Sunday 24 September 2017

'More than a pretty face' - Adam following late dad's footsteps

Cllr Adam Wyse on the canvass in Waterford. Photo: John Power
Cllr Adam Wyse on the canvass in Waterford. Photo: John Power
Adam Wyse talking to Theresa Slattery in Waterford. Picture: John Power

Lise Hand, Waterford

ADAM Wyse looked puzzled. "I don't know what's happening my posters, some of them have been taken down from the lamp-posts. They haven't fallen down," he explained to one of the owners of Beckett's pub on the Dunmore Road in Waterford which serves as a sort of unofficial HQ for the Fianna Fail candidate during the election campaign.

It could of course be dirty tricks from other parties, or it could be the work of disgruntled voters. Or – just perhaps – they could have been snaffled as souvenirs by young ones in Waterford who've had their heads turned by the 19-year-old candidate who, as one woman observed when she opened her door to him, is "a very photogenic young man".

But if Adam wins one of the six seats in the local elections, it'll be down to being more than than just possessing a camera-friendly face.

As he walked around the Riverview estate with a small team of canvassers his late father Gary was mentioned on every doorstep. "Your dad was very clued in," Noreen Walsh told him. "He sorted out the planting at the front of the estate when the council wouldn't do it," she explained.

"Dad dragged me and my brother out of bed one morning, and we spent three hours digging up and replanting those flower-beds, even though he promised it would only take half an hour," Adam explained with a smile.

His dad, Councillor Gary Wyse, was well-known locally as a man who worked closely with his community. His sudden death last October at the age of 50 came as what Adam described as a "massive shock" to his family.

But despite his youth and the fact he was in the second year of his business studies at WIT, finishing his exams this week in the middle of the campaign, Adam didn't hesitate to follow his footsteps onto the town council. "Me and my dad had already spoken about maybe me running an election alongside him only a few weeks before he died. I'd been out canvassing with him since I was 14," he said.

Adam was co-opted onto the council two months after his father died last October. And he's been working hard to get elected, canvassing every evening after college. "I prefer to go to houses rather than bother people in supermarkets when they're busy," he explained.

"I'm really into the idea that everyone who lives in a community should work for the community, and help each other out. If someone comes to me with a problem and the council can't sort it and I can, well I'll do it. You don't have to be a councillor to do that. I learned that from my dad who had a gift for helping people," said Adam. "It's on my leaflet: "Continuing the Wyse commitment to serve'."

He stresses that he has loads of ideas of his own to improve Waterford's situation, in particular youth unemployment which is running at about 22pc.

And despite their mauling at the last election, Adam is happy to run as a Fianna Fail candidate. "I'm getting great advice and support," he said.

So what about all the female attention? Adam laughed. "I say as a joke, 'I hope I'm not just a pretty face', though I hope I don't come across as cocky saying that. I think I have some good ideas as well," he ventured.

"And I don't think people vote because someone looks good on a poster. But if that's what it takes, I'll happily have their votes. And they all have my number, if they want to ring me for anything after," he added with a grin.

Irish Independent

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