SUSAN Crawford is set to be co-opted onto Clare County Council, filling the seat left vacant following the appointment of Róisín Garvey as a senator.
Ms Crawford was the choice of party members, ahead of Sophie Pigot of Ennistymon.
A former college lecturer, she has an adult son, Tomás, with autism and established her own independent autism consultancy in recent times. A native of Inagh as is Ms Garvey, she has lived in Miltown Malbay for many years.
Ms Crawford completed a PhD in the field of Fundamental Movement Skills and Autism in 2007, while she is a two time Fulbright award winner, for her work on the development of autism awareness programmes. She researched and developed the Get Autism Active online programme, which develops skills of movement, provides opportunity for further development of heatlh related physical acitivity, participation in exercise and sport and social inclusion.
She has completed marathons, and in 2019, she undertook a 2,500km walk, run and cycle along the Wild Atlantic Way from Kinsale to Donegal to build awareness around autism.
It was only this summer that Ms Crawford actually joined the Greens. “I only joined it in the last two months, I have been canvassing with Róisín since she took off with the Green Party, but it’s only in the last couple of months that I got around to joining myself. When the co-option came up, several people asked me would I consider it, and I said I would. ”
Asked about her priorities for the Ennistymon Municipal District, she said, “I’d be a big advocate of the Greenway, and to try and get a bit of infrastructure rebuilt around Miltown particularly. We’ve had an awful wallop, especially with Willic Clancy week gone this year on top of everything else.”
With the outlook for Tomás being better than it was, the timing is suitable for her, she feels. ” His trajectory has improved greatly in the last few months so the time is right for me to say I can drive this on now. Here, locally, we need somebody to give a voice to us.”
She says that her work in advocating for people with disabilities has given her some experience of the kind of thing a county councillor spends a lot of time doing. “There are always going to be local issues for a county councillor, whether it’s a road or a footpath or lights or whatever. I’m certainly used to contacting me in the world of disabilities, saying they can’t get respite services or they can’t get this or that. I have been active in that way for years, advocating for services.”
Ms Crawford takes the seat won by Róisín Garvey in last year’s local election, which was notable as it was the first time the Greens won a rural county council seat in Clare, although in the past Brian Meaney represented Ennis for a number of years.
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.