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Keith Mc Namara. Photograph by John Kelly

Keith enters the election race

THIRTY seven year old Keith McNamara from Cluain Airne is running in the upcoming local elections as an independent.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a number of years. The town is being neglected in some ways,” he said.
“There are lots of maintenance issues, its public spaces have been neglected, and I want to represent the voice of the people of Shannon. I feel like it has been underrepresented a little bit for the past couple of years.
“I was never a member of a party. I like politics, I’ve been interested in it since I was in my teens.
“I’ve also been involved in numerous community groups since I was a teenager. I like being involved with things that contribute to a better life for everyone, planning for the future and contributing to the town and its environs.”
On his current community involvement, he said, “Currently I’m involved with Wolfe Tones, I’m a member of Limerick Lawn Tennis Club as well, I’m involved with the Community Games and Shannon Athletics Club. I used to be in the Shannon Musical Society but I’m doing shift work now so it doesn’t work out.”
He also volunteered with Fáilte Isteach to provide English language classes for Ukrainian refugees.
Mr McNamara feels that being an Independent councillor can be an advantage.
“I’ve been involved in many committees and I know that having a different voice is often better than having a consensus all the time,” he said.
“I think I would have a better opportunity to represent the people of Shannon as an Independent rather than being in a party. We’ve had 13 years of Fine Gael in government, four years of Fianna Fáil with them, I think that the Government policies come down to the local authorities and are followed.
“Shannon needs another strong voice to push against that and get what’s best for the people of Shannon.”
He feels that a lot of regeneration is needed.
“The natural public spaces that were built in the 60s and 70s, like in Drumgeely, in Tradaree, the small parklets in the older part of the town, and the new park in Ballycasey, is an absolute swamp.
“A lot of people feel that when something is done in Shannon, it is left and never maintained. Before the new lights in Drumgeely were put in, I met a new business owner and they were worried that when the job was done they would just be left on their own with no maintenance. It was another bit of a push to go for the council.
“As wonderful as it might be if they build the One Shannon Hub, somebody isn’t going to send a child down from Ballycasey to the Town Centre to play.
“Money would be better spent on public projects within the areas for families and their children. If you look at Drumgeely we have two tennis courts where the site has been left derelict for 20 years.
“Look at where the playground was in Aidan and Finian Park, I’d say that’s gone for 25 years.”
He feels that more needs to be done to support small business in and around the Sayhnnon area.
“There’s a need for a review of rates for small businesses,” he said.
“I’ve spoken to lots of small businesses and even though there is a rebate scheme it is more being used to pay for next year’s rates, than for helping businesses with their cash flow.”
Younger people nowadays face a range of challenges, and he wants to do what he can to help his peers to be able to live full lives in Shannon.
“I have a lot of friends who moved abroad and when they come home they ask do I really want to come back to Shannon with my children, because nothing has changed,” he said.
“They are living in Australia or Canada where there are fantastic amenities and parks.”

Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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