SWORDS POLLTOPPER TO QUIT SEAT ON COUN­CIL

CLLR PHILIP LYNAM (SF) ANNOUNCES HE WILL NOT CON­TEST NEXT ELEC­TION

Fingal Independent - - NEWS - By KEN PHELAN

AF­TER al­most five years serv­ing Fin­gal, Sinn Fein coun­cil­lor Philip Lynam has de­cided to move on to an­other role. Although he will re­lin­quish his po­si­tion on the coun­cil, he will he says, very much re­main a mem­ber of Sinn Fein, and will con­tinue to ‘help out’ the peo­ple of the area.

Due to leave the coun­cil in Jan­uary 2019, Cllr Lynam ex­plained to The Fin­gal In­de­pen­dent the rea­son­ing be­hind his de­ci­sion, and of his time work­ing on the coun­cil: ‘Ba­si­cally, it’s that I found a new job and it’s tak­ing over the time that I have, un­for­tu­nately.

‘Fam­ily and work have to come first, and I just can’t jug­gle both.

‘I’m still a Party mem­ber, and I’ll still be in the area and help­ing out, but fam­ily ties and work com­mit­ments will take over.

‘Any­body who knows me would say that I al­ways give 100-per­cent, but un­for­tu­nately I wouldn’t be able to give 100-per­cent in my coun­cil work, and it wouldn’t be fair to the peo­ple who elected me.’

Cllr Lynam says he had a ‘great’ re­la­tion­ship with the other coun­cil­lors, re­gard­less of which party they were from.

They would all, he says ‘put the shoul­der to the wheel’ to get things done, as they re­alised that more could be achieved for the area by work­ing to­gether, he said.

It was while work­ing as a Fin­gal coun­cil­lor that it struck Cllr Lynam of the mag­ni­tude of the hous­ing cri­sis.

In his clin­ics, he says, ap­prox­i­mately ‘70-80%’ of prob­lems would be due to im­pend­ing home­less­ness, or peo­ple go­ing into emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion: ‘That was the tough part about be­ing a coun­cil­lor, fac­ing fam­i­lies that were com­ing into home­less­ness, or go­ing into emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion.

‘The home­less­ness is­sues