MEET THE CANDIDATES: Sixteen venture into the bear pit of Navan

Story by Ann Casey

Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019 1:03pm

MEET THE CANDIDATES: Sixteen venture into the bear pit of Navan

Navan candidates: (Clockwise from top left) Wayne Forde, Padraig Fitzsimons, Sinead Burke, Stephen Ball, Ross Kelly, Tommy Reilly, Karen Byrne, Yemi Adenuga

ANN CASEY

Navan has been described as the bear pit of politics in Meath where the toughest fights will take place for the seven seats.
The housing crisis, along with crime and anti-social behaviour are among the biggest issues with voters in this electoral area which was just last month deemed a rent pressure zone.
Candidates from all the parties have been hearing desperate tales of housing insecurity and claims of anti-social behaviour, particularly in the town centre.
Rural concerns are broadly similar but pylons are still a major issue for part of the electoral area including Boyerstown, Dunderry, Robinstown.
Trade Unionist, John Regan, who has campaigned on the housing issue said it is the biggest concern for voters in Navan.
"Homelessness is the biggest issue. There is not enough social housing being built. Meath has the second highest rents in the country. This needs to be tackled urgently and the council needs to take back ownership of building their own council houses," he said.

Whatever the most pressing issues are, the public in Navan appear to be engaging well with all candidates.
"People are more engaged now than they have been since the recession”, according to Fianna Fail's director of election, Mark Power.
The Navan area has a history of electing a broad mix of councillors from all parties and independents and there is a colourful array of candidates in this election.
The political landscape has changed dramatically since 2014 with the death of the very popular Sinn Fein councillor, Joe Reilly and the retirement of Jim Holloway, who has been a councillor since 1994.
While some of the issues remain the same, housing has soared to the top of the voters minds, as has crime, while climate change and environmental issues have also begun to engage the voters.
Household water charges and water metres were the hot topic in 2014 and while this is no longer the case rising commercial rates, property taxes and the issue of soaring insurance costs are big issues for local businesses and households.

Navan is a seven seater electoral area, the smallest geographically and is mostly urban.
The late Cllr Joe Reilly topped the poll in 2014 and was elected on the first count and while it remains to be seen how much of that was a personal vote, Sinn Fein still remains in a strong position to hold onto its two seats with Sinead Burke and Edward Fennessy, although Aontu's Emer Tóibín, a sister of the new party's founder, Peadar Tóibín may inflict damage on the Sinn Fein vote.
Fine Gael is running three entirely new faces, Yemi Adenuga, Karen Byrne and Ross Kelly and while retaining the one seat they have seems to be likely, they will be hoping to take two and have been putting in a strong canvass in both the rural and urban area.
Fianna Fail has taken the bold decision to run four candidates, two of them Tommy Reilly and Padraig Fitzsimons are outgoing councillors, while Jenny McHugh is a former councillor and Madeleine Thornton is a first time candidate who has put in a lot of work on the ground. 
Independents and the smaller parties have always thrown up surprises in Navan. Francis Deane, an independent councillor since 2009 can be fairly certain to retain his seat and Wayne Forde, who has served one term as an independent has also a strong base in the area.
Alan Lawes, a Johnstown resident who has been a candidate in the past, has been built up a strong profile over the past four years and despite being the only candidate in the race in Navan who has absolutely no posters, he is expected to put in a very good showing this time.

Bohermeen’s Stephen Ball has been a candidate on several occasions. Another very strong community activist one of his main platform is the pylons issue - one that been to the forefront in that area for well over a decade. Amy McGrath is a Social Democrat whose campaign created a bit of a stir when the party's leaders visited Navan recently.
Climate change and biodiversity is something which has really been engaging the public and particularly younger voters in recent times, which could provide a boost to the Greens, Seamus McMenamin, a popular local GP.


