Gillian Toole quits Fine Gael
Sitting Ratoath councillor, Gillian Toole has resigned from Fine Gael and has indicated she will be running as an independent candidate in the forthcoming election.
The move has come as a shock to the Fine Gael party locally, as she was one of three sitting councillors to be selected to run for the party in the Ratoath district at a convention last October.
Cllr Toole, who announced her decision on Monday night, said she was leaving the party as she felt Fine Gael policy no longer reflected the needs of the people of Meath.
"I have major issues with public transport, healthcare, community safety nd law and order," she said.
"I have been campaigning for a long time about public transport, but there has been no improvement.
"We need to look after the people of Meath," she said. "Quality of life issues are important. I still work part time in the health care sector and what I see at work leaves a lot to e desired."
Cllr Toole, who has served as a Fine Gael councilor for five years, was selected along with fellow Ratoath area councilors, Gerry O'Connor and Maria Murphy to fight the forthcoming elections for the party.
Cllr O'Connor said that they would be guided by the party headquarters when it came to a third candidate.
"This has come out of the blue. It is a shock, I had been looking forward to working with her and it is a lot to take in.
"She has been a good councillor and a valuable member of our team. She is a loss and it is disappointing," he said.
Meanwhile Sinn Fein has added Fergal O'Byrne to the ticket in Laytown/Bettystown, as a running mate to sitting councillor, Eimear Ferguson.
The party is hoping to take a second seat in that area and Mr O'Byrne will be concentrating his canvassing in the Duleek, Donore, Yellow Furze and Slane areas.
A former Green Party candidate who unsuccessfully stood for election on several occasions, he joined Sinn Fein in 2011.
He is well known in the local area for his campaigning against the Knockharley dump.
He says he will be concentrating on issues relating to the Boyne Valley and the corridor between Slane, Donore and Duleek and creating sustainable employment for the area.