40 candidates set for local elections

Over 40 Laois candidates are already in the field as the countdown to the local election on June 11 gathers pace this week.

Over 40 Laois candidates are already in the field as the countdown to the local election on June 11 gathers pace this week.

All the main parties, and players, are now fine tuning their electoral strategies as the June poll looms ever larger on the horizon.

Fianna Fail will launch its election campaign next Friday night in the Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise, at 8pm. Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, and Euro candidate, Liam Aylward will be the special guest on the night. The evening will also mark a farewell party for MEP Liam Hyland, who is retiring from a long political life.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny will officially launch the Fine Gael campaign at the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel on Tuesday night, April 27, at 8.30pm. MEP candidate for the east constituency, Mairead McGuinness, is also expected to attend.

Meanwhile, the sporting and political worlds came together in Ramsbottom’s Lounge, Timahoe, last Saturday night for the launch of County Board chairman, Dick Miller’s bid for a seat for Fianna Fail in the Luggacurren electoral area.

A who’s who of sporting and political personalities were in attendance including TDs John Moloney and Sean Fleming; Laois mayor Joe Digan; senior county footballers Ross Munnelly, Chris Conway, Padraic Clancy and Joe Higgins; and County Board representative Tony Walshe.

The Fianna Fail director of elections for the Luggacurren area, Padraig Fleming, officially launched Mr Miller’s campaign.

Mr Miller expressed his belief that the only way of doing what needs to be done was to do it from the inside. He identified sewerage for Timahoe and planning permission for rural housing as his two priority issues.

This is Mr Miller’s second bid for a council seat. In 1999 he failed to get elected after a tight contest with party colleague Mary Wheatley for the area’s fourth and final seat.

Mary Wheatley eventually triumphed.

Mr Miller received 479 first preference votes on that occasion.

Fianna Fail have also ratified Ballyroan man Richie Lyons to run in the Portlaoise area, while Durrow hotelier Seosamh Murphy replaces Barry Hyland in the Borris-in-Ossory electoral area.

The closing date for people to enter the political race for the June poll is May 22.

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Easter 1916 was commemorated last Easter Sunday with a wreath laying ceremony at the Republican monument at St Peter and Paul’s Cemetery, Portlaoise. This marked the first occasion the commemoration had taken place, after a hiatus of a couple of years.

“We will be making it an annual event,” said Cllr Brian Stanley (Sinn Fein).