Virginia O'Dowd and Fiona Bonfield to run for Labour

Cllr Fiona Bonfield and former councillor Virginia O'Dowd have been selected to contest the 2019 local election for the Labour Party.

The party selected its candidates for the Nenagh and Newport areas at a convention at Nenagh's Abbey Court Hotel last Friday night. Newport-based Cllr Fiona Bonfield, who was elected on her first attempt in 2014, will run in the Newport area while former town and county councillor Virginia O'Dowd will run in the Nenagh area.

Ms O'Dowd lost out at the last local elections in 2014 when Nenagh was merged with Newport in the nine-seat Nenagh Municipal District. Following a boundary commission review this year, a decision was made to split the area into two electoral divisions. The Newport area will have four seats and the Nenagh area will have five.

Addressing the convention, Cllr Bonfield said: “In looking forward, I am determined to continue to give my all in my final year as a councillor under this term. As your candidate in the new Newport electoral division, I am equally determined to maintain our Labour seat at next year’s election. There is still so much more that needs to be achieved.”

She mentioned completion of a town park in Newport, an investment of over €850,000, work on which is to commence in a couple of months. “I cannot wait for this much awaited amenity to be completed,” Cllr Bonfield said. “It will transform this beautiful town in north Tipperary and will be one of the best town parks in Tipperary.

“The initial design has been drawn up now; we are awaiting the completion of an impact study statement and the plan will then be submitted to An Bord Pleanála for approval. Again, it was the help of the Labour Party and specifically Alan Kelly TD that bought this project to this stage as it was he who provided the necessary funding while he was a minister in government. For years we were waiting for this amenity provision in our town.

“Other projects that I will be working hard on include the provision of a second bridge in Ballina, a traffic management plan for Newport, provision of a new car park in Ballina, continuous investment in our local roads and more capital investment in the local schools in our area, the taking in charge of unfinished housing estates, improvements in our footpaths throughout the area, and ensuring our small villages and towns are supported in every way possible.”

Ms O'Dowd said: “I look forward to contesting the election on behalf of the Labour Party and representing the people of the area. I have a track record in delivering as a town and county councillor and, if elected, I am looking forward to delivering again for this area. 
“I will be canvassing very hard. There is a proud Labour tradition in north Tipperary and we need to get the vote out. The reality is the only party to have delivered jobs and investment in this area over the past number of years has been the Labour Party.”

Deputy Kelly said: “I'd like to congratulate Cllr Fiona Bonfield and Virginia O'Dowd on being selected to run for the Labour Party in next year's local election. They are two fantastic women with great energy and work ethic; they both work very hard for their communities. I'd ask people to support them, to ensure we have a strong team in the area working alongside me.”