Swords poll-topper to quit seat on council
Cllr Philip Kynam (SF) announces he will not contest next election
After almost five years serving Fingal, Sinn Fein councillor Philip Lynam has decided to move on to another role. Although he will relinquish his position on the council, he will he says, very much remain a member of Sinn Fein, and will continue to 'help out' the people of the area.
Due to leave the council in January 2019, Cllr Lynam explained to The Fingal Independent the reasoning behind his decision, and of his time working on the council: 'Basically, it's that I found a new job and it's taking over the time that I have, unfortunately.
'Family and work have to come first, and I just can't juggle both.
'I'm still a Party member, and I'll still be in the area and helping out, but family ties and work commitments will take over.
'Anybody who knows me would say that I always give 100-percent, but unfortunately I wouldn't be able to give 100-percent in my council work, and it wouldn't be fair to the people who elected me.'
Cllr Lynam says he had a 'great' relationship with the other councillors, regardless of which party they were from.
They would all, he says 'put the shoulder to the wheel' to get things done, as they realised that more could be achieved for the area by working together, he said.
It was while working as a Fingal councillor that it struck Cllr Lynam of the magnitude of the housing crisis.
In his clinics, he says, approximately '70-80%' of problems would be due to impending homelessness, or people going into emergency accommodation: 'That was the tough part about being a councillor, facing families that were coming into homelessness, or going into emergency accommodation.
'The homelessness issues is huge. I don't think people grasp how much of an issue it is, it's really, really bad out there and it's across all spectrums and all walks of life.'
It was in dealing with these issues, however that Cllr Lynam gained most satisfaction. Despite the heartache of seeing the face of homelessness, it was a great sense of achievement, he says, knowing that you had helped a family out.
Cllr Lynam said: 'Helping families on a daily basis was where my heart was at. Hearing that families were being housed, or helping the housing department along the way, made it all worthwhile.
'We were getting letters and cards in thanking us, and as councillors, that was one of our biggest achievements.
'At the end of the day though, without the mandate of the people in Swords, I wouldn't have been able to do that, so I owe a lot to the people who voted for me.'
Despite all the challenges and frustrations, Cllr Lynam says he has very much enjoyed his time working with the council.
But with those frustrations, the long hours and red tape, why did he find it so appealing?
He said: 'It's just great, because you're getting the message out people on what you can help out with.
'I have to say the Executive were great and were really good to work with, and were very transparent when you went to them on a number of matters through different departments.
'We really have a great team working in there. I know a lot of people give out about the council on different elements, but I have to say, there's a fantastic group of people who work there, and that often goes unrecognised too.'
Cllr Lynam's departure in January will trigger a co-opting process within the local Sinn Féin party who will be entitled to nominate a temporary replacement for Cllr Lynam on the council who will assume his seat until the end of the term of the current elected council, which will draw to a close next May with the 2019 local elections.
Cllr Lynam's departure will leave some difficult shoes to fill, electorally for the party as the popular Sinn Féin councillor topped the poll at his first attempt at the last local elections.
His replacement is yet to be named but whoever it may be, they will have to work fast to establish a name and reputation ahead of the local elections which are due to take place, next May.