FIANNA Fáil has named Danny Crowley as a new local area representative for the Bantry local electoral area.
A native of Beara, Mr Crowley said he is acutely aware of the many challenges facing rural communities.
‘Living in Adrigole, farming and fishing will always be important to this area.
‘However, government policies in recent years have failed to recognise the continuing decline in these sectors,’ he said.
‘Public confidence will need to be restored regarding both European and national policies around these sectors and this can only be achieved by meaningful discussions with stakeholders,’ he added.
Mr Crowley described West Cork as a great place where historically people have been ‘very creative in meeting the challenges of rural depopulation’.
The former Fianna Fáil councillor is calling for incentives to be introduced to encourage young people to stay here. ‘We need some incentive for our youth to encourage them to look at staying in West Cork so we can retain the many services that are under constant threat of reduced hours or in some cases closure due to population decline,’ he said.
He said current planning guidelines need to be amended to ensure local young people are given the opportunity to build a home on a site that may have been given to them by a parent or relative.
‘This has always been our way in West Cork to provide affordable housing for the next generation and current planning guidelines, if not amended, will decimate rural communities,’ he said.
Mr Crowley added that he was looking forward to working very closely with local Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan and Senator Denis O’Donovan.
Welcoming the news, Deputy O’Sullivan said Danny has a reputation for being a trojan worker ‘in terms of his work as a county councillor, especially in the Bantry and Beara areas’. The entire Beara peninsula needs as much representation as possible because it can be very isolated, he added.
He said that, along with local Fianna Fáil Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy, the party will now have ‘two really strong Fianna Fail reps in an area that needs it.’
Danny Crowley (58) was elected on his first attempt in the 2004 local elections and served in the Bantry area until 2014, having been re-elected in 2009 after topping the poll. However, early in 2013, he gave the party an early indication that he would not be seeking re-election.
With no current councillor living in the Beara area, Danny said he is hoping the news will help revive party membership on the peninsula.
The news comes just days after fishing representative Patrick Murphy announced he would run for the Aontú party in the upcoming European elections candidate.
He also exclusively told The Southern Star that he may be interested in running for a Cork County Council seat.
The Ballydehob-based chief executive of the Beara-based Irish South & West Fish Producers’ Co-operative has said that his main political focus will be the fishing industry.