Candidates: Eddie fennessy, Amy McGrath, Seamus McMenamin, Alan Lawes, Francis Deane, Jenny McHugh, Emer Toibin, Madeleine Thornton

 

NAVAN MUNICIPAL DISTRICT

Francis Deane
Non-Party

Tell us about yourself    
Since 2009 I have been a hardworking, committed, full-time member of Meath County Council. Born in Johnstown parish, I live in Navan and am married to Fiona. We have three teenage children: Peter, Harry and Pia. Previously, for 23 years I owned a drapery business on Trimgate Street in Navan. All of my adult life I have been a community activist, campaigning on issues such as the Save Navan Hospital Campaign and the Navan Retailers' Association. Also I have fundraised in support of Our Lady's Hospital, Alzheimers Association and local mental health awareness groups.

What are the main issues affecting the area you represent?    
The majority of requests I get from my constituents concern social  housing,  infrastructure and planning issues.

What do you hope to achieve if elected?     
Demand local authority 'new builds' to address our social housing needs.
Regeneration of derelict sites in the Navan area.
Creation of pollinating areas in various housing estates in the Navan area.
Community facilities in Johnstown.
More CCTV presence in the Navan area.
Retention of 24 hour A & E services at Our Lady's Hospital until a regional hospital is delivered for this highly populated area.
Railway line extended from Dunboyne to Navan.
Delivery of greenway from Navan to Wilkinstown.
Development of Ramparts area of Navan.
Traffic calming measures outside of schools.
Garda sub station for Johnstown.
Bus station for Navan with park and ride facilities for commuters.
Additional facilities for Blackwater Park.
Attract more industries to Navan thereby creating jobs


Padraig Fitzsimons
Fianna Fail

Tell us about yourself  
I am a self employed local man (born and bred). I am married to Louise and have three children. My family has represented Navan and Meath for three generations. I am a great believer in community spirit and would like to see local communities bond and flourish as Navan grows.

What are the main issues affecting the area you represent?        
Local jobs,local investment and regeneration.
Better transport network, especially rail line.
Anti social behaviour.
Reducing number of people on the housing list.
Speed measures in estates, in town and at schools.

What do you hope to achieve if elected?   
Continue to push for increased housing in town area through regeneration. Increased facilities and access to Blackwater Park. Work with Gardai to make Navan safer. Drive commercial zoning to help bring more jobs to Navan, thereby cutting out commute to Dublin. Push for Train to Navan.


Tommy Reilly
Fianna Fáil

Tell us about yourself  
I am proud to have represented the people of Navan and surrounding area over the last number of years and I consider myself blessed to have been afforded the ability to help people in all walks of life during my time as a public representative. With your help I hope to be able to continue serving the people of Nava and County Meath for a further term with your Number 1 vote.  

What are the main issues affecting the area you represent?     
Hardship being placed on commuting families daily:
Lack of full, local hospital services:
Lack of Government progress on the build of St Mary’s Special School Johnstown:
Lack of affordable housing and sites for young couples:
Government plan for overhead pylons in our area.

What do you hope to achieve if elected?    
Better services for people with disabilities:
Medical cards for all cancer sufferers:
Dublin - Navan Rail Link:
Regional Hospital:
The build of St Mary’s Special School Johnstown:
Affordable housing and services sites for young couples:
Underground pylon cables.


Karen Byrne 
Fine Gael


Tell us about yourself  
As a Navan native I am running for LE19 because I want to DO something not because I want to be someone. I am a proud mum to Max (26) and Shane (23). I have an extensive private and public sector working background. I worked for the business community with Navan Chamber of Commerce and the past 17 years in various roles within the HSE. As a mature student I achieved a number of third level qualifications in Project Management, Training and HR which I believe gives me a range of competencies with which to do the job

What are the main issues affecting the area you represent?        
Anti-social behaviour, young adult unemployment, housing estate management, public transport, business insurance, traffic management, access to education/training, access to health services and engagement

