FORMER Mayor of Killarney, Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan, has confirmed that he will be an Independent candidate for the Kerry County Council elections, in the Killarney Municipal District, on May 24.
He said over a period of several weeks and months, he had been approached by numerous people to allow his name to go on the ballot paper and, even though the election is now just over five weeks away, he is happy to enter the race in the belief that he can make a difference.
“As a former Mayor of Killarney, a position I was exceptionally proud to hold in 2008, I know what the town needs and I am fully aware of the commitment, the hard work and the passion that is required to deliver on the key issues,” he said.
Unusually, O’Callaghan will not conduct an active door-to-door canvass and, instead, he will run a modern campaign with a heavy emphasis on social media.
“I will reach out to the public to convey my message through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, video and other modern day methods. It is not my intention to knock on doors and disturb people in their own homes in an attempt to get my message across,” he remarked.
The married father of two, who runs The Fáilte Hotel with his brother Paudie, said as a businessman, he is fully aware of what Killarney needs.
“The shocking lack of parking and serious traffic congestion is impacting very negatively on the town and solving that problem must be an immediate priority for the new council.
“We must do everything we can to avoid a return to the days when critics were suggesting that Killarney was a town best seen through a rear-view mirror,” he said.
Other priorities he has outlined include seeking fairer insurance costs and lower commercial rates, lobbying to have the tourism industry VAT rate hike reversed and the promotion of sports tourism in Killarney which, he said, is a largely untapped market.
“The long overdue redevelopment of Fitzgerald Stadium would be central to that aspiration as the facility has incredible potential,” he said.
O’Callaghan (49) previously served on Killarney Town Council for two terms from 2004 and he was elected mayor in 2008. His late father Dermot, was also a former mayor and served as a Fianna Fail member on the council for many years.
A senior selector with Kerry county champions Dr Crokes and a long-time member of Killarney Celtic FC and St Paul’s Basketball Club, O’Callaghan is very actively involved in Killarney’s sporting and community life.
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