FINE Gael’s Cllr Aidan Lombard is the fourth councillor under the age of 40 in West Cork to resign his seat in recent years, but he’s left the door open for a return.
Speaking to The Southern Star, Cllr Lombard, the sitting chair of the Carrigaline Municipal District, said he doesn’t regret a single day of being a councillor, but his full-time job has made it too difficult.
He has held the Council post since 2016 after he was co-opted into the seat, following his brother Tim’s election to the Seanad. Cllr Lombard, who will bow out on April 12th, contested his first local election in 2019 and was elected on the first count.
‘I’m leaving it with a heavy heart because I love doing it, but I just don’t have the time. Without Covid I’d have gone sooner, because it allowed me to attend meetings online,’ said Cllr Lombard. The father-of-three said that work commitments over the past year with Japanese Knotweed Ireland have made it increasingly difficult for him to juggle. ‘I probably managed the first three or four years pretty well, but I found the last year difficult, as work got busier.’
Cllr Lombard is also involved in a small engineering company, Excel Building & Civil Engineering. ‘Work is great and I need to focus on that for now, and a lot of my [knotweed] work has been up the country in the last year and it wasn’t really compatible with the Council at the scale it’s at now.’ As for future plans, Cllr Lombard said he will continue to be involved in local politics and hasn’t ruled out a return at some stage.
His brother, Sen Tim Lombard, said he was sorry to see Aidan resign, but admitted it’s a trend among some younger councillors.
Cllr Lombard’s resignation follows in the steps of his former Bandon Kinsale councillors, Fine Gael’s James O’Donovan and Sinn Féin’s Rachel McCarthy, who also resigned their seats in recent years, as well as Noel O’Donovan who resigned to become a garda in 2017, (but has since announced he is returning to politics).
It is expected that Fine Gael will fill Cllr Lombard’s seat by the middle of May, following an online convention of party members.