Sunday 21 January 2018

Elected against the odds, Paul outlines key issues he'll tackle

Paul Mulville
Paul Mulville

John Manning

PAUL Mulville was elected in the Swords Ward against some considerable odds with a modest campaign from the independent candidate funded by a Credit Union loan and thrust into unemployment in the middle of it all.

The 31-year-old Portrane man is now one of the new faces on Fingal County Council, all of which the Fingal Independent hopes to introduce you to over the summer months in a special series of interviews.

Cllr Mulville's family hail from the North Strand but he has been brought up in Portrane from a young age. He told the Fingal Independent: 'We moved out to Portrane when I was about two or three. My grandad built a little holiday home down there before that, like a lot of people at that time in the city that would have had a little hut out in Portrane or Rush or Skerries.

'We used to live up in the North Strand in my mam's granny's house so we were very lucky that mam and dad were able to move out to Portrane and do a little bit of work on the holiday home – it was like moving to Spain.'

Cllr Mulville studies English and German at Trinity College and it is there he got involved in politics first, joining the Labour Party's youth wing and getting involved in campaigns, including a student boycott of Coca-Cola.

Straight after college, he found himself at Leinster house working for Sean Ryan and Mary Upton and ultimately, he became an assistant to Brendan Ryan when he became Senator after missing out on a Dáil seat in the 2007 election.

But Cllr Mulville's relationship with the local Labour dynasty that is the Ryan family, goes back to Sean Ryan's time as a TD when a young Paul Mulville wrote to the local representative.

Cllr Mulville said: 'I remember years ago, the beach and the dunes at the Burrow were always an issue as they still are and we would have been worried about erosion and I don't know what age I was, but I was worried about this issue and my mam said I should write to Sean Ryan about it, who was a TD at the time.

'So, I sent off the letter and he wrote back and he met me on the beach and I showed him what was going on.'

Explaining why he joined the Labour party, he said: 'I always felt I was a socialist and I wanted to help create a fairer society and Labour were the biggest party on the left in Ireland at the time so I joined and got involved and tried to make a difference.'

But like a number of people in the party, its participation in the current Government soured relations with

Cllr Mulville who along with his last employer, Patrick Nulty TD, left the party and decided to go it alone.

He said: 'We had a big debate about going into Government and I, like a lot of people, would have felt that we shouldn't have gone into Government and instead, led the opposition as the biggest opposition party at the time.'

Despite that view losing out in the debate, he stuck with the party initially but ultimately felt the 'economic policy of the Government wasn't really progressive in a lot of ways'.

He added: 'Then you had a choice whether to just give up or go for it yourself as an independent.'

He made the latter choice, a choice that Patrick Nulty TD had made separately but when Deputy Nulty found himself in the teeth of controversy and felt compelled to resign, Paul Mulville found himself unemployed in the middle of his own local election campaign.

Looking on the bright side, Cllr Mulville said: 'Well at least it gave me more time for canvassing.'

Funded only by a Credit Union loan and aided by friends and family, candidate Mulville pursued the campaign but had no idea how it would all work out – it worked out well.

He said: 'You do all the canvassing and leafleting but you never know how it's going to work out. I was delighted in the end – it would have been hard taking those posters down if I hadn't been elected.'

Now that he has the mandate, the new councillor is determined to use it and will be pursuing local issues like the protection of Portrane Beach and a final resolution to what he called the 'disgraceful' saga that has left a €1.2 million all-weather facility in Donabate unused for more than two years.

Wider issues like planning and addressing the housing crisis in Fingal are also on the new councillor's radar who hopes the number of left-of-centre candidates elected to Fingal County Council this time around will mean a more 'left-leaning, progressive council'. He is disappointed that the county has not ended up with an independent Mayor and hopes that might change in the future because he believes the people of Fingal voted against the established parties.

The Portrane man can be expected to utter a few words as Gaelige in the council chamber too as a committed supporter of the Irish language who wants to see more promotion of the language in Fingal.

Fingal Independent

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