News Local Elections

Sunday 16 June 2019

'I finished my exams last Thursday and was out canvassing that evening'

FF's young pretender: Albert Dolan (20) Fianna Fáil, Athenry- Oranmore, Co Galway

Albert Dolan canvassing at the door step of Sean and Moira Martyn with their grand-daughter Robyn Kelly in Monivea, Athenry. Photograph: Hany Marzouk
Albert Dolan canvassing at the door step of Sean and Moira Martyn with their grand-daughter Robyn Kelly in Monivea, Athenry. Photograph: Hany Marzouk

Albert grew up in a household steeped in Fianna Fáil - his father, Michael, unsuccessfully contested the 2011 General Election in Galway East. A second year Accountancy student at NUI Galway, he has created a study app, RewardEd.

Yes, I am indeed named after Albert Reynolds! My grandfather was involved with Fianna Fáil, and my father too. I hope to be the first member of the family to stand for election and get elected.

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I come from a farming background. I went to secondary school in Athenry where I was heavily involved in the student council. Then, when I went to college, I joined Ógra Fianna Fáil and it was then that I saw the difference that small policy changes could make and how they can positively impact small communities.

If there's going to be seven councillors in the Athenry-Oranmore area, there needs to be one to represent the needs of the young people. I'm a passionate believer in what politics can do. I only finished my exams last Thursday and I was back out canvassing that evening.

Fianna Fáil were last in power when I was in primary school. Some people I speak to aren't very happy that I'm the Fianna Fáil candidate. At the very start of the conversation, it goes one of two ways: people either say, 'Why are you with Fianna Fáil?' or, 'Wow, you're only 20.' And they can be understandably sceptical. But by the end of the conversation and when I'm done speaking with them, I've given them a new confidence that there is a future for Fianna Fáil thanks to strong new candidates who want to work for their communities.

If you drive around the communities I'm in, there is so much vacant and derelict buildings - if they were given a bit of TLC, they would make great accommodation for families. Before we go building thousands upon thousands of social housing units we need to make do with what we have first and get people into those houses while they're on housing lists.

Broadband is the other huge issue for people that I meet and they're annoyed with the way the government have handled it. The fact that broadband was treated as a profit-making instrument rather than a necessity for each home was the undermining flaw. And the fact that after all that money has been spent, a private company will own all that infrastructure is just wrong.

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