that he faced was the lack of youth facilities in the area. “We introduced the MUGA Development (Multi-use games area) and skate park , which was actually the first skate park in West Cork,” Seán tells The Carrigdhoun. He was also heavily involved in trying to install a CCTV system in Bandon, but complications surrounding GDPR has seen this hit a stumbling block in recent times. The abolition of Town Councils has had a negative impact across the country and Seán believes that for his own community of Bandon this has also certainly been the case. “Absolutely there has been a negative effect. For the ordinary person they would have had maybe nine local people on the Council and they could walk the street and say this or that needs fixing. Nowadays Councillors might not necessarily be from the area and then that restricts representation.”

Seán recognises that Municipal District Meetings for the Kinsale-Bandon ward have almost in themselves become very decentralised and offer the best chance for dealing with local constituent issues. Speaking on co-operating across the board with all parties he says, “similar to the Town Council we had Labour, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin so we all worked together. When you’re elected you represent the party but when you’re elected you also represent the people and you must work for those people in a cross-party manner.”

On Representing the Eastern Side of the Constituency:

Although the Fianna Fáil candidate has connections to Crosshaven, unfortunately for Seán the new boundary changes will see Crosshaven move back into the Carrigaline LEA. However, he still believes that he can have a presence in the Eastern part of the new area, which consists of Belgooly, Nohoval, Ballymartle and some of Ballinhassig.

“I suppose if elected then you’re elected for the whole area so from my point of view it’s equal opportunity for everyone. I have been to a number of meetings already in those areas and if there are issues that crop up in those parts then I can say that if elected I would be trying just as hard on that side of the constituency as what I would be in the local side in Bandon. The main problems that I hear coming up at Resident’s Association Meetings that I attend would be on areas such as speeding, speed ramps, lighting, road surfaces, the usual things that are probably all over the constituency.”

On Being a New Candidate and Bringing Fresh Ideas to the Table:

Seán believes that as a new candidate he brings a lot of experience but can also add a freshness to the table in County Hall. Citing an example in Bandon involving the development of a playground, which required a lot of perseverance and hard work on his part, Seán says that he does not let things go if change is demanded or needed. He also explains that it’s good to see new people coming forward with their own ideas.

“I think it’s good to see new faces and names on the ballot paper. I’m not knocking any sitting Councillors at all but sometimes it is good to have younger people with fresh blood and new ideas. For example, I feel that each estate in the constituency should have a Resident’s Association because they do have quite a bit of power. There’s also a lot of festivals that take place in towns and villages and I’d be making them aware that there are grants and funds available to them. A lot of it is about communication and that for me is very important and being available as much I can is a priority. If someone has the courage to pick up the phone and ring you with a problem then they deserve a reply and that is perhaps something that might be lacking a bit at the minute.”

In the lead up to the elections this May, you can contact Seán with any enquiries about his campaign on various platforms.

Mobile: 086-2351013 Email: Facebook: Sean O’Donovan Twitter: Sean.odonovan

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