BANDON Kinsale councillor Alan Coleman confirmed earlier this week that he is ‘throwing his hat into the ring’ in a bid to secure one of the three seats up for grabs in the Cork South West constituency.
This is Cllr Coleman’s second time to contest a seat in the general election, having run unsuccessfully as an independent in 2016. He was eliminated on the fourth count then, just behind former Fine Gael TD Noel Harrington.
The former Fianna Fáil councillor was, nevertheless, elected on the first count as an independent at last year’s local elections, securing 2,350 votes and, according to Alan, this has inspired his decision to enter the race.
‘I was very heartened by the support I received at last May’s local elections and since then I have been talking to my electorate and they have encouraged me to give it another shot,’ Cllr Coleman told The Southern Star.
‘I feel I can contribute at a national level and represent West Cork as there are huge infrastructural needs for the region and we, therefore, need a strong voice at national level.’
He added that West Cork needs a few ‘big ticket items’ and that it should be to the fore when it comes to the National Broadband Plan and also called for improvements in healthcare and the provision of more community beds.
Cllr Coleman feels that the changed political landscape in this constituency which sees current Junior Minister Jim Daly not running may mean there could be inroads to be made.
‘Jim stepping down means there’s a chance for change and I would be looking for cross-party voters too as well as Fine Gael, and I hope to tap into that too. Also the fact that Fianna Fáil will be running two candidates means that it’s opening up the field a bit.’
Cllr Coleman and his team will hit the ground running later this week but he admits it will be a ‘very short sharp election’ so the ‘doorsteps’ may not be as strong as normal.
Voters may be surprised to see him boasting more hair than normal on his election posters and that’s because – like last year’s local elections – he is re-using the same posters he used for the general election in 2016.
‘We still have a few posters left so we’re recycling them and people know who I am, but I’m showing slightly more hair than I currently have!’