Sunday 21 July 2019

Two more names in the hat for local elections

Jackser Owens and Gerald O'Donoghue join the race

Jackser Owens
Jackser Owens
Gerald O’Donoghue

Pádraig Byrne

Two more candidates have thrown their hats into the ring for the 2019 local elections, as the race for a council seat heats up with the turning of the year. A familiar face to most having previously served on Enniscorthy Town Council in the past and having narrowly missed out on a seat last time out, Jackser Owens confirmed that he will be seeking the support of the public once more in May.

Meanwhile, having already announced his intention to contest the next general election for the Renua Party, Davidstown man Gerald O'Donoghue is looking to test the political waters by first running for Wexford County Council. He is hopeful to use the local elections as a stepping stone on his way to battling it out for a seat in the Dáil.

Jackser Owens was disappointed last time out having missed out on election by only a few votes. He further expressed his anger when Cllr Willie Kavanagh, who finished well below him in the polls, was later co-opted onto Enniscorthy Municipal District Council in place of James Browne who took his seat in the Dáil. Mr Owens stated that he believed it should have been next past the post to take the seats and that the system was rigged in favour of the major political parties.

Although somewhat cryptic on the matter, Mr Owens says that he will be contesting this year's election as an independent.

'At the moment, I'll be going as an independent,' he said. 'I'm confident that I'll be a strong voice for the people of Enniscorthy. I've 20 years of experience on the council and it was an honour to serve the people of Enniscorthy and would be an honour to serve them again.'

While there are a number of projects in the pipeline for Enniscorthy, and green shoots seem to be visible around the town, Mr Owens says he doesn't want to sugar-coat things.

'Enniscorthy at the moment is not doing well,' he said. 'It's dead on its feet. It needs a Tesco and a Penneys. It needs the cinema open again. We need the Flood Plan done. It's going on too long. It's been on the table for 19 years and people in Island Road are still watching the water wondering if it's going to come into their houses.'

Meanwhile, Mr O'Donoghue is looking at the local elections somewhat differently. While there are local issues in mind that he wishes to address, he runs with one eye on Dáil Eireann and a general election.

'Enniscorthy is gone to a six seater under the new boundaries, which is both good and bad, but I believe I'd have a good chance,' he said. 'Obviously then that would lead up to me running in a general election after that.'

'The way I look at it,' he said. 'The local issues that are affecting Enniscorthy and Wexford are the same ones that are affecting local communities across the country. There are lots of local problems such as the state of the roads and then education is a big one for me. We are losing some of our brightest people to Dublin because there isn't the jobs here for them. We need to get more jobs into Co Wexford and particularly Enniscorthy, which is a real black-spot.'

Both candidates' campaigns are now underway as they hope to secure a seat in what could be a very tight affair.

Enniscorthy Guardian