AS Fine Gael’s Aidan Lombard bows out as a councillor after five busy years, his colleagues have spoken about the growing demands that the role brings, including the 24/7 nature of it.
At an online meeting of the local authority this week, councillors wished Cllr Lombard all the best in his future, following his shock announcement last month that he was leaving to concentrate on his other work commitments.
Cllr Lombard was co-opted into his brother Senator Tim’s seat in 2016 and contested and won his first seat in the local elections in 2019.
During his time as a councillor, he served in both Carrigaline and Bandon Kinsale Municipal Districts.
County mayor Cllr Mary Linehan Foley (Ind) said he would be greatly missed and described him as a ‘pure and utter’ gentleman, and the leader of Fine Gael in the Council, Cllr John Paul O’Shea wished him well also.
Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) said Cllr Lombard was a very effective councillor and was ‘a no-nonsense’ straight talker.
‘It was a big decision for him to leave the Council and his leaving is a symptom of the difficulties councillors face in doing their job and the pressures we are under and the 24/7 nature of the job we are in, said Cllr McGrath.
‘It has changed dramatically over the last few years and I think we have seen good councillors leave the role in recent times.’
Cllr Lombard said he enjoyed his time in Cork County Council but acknowledged that there is a massive workload being a councillor.
‘I saw the workload increase in my five years as a councillor and the last 12 months was particularly difficult for me to balance everything.
‘I can’t dedicate enough of my time to being a full-time county councillor and that’s why I am stepping down. I would like to thank the people of Bandon, Kinsale and Carrigaline for giving me the opportunity to represent them and it was a great honour,’ said Cllr Lombard.
Council chief executive Tim Lucey said he fully recognised the amount of strain the role of a councillor can be on people while trying to run a business.
‘It’s regrettable that people have to leave local government and public life because I see the input people put into it every day on a voluntary basis. It is 24/7 and I hope it won’t be detrimental for local government into the future,’ said Mr Lucey.
Cllr Lombard told The Southern Star recently that he hasn’t ruled out returning to local politics at some stage.
He is the fourth councillor under the age of 40 to resign his seat in recent years, following in the footsteps of his former Bandon/Kinsale area colleagues Fine Gael’s James O’Donovan and Sinn Féin’s Rachel McCarthy, who also resigned their seats in recent years. Noel O’Donovan resigned his seat in 2017 to become a garda but has signalled that he is returning to politics.
It is expected that Fine Gael will fill Cllr Lombard’s seat by the middle of next month, following an online convention of party members.