With the addition of Sharon Bailey as a fourth candidate, Sinn Féin is confident of securing four seats on Laois County council.
Ms Bailey will stand in Portlaoise / Abbeyleix area, joining Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley.
Having won a Dail seat in the constituency through Deputy Brian Stanley, the party is now hoping to build on that success. “We are hoping to get four seats and that is what we are aiming for,” Deputy Stanley said.
He stressed the party’s commitment to gender balance, with three female candidates selected. “They are all serious political activists and are very capable. They are getting a very good reaction on the canvass,” he said of their team.
Despite the party’s general election success, Deputy Stanley said “there is no way we are taking anything for granted”.
“It is a huge challenge to get anyone elected. While we see it as a challenge we really want to make sure that each electoral area is represented by a Sinn Féin councillor after the election and we will do our best to achieve that,” he said.
Issues being raised on the doorstep include housing problems, local authority waiting lists and a lack of a visible garda presence, The poor national economic performance is also an issue of concern. Deputy Stanley said the record of the IDA in failing to deliver for Laois is something which the party has been to the forefront in highlighting. He added that the provision of broadband for the region is another issue being pursued by Sinn Féin.
Ms Bailey has been an active member of Sinn Féin for the past eight years and was the chairperson of the local Sinn Féin cumann for 5 years. She was actively involved in the development of housing co-ops as secretary of a housing association board of directors.
“As a mother of six children I am familiar with the difficulties facing ordinary families and the challenges they face on a daily basis. Among my priorities as a councillor will be proper regulations for wind turbines, new schools for Ballyroan, the completion of unfinished housing estates and the retention of Abbeyleix and Shaen Hospitals. As a Sinn Féin Councillor I will make it a priority to bring these issues to the fore,” Sharon said.