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Former junior minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran loses out in political comeback bid


Kevin 'Boxer' Moran working on his boat on the banks of the Shannon. Photo: Kevin McNulty

Kevin 'Boxer' Moran working on his boat on the banks of the Shannon. Photo: Kevin McNulty

Kevin 'Boxer' Moran working on his boat on the banks of the Shannon. Photo: Kevin McNulty

Former junior minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran has vowed “I’ll be back” after missing out on a return to local government.

Mr Moran made a bid for a vacant seat on Westmeath County Council, which was filled today by Paul Hogan, an Independent.

Mr Moran, who served as minister of state for the Office of Public Works (OPW) before he lost his Dáil seat, wanted to replace his son Jamie, who resigned his seat on Westmeath County Council earlier this month.

However at today's meeting of the council, councillors instead voted for Athlone’s Mr Hogan, a former Sinn Féin councillor who left the party in 2018. He was also a general election candidate in 2007, 2011 and 2016.

At a meeting of the local authority this afternoon, Mr Hogan won the vote by a margin of 12 votes to 6.

Mr Moran lost his Dáil seat in 2020 after serving four years as a TD for Longford-Westmeath as part of the Independent Alliance.

Mr Moran said he had been deliberately frustrated by major parties as Mr Hogan was co-opted by Fianna Fáil and the Greens.

In a statement he said: “Long-standing co-option traditions and precedent were completely ignored at this afternoon’s meeting of Westmeath County Council by the naked ambition and power grab for an independent seat by a Government driven combination of Fianna Fáil/Greens hellbent on serving their own political interests ahead of the people’s own voting wishes as expressed in the local elections in 2019.”

Mr Moran told the Irish Independent this evening: “Arnie Schwarzenegger has a famous saying: ‘I’ll be back.’

“The general election is two years’ away, and that’s a long time away, but this effort has given me back my energy and hunger,” he said.

“I allowed my name to go forward as I genuinely believe, given my experience at both local and national politics, that I can make a positive contribution for the people of the Athlone-Moate electoral area.

“I think most people would agree that I have a excellent record of delivering for the south of the county, across all political divides, over a 20-year period.”

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Mr Moran was formerly OPW minister when the Independent Alliance was in power in a minority Fine Gael-led Government.

He became Minister of State for the Office of Public Works in 2017 after his colleague Seán Canney rotated the post.

Two years ago Mr Moran announced he was leaving the Alliance and would stand as an "outright Independent" in the 2020 election, where he lost his seat.

Mr Moran said he had never been bogged down in ideology or political divisions.

“It was made very clear to me from the time I was nominated to fill the vacancy, that Fianna Fáil were determined to block my return to the council.

“I believe it has more to do with personal local ambitions, with no concern whatsoever for the welfare of the electorate, especially at a time when there are three sitting TD’s based in Mullingar but none in Athlone or south Westmeath.

“I fear greatly that Athlone, Moate and Kilbeggan are losing out in terms of jobs and investment while other towns in the region are forging ahead."

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