What do you hope to achieve if elected?  
Represent local views and issues, develop and enact cross organisational strategies to tackle social, educational and services needs, work collaboratively to increase funding and resources to Meath Co Council

Stephen Ball
Non Party

Tell us about yourself  
Independent election candidate, Stephen Ball is from Neilstown, Bohermeen and is married to Tina Thornton and has three children Annie, Aaron and Emma Kate. He is currently chairman of Bohermeen Athletic, Club, St Ultans Historical Society and Ardbraccan Graveyard committee. Also a member of Bohermeen Community centre committee and is also an affiliated member of Navan Historical society and Meath Archaeological & Historical Society. Having been a community activist for over 40 years has a broad understanding of how communities work and engage with each other for the betterment of their residents and families. A serious heart issue five years ago forced an early retirement from paid employment, but with the help of God and the surgeons hand, he still continues to be a very active community activist. A apart from his club and association commitments he is currently working on two book publications, “A brief history of the Moore’s from Fordstown” the unique story of five members of the same family who became silent stars in Hollywood almost 100 years ago .Also he is working towards a publication of the history of sport in the parish of Bohermeen and District.    

What are the main issues affecting the area you represent?    
One of the main challenges facing his community and the aligned communities of Boyerstown, Dunderry and Robinstown and has been both a local and national issue or the past twelve years, is the threat to erect pylons and high voltage over head cables by Eirgrid in these and other areas along its selected rural corridor.  This twelve year campaign and struggle to have these cables put underground has fallen on silent ears at both local and national elected level. Literally hundreds of millions have been wasted and squandered in the pursuance of this goal by Eirgrid. Currently with the global warming challenge facing the planet, erecting high voltage cables in this region notwithstanding the absolute health and environmental issues, why add more heat to the already over burdened air space. Our politicians and in particular our locally elected TDs in government have failed their family, friends and neighbours on this issue without recompense.  

What do you hope to achieve if elected?  
If elected as an Independent voice for the Navan area, I would be working on the many challenges facing both the rural and urban areas, the obvious challenge in the rural community are the pylons issue and also the continued annual support of local voluntary groups, who simply are the heartbeat of the community, is vital. The formation of perhaps a rural and urban co-op of clubs and societies where each group would bring new ideas to the table, this would in turn break down the greatest threat to our evolving society the challenge off drugs in our community is not just sporadic it’s a pandemic. The challenge of suicide by both the young and elderly is now a National tragedy, great organisations like Pieta house , Sosad and many more have awoken Ireland to this challenge, it’s time we challenged this on a very local level by getting more people known to be “down at times” to be more involved in our organised cubs ad associations. Its no longer acceptable to be “Alone”.   

Jenny McHugh 
Fianna Fail

Tell us about yourself  
I am currently the principal of Navan’s largest school, St Stephen’s. In this role, I have experience in project management, day to day management and forward planning. This coupled with interacting with people of all ages and background, on a daily basis, proves I am capable of both professional and caring interaction with Meath County Council, on your behalf. I have proudly represented Navan, as a Member of Meath County Council, previously. It would be a great honour for me to serve you again. I have great pride in Navan and her people. I was the first female Chairperson of Meath VEC (now LMETB). As a proud parent, I am also aware of the challenges currently facing our children, of all ages and I wish to be involved in decision making at council level, that will positively impact on their future. Your vote is important to you and me.

What are the main issues affecting the area you represent?     
1) Defending the resources needed for our second level education so that the unsightly prefabs are gone and the secondary school is completed.
2) The urgent need to start building St Mary’s Special School on the educational campus.
3) Urgent investment in playgrounds, public spaces and an enhanced physical environment.
4) The reopening of the back gate in the school campus to help with the traffic congestion in Johnstown.
5) To campaign until Johnstown get its community centre to cater for all ages and all activities necessary for a vibrant community.

