Former Fianna Fáil county councillor Colm Wiley is to be honoured at a special function in Mountshannon next week, where Taoiseach Brian Cowen is due to attend.
Deputy Timmy Dooley and the local East Clare Fianna Fáil Comhairle Ceanntair have organised the event in the Mountshannon Hotel on June 11 from 8.30pm to honour the Bodyke man.
Ahead of the local elections last June, Mr Wiley announced he would not stand as a candidate at the next local election. The public representative held a seat on Clare County Council for almost 30 years and in that time has held a number of positions, including as chairman of the council itself from 1994 to 1995.
During his time in the council he saw 16 councillors pass on the chain of office and has worked with five county managers.
He started out with Fianna Fáil while working in Dublin in 1959, where he attended meetings at the Dublin South Central Fianna Fáil branch at a time when the then Taoiseach Seán Lemass was also a member.
Mr Wiley went to England for work before returning to Ennis to contest the 1979 Fianna Fáil selection convention and was chosen to stand in that year’s local elections, which began his 30-year long stint in local politics.
Speaking to The Clare Champion, he said he is very much looking forward to the event and to catching up with Mr Cowen.
“We have been good friends for a long time, going back to when I was chairman of the council in 1995 we were in Toulouse for a couple of days. He has said he will make time to come down to the event on Friday. I have been kept out of the scene up until now and it has all been arranged. I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
Asked about retirement, Mr Wiley said, “Sure, I’m as busy as ever, I’m gardening and everything else. I’m still very interested in the party in the East Clare area and help out there whatever way I can.”
Deputy Dooley said the social evening is an open event, all are welcome and it is in recognition of Mr Wiley’s loyalty to the party but also to the people of East Clare during his long term as a public representative.
“I have known Colm for many years, he has been a loyal servant of the Fianna Fáil party and a great representative for the East Clare area.
“He has a long and distinguished record of service and it is fitting that that would be recognised by the Taoiseach and that he be present to mark the occasion. Colm would have been a strong presence in the East Clare area and would have guided me from my initial joining of the Fianna Fáil party.
“He helped people out without differentiation. He is still very active in the party and attends meetings and in community initiatives and retired from the council a prominent member of the organisation,” Deputy Dooley commented.
The Taoiseach is expected to give an address at the event, as will the man of the hour. All are welcome to attend.