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Loss For Local Politics as Cllr Liam O’Connor Announces Departure

Writes Ciaran Dineen

The Carrigaline Municipal District (MD) of Cork County Council was dealt a blow this week following the announcement that Councillor Liam O’Connor (FG) is set to step away from local politics, citing work commitments as the reason for his departure.

The disappointing news of Cllr O’Connor’s decision has been known for some time, with his final appearance at the monthly meeting of the MD coming on Monday afternoon (18th October). Liam follows his former colleague and councillor, Aidan Lombard, out of County Hall, with the latter exiting from the earlier this year also due to work commitments.

Liam first moved to Carrigaline over 10 years ago, having previously lived in the Douglas/Rochestown area. Originally from Newcastle West, Limerick, Cllr O’Connor has become one of the most active and progressive leaders in community development for Carrigaline, spending huge amounts of his free time involved in projects to make the area a nicer and better place to live.

Liam has been a part of a number of different local committees, but is best known for the role he plays with the award-winning Carrigaline Tidy Towns, for whom he has been its Chairperson for the last number of years. In 2019 Liam decided to take on another community role, putting himself forward to contest the Local Elections. He was elected in May 2019 and since then has played a very important part in a number of key projects for the area, some of which are yet to be delivered. In particular, Cllr O’Connor played an active role in the development of the Carrigaline Transportation and Public Realm Enhancement Plan, the transportation part of which was agreed on and published at the beginning of the summer this year.

Unfortunately, as was the case with former local representative, Aidan Lombard, the demands placed on Councillors has proven to be too much in recent months for Cllr O’Connor, who on top of the political role was also juggling a full-time job with Janssen in Ringaskiddy.

Speaking in County Hall on Monday, the outgoing Councillor said “I want to thank all my colleagues and the Council staff, it’s been great working with ye all. I think there was a lot of stuff done, good work that has gone on over the last few years….best of luck to the MD councillors in the future. I know that the Transportation Plan is great for the town, it really will transform the place. It’s unfortunate that I wont be involved in the Public Realm plan for the Owenabue Carpark, but I look forward to seeing the results for that, I know you will do the best for the town and deliver what the community needs.”

All of his Council colleagues spoke glowing in tribute to the work he has done as a Councillor since May 2019, with Councillor Seámus McGrath (FF) once again reiterating, as he has done so in the past, that the demands placed on local councillors is enormous and expectations somewhat unrealistic. Meanwhile, Chairperson of the MD, Cllr Marcia D’Alton (Ind) thanked her fellow Tidy Towns enthusiast for his “massive contribution in all regards” over the last number of years, not only as a local councillor, but through his voluntary community work as well.

Fortunately, Liam is looking forward to continuing his activism in the community saying, “I’m still going to play an active part in the community as Chair of the Tidy Towns. We need to get back our Gold Medal and get back to winning the regional awards and national awards”.

We would like to extend our best wishes to Liam in the future and thank him for his trojan work in the area over the last 2.5 years.

Fine Gael will host a convention on October 28th to select Cllr O'Connor's replacement.

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