Pride and relief as Henchy wins seat
ELECTED at almost midnight on the third day of the Swords count was Adrian Henchy of Fianna Fáil, taking a second seat for the party in the ward and getting more first preferences than any other candidate from the Donabate peninsula.
Topping the poll in the peninsula was a particular source of pride for Cllr Henchy who said the race for a seat in Swords was 'nervy and very tight'.
Reflecting on the win, he said: 'I feel a great sense of pride in one sense and relief in another, after the count went on for three days.'
'I'm delighted for my family and my team. We ran a very, very good campaign and worked very hard on the ground.'
The Fianna Fáil councillor who is heavily involved in St. Ita's Hockey Club and a number of other local organisations, said his campaign team was made up of people from local community groups and sporting clubs and they ran a 'community campaign more than a political campaign'.
He said he did find anger towards all the established parties on the doorstep and believes it's down to new councillors like him, to 'work hard on the ground and to be seen to be delivering' to restore trust in his party.
One of the main issues, he intends to pursue is the ongoing debacle over the €1.3 million all-weather playing pitch in Donabate which has lain idle for almost three years. He said the continuing row over who is responsible for the repair and restoration of the facility is 'not acceptable'.
A constant issue on the doorsteps on the peninsula, he said that locals were sick of looking at this wasted facility.
Another priority for the new councillor, who is a mental health nurse by profession, is to promote physical, social and mental health, particularly among young people.
'The economy is one part of our lives but society is a more important party. Looking after our physical, social and mental health – if we can get the balance right in these things we create more solid citizens,' he said.
Cllr Henchy added: 'There has been a huge increase in suicides over the last few years in this country and it has struck a chord at every door I went to in this campaign.
'It is a major issue now and has to be addressed the way road deaths were tackled. It's a particular problem for our young men and the best way to address it is, is from a very young age, to encourage our young people to discuss the issue honestly and openly.'
Noting a link between mental health and physical health, he wants to encourage sports clubs and schools to promote positive mental health.
He paid tribute to his Fianna Fáil colleagues Darragh Butler and John Hennessy and thanked the people of the Swords ward who voted for him, particularly those from Portrane and Donabate.