What do you hope to achieve if elected?     
I hope to achieve better facilities for the people of Navan.
The completion of the secondary school and St Mary’s Special School.
To work hard to bring more businesses to Navan and to promote local enterprise.
To remain active in the Save Navan Hospital Campaign.
To create a Navan For All.


Cllr Wayne Forde 
Non-Party

Tell us about yourself  
I live with my mother in Navan County Meath. I am 45 years of age. I worked in Spicers from 1993 to 1996 then I became a paramedic in the old North Eastern Health Board in 1996 unti I was retired from the HSE on ill health November 2016. I loved my job dealing with patients and families. I have five children. I am a very straight talking politician, I'm a people's person and I treat everyone equally. I try my very best for everyone. My greatest achievement in my opinion is the huge work I have put in to retaining Acute Emergency care 24/7 in Our Lady's Hospital in Navan 24/7.

What are the main issues affecting the area you represent?    
Anti social  ehaviour. and the housing crisis -  people have to wait 10 years to get social housing, huge increase in house burglaries in Meath.

What do you hope to achieve if elected?    
Retention of all Acute Emergency services 24/7 at Our Lady's hospital in Navan. The need by the HSE to use up the five acres of land adjacent to Our Lady's Hospital in Navan ( Old Meath County Council) to build onto the Navan Hospital campus and get more acute and elective services returned to Our Lady's Hospital in Navan thus reducing overcrowding of OLLH in Drogheda and James Connolly Blanchardstown. I am also working seeking extra funding from the HSE NTPF to fund carrying out more elective surgery in the Orthopaedic Unit in Our Lady's hospital in Navan. The importance of the acute psychiatric unit to be reopened for either medical or surgical patients. It is one of my top priorities to get these beds 25 reopened 24/7 ASAP. The importance of the local bus service and the importance of a second local bus service for public transport for service users throughout the Navan Municipal District Area and this will include more stops and collection points for the public which is fantastic news. I want the local bus to also cover Dunderry Robinstown Boyerstown Ardbraccan and Bohermeen enhancing the service. More visible Garda prescense on the streets of Navan and the provision of a new Garda station in Johnstown. The importance of a footpath from Navan out to St Finians cemetery. Finally the importance of a pedestrian crossing from the Post office in Navan over to the credit union for public safety especially for elderly people and young parents pushing buggies across this very busy road     
           

Eddie Fennessy 
Sinn Féin

Tell us about yourself  
My core objective is to make politics work for the communities I represent. I am a full time county councillor. I work from 9:30am to 5pm Monday to Friday in the Sinn Féin office on Flowerhill in Navan. I offer a full suite of constituency services ranging from housing and medical card applications to lobbying council for the repair and maintenance of dangerous footpaths and roads to lobbying various government departments for my constituents. I also help set up resident associations and neighbourhood watch schemes. My door is open to anyone who needs my assistance.

What are the main issues affecting the area you represent?    
A lack of funding is the main issue affecting Meath. An adequately funded county would address most of the problems affecting Navan such as the provision of housing, a rail service, access to decent health care, increased Garda resources to tackle anti social behaviour and crime and a safer road and footpath network to name but a few.

What do you hope to achieve if elected?   
If lucky enough to be re-elected I will support and give voice to the communities I represent.

Alan Lawes
Non-Party

Tell us about yourself
My name is Alan Lawes and I am an Independent community activist standing in the local elections.  As a father of four and after serving as a workplace and community activist for years I have a good understanding of the serious challenges facing people today. My record of community activism is as follows;
• Garda Reserve 2009 -2013
• Voluntary Director of Johnstown People's Park  
  2014 - 2019
• Volunteering with and fundraiding for The 
 Simon Community and Inner City Helping 
 Homeless 
• Founding Member of Johnstown Tidy Towns 
 2016
• Founding Member of The Meath Housing and 
 Homeless Advice Service

What are the main issues affecting the area you represent?    
Affordable housing and affordable rents is coming up as an issue on many doorsteps. Many families have told me they are struggling with rents at record levels and sky high childcare leaving them struggling to survive and with many working families telling me if this present situation continues they cannot contemplate ever owning their own home. Navan being named recently as a rent pressure zone will do nothing to help as it only makes it lawful for landlords to put up rents further by 12per cent  over the next three years. When knocking on many doors during the  day I found out how a lot of families are trying to cope as many doors were opened by grandparents, minding their grandchildren. 

Planning Sustainable Communities infrastructure and facilities is a huge isssue not only in Johnstown but all over Navan. Johnstown has experienced massive housing development over 20 years. We have over 3,300 homes and 10,000 people living in Johnstown.  Meath County Council have received millions in development levies and properties taxes and have given the community absolutely nothing in return. We have been promised community centres, playgrounds, schools and roads fit to cater for our massive population, by many County Councillors from many parties over 20 years but they have all failed to deliver. 

Roads able to cater for a growing population is not only a problem in Johnstown, with Metges Road being gridlocked in the morning and a speedtrack at night.

The Proadstown Road is gridlocked in the morning and is becoming very dangerous around St Olivers School as explained to me by one mother who feels her children are in danger crossing the road as cars continue to speed and even breaking red lights has become a regular occurrence.  The Trim Road is no different and what is needed in the short term is traffic calming measures , like more pedestrian crossings, rumple strips and speed bumps. 

But in the longer term surely the lesson that should have been learned manys years ago by Meath County Council and all councils, for sustainable development to work for everyone in the community the proper infrastructure and facilities have to be built at the sametime as housing.

Through my experience working with the homeless in Co Meath I have found Meath County Councils homeless services not fit for purpose.  With no hostels in Co Meath we export our homeless men in particular to other counties.  We dont have any family HUBS in Co Meath and we rely totally on a combination of B+B's Hotels and emergency accommodation that can only be described as sub-standard dumps. 
Even when knocking on doors when canvassing I heard more frightening stories from people  who have had bad experiences staying in one particular privately owned emergency accommodation used by Meath County Council. 
I am also getting a great response from people on the doorstep because I am running a posterfree campaign.  Young people in particular seem impressed as rather than promise them something after the election I am actually doing something about climate change before. I am hoping my electionposterfree stance and that of over 75 candidates around the country will transform elections and we will soon see all elections as posterfree.

What do you hope to achieve if elected? 
My promise if elected is to make sure your voices are heard at local Government level. The people reading my pledge are used to hearing  pledges like mine during every election.

Hopefully you will know from my record over the years I am not afraid to challenge Meath County Council when they need to be challenged.  Just like when I challenged their continued use of emergency accommodation in Navan, which can only be described as a sub-standard hovel which is totally unsuitable for families with children. Vote for a councillor you can trust to fight your corner and make sure your voice is heard. 

Emer Tóibín
Aontú

Tell us about yourself
Married with four children. Worked as a lecturer, project manager and in politics. Political activist with strong community involvement. Constituency office manager currently. Involved in the Save Navan Hospital Campaign. Camoige and tennis player, camogie coach with O'Mahonys.

What are the main issues affecting the area you represent?    
Housing shortage, increased home help for the elderly, broadband, job creation through a fairer distribution of FDI, anti-social behaviour and an end to commuter hell that is the Navan-Dublin commute

What do you hope to achieve if elected? 
To get the people of Meath/Navan behind the Navan to Dublin Rail Line Campaign on a grand scale and raise its profile hugely.
To get funding for school transport for Windtown students
To highlight broadband blackspots around Meath and rally/organise people affected to campaign for service
To shine the light on limited hours of care for elderly people in their own homes and campaign and deliver more
Establish a cross party twice-monthly committee to assess housing needs across Meath and report county-wide to all constituency offices on progress of social housing provision, vacant houses recovery.

Amy McGrath 
Social Democrats

Tell us about yourself
I have been a teacher of English and Spanish for 17 years and I am married with a daughter. I have two degrees: one in English and Spanish and one in Psychology. I am on the Board of Management at my school. I am from Dublin originally and my husband and I spent many years working in the UK. I campaigned to repeal the 8th amendment and I believe in transparency, equality and fairness in politics.

What are the main issues affecting the area you represent?    
The transport links in Navan are inadequate and expensive. I commute to Dublin every day to work, and like most people, I have no option but to drive. I believe that there should be more affordable transport options available, so that people do not have to rely on their cars and this in turn will improve our environment. There is also a distinct lack of amenities in our area and given that so many houses are being built, it strikes me as especially important that local people have facilities to use e.g. a community centre in Johnstown for local groups. It seems that the creation of amenities has not kept up with the development of estates and this is an issue that needs to be addressed. The neglect of some areas has also led to anti-social behaviour which is straining Garda resources. The adequate provision of social housing is a related issue. Navan becoming a 'rent pressure zone' is to be welcomed but private rents are still extremely high and tenants are forced to experience continued insecurity in their accommodation. All of these are 'quality of life' issues and we must demand a decent quality of life in our locality. The conservation of the environment and Navan's heritage is of great importance too. I believe that maintaining a biodiverse habitat which allows native Irish species to flourish is a priority which will both encourage pollinators, and ensure the survival of our natural surroundings for our children.

What do you hope to achieve if elected? 
If I am elected, I hope to: 
* Facilitate community-led consultation on anti-social behaviour
* Utilise derelict and vacant sites to provide affordable housing and secure rented accomodation
* Work to create efficient and affordable transport links
* Prioritise the creation of amenities such as playgrounds and community centres, which will give people a chance to get out of the house and avoid isolation
* Implement the Meath Biodiversity Plan
* Protect animal welfare.

Madeleine Thornton 
Fianna Fáil

Tell us about yourself
I am a practising Solicitor and Lecturer in Law in DkIT. I am a mother of two primary school children, Eamon and Genevieve, attending school in Navan and \I'm married to Michael. I am passionate about improving the lives of people and providing real solutions to problems. Both my children play rugby and I volunteer with NRFC sending notices etc. I also support the community as a volunteer director with two not for profit childcare providers Daoine Óga and Le Cheile. I also am chairperson a newly reformed Navan Tidy Towns. I also volunteer with a body that assists those in financial need and offer friendship at times of need.

What are the main issues affecting the area you represent?    
Navan has a huge housing crisis combined with vast areas in the town that are in a derelict condition. This concerns me for the community in the town that I from, and also as a parent of two young children. I want to change this and reverse the trend of urban decay and blight of anti-social behaviour. I also am moved by the huge housing/homelessness needs in Navan. This impacts on all from the single male who cannot or barely affords his rent who relies upon help from charities to feed himself to the elderly soon to retired person who won't be able afford a home when they retire. This needs to change and we need the rapid building of social and affordable housing. No one should fear homelessness in the way that they do. Navan also needs a purpose built emergency shelter and people should not have to travel away from the only supports they have to avail of a emergency shelter. We are experiencing a crisis in local services from education to transport infrastructure to health. People in Navan are discriminated against if they seek health services outside their allocated HSE area and this needs to change. Navan has wonderful tourism potential and I want the town to have a museum and arts and crafts hub center perhaps near the river to harness the beauty of such an amenity.This will lead to permanent local jobs creation.  

What do you hope to achieve if elected? 
I want to use my legal knowledge as a solicitor and a professional educator at third level to provide solutions for the people of the town. I want to stand up for those that are currently voiceless and gain them access to services and facilities that they need. I want to highlight the litter problem in the town and countryside and have this as a priority for local government by more waste facilities that are accessible to all and have recycling on street services as examples. Whilst illegal dumping may take place and those persons should be prosecuted so too should there be a ready availability of bins for public use. In some cases persons cannot afford waste disposal and there needs to be a viable alternative provided by the local authorities. I want to highlight  the problems caused by addiction in Navan and demand a center for women to recover from this devastating problem that leads to loss of life and family destruction.

Yemi Adenuga
Fine Gael

Tell us about yourselfs
Married, mother of four, grandmother.
Personal and business development Strategist.
Member of THE ADENUGA family on TV show ‘Gogglebox Ireland’.
Lived in Ireland since 2000, in Navan 15 Years.  
Bachelors of Business Studies Degree: Entrepreneurship Stream – UCD.
Master of Business Administration (MBA): Project Management stream - Liverpool John Moores University, UK.
Post graduate certificate: Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise - UCD Innovation Academy. 
Worked with IBM for 9 years, now self-employed - personal and business development strategist.
Listed Irish woman of Influence - Irish Tatler Magazine.
Founder SHEROES GLOBAL - NGO which inspires, empowers and impacts people for positive change in their lives and in the community. 
Former board memberand Director - National Women’s Council of Ireland.
Current board member and director - Cultúr Migrant Centre, Navan, County Meath.

What are the main issues affecting the area you represent?    
Local transport
Education
Positive youth engagement
Support for local businesses and employment
Climate change and environment

What do you hope to achieve if elected?
Listen to the people's issues and address them, ensure their voices are heard, their issues dealt with, and engage with them so they know they matter and are well represented.

Ross Kelly
Fine Gael

Tell us about yourself
I’m 22, studying Law and Finance and I’m passionate about my local area. I work with many community organisitions within the town and have a passion about youth mental health. My biggest involvement is with Jigsaw - the National Centre for Youth Mental Health

What are the main issues affecting the area you represent?    
The biggest issues facing the people of Navan are:
Anti-Social Behaviour 
Public transport within the town and the surrounding areas
Lack of facilities for residents to use

What do you hope to achieve if elected? 
I hope to achieve if elected: maintain and strengthen our local community facilities and tocontinue to increase accessibility.
Introduce local initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint in Navan and to protect the environment for future generations.
Advocate for resident’s organisations in tackling anti-social behaviour.
Support local organisations to help build stronger communities in Navan.

Dr Séamus McMenamin
Green Party

Tell us about yourself
I am a GP living and working in Navan. I am married with two children. I am involved with Navan Theatre Group and have worked with various sports teams in the county. As a GP I have seen the difficulties people have. Often there are limits to what we can do as many issues are social rather than medical.I decided to stand for election so I could do what I can to help.

What are the main issues affecting the area you represent?    
Lack of facilities in areas and pressure on existing ones especially where new houses are being built in Navan. Traffic congestion and lack of jobs leading to long commutes for many. Huge problems with mental health and access to services for children with special needs.

What do you hope to achieve if elected? 
I hope to bring a fresh perspective to the council and work on projects that enhance community life. I hope to use the platform to campaign against waste, promote healthy living and positive mental health and develop Navan in a sustainable and common sense way #lovenavan

Sinead Burke 
Sinn Féin

Tell us about yourself 
Navan native Cllr Sinead Burke is married with two young children and is a full time councillor. Previous to her election, Sinead worked as a Traveller Community Worker for 14 years and also served as editor Voice of the Traveller magazine. Sinead writes a regular newspaper column and has qualifications in journalism and community work. She has a practical approach and a strong work ethic. Sinead is passionate about furthering disability rights and has been a vocal and active campaigner against homelessness. Sinead played a lead role locally in last years Repeal the 8th referendum campaign.

What are the main issues affecting the area you represent?     
Housing and homelessness takes up about 90 per cent of a really busy workload. After that a lot of issues relate to constituents not able to access clear an reliable information regarding their particular situations. In my opinion getting back to people and giving honest answers is crucial.

What do you hope to achieve if elected?    
I intend to continue being honest with people, being a reliable bridge between council or government departments and constituents and fighting or more suitable social housing, community facilities and a fair level of funding for Meath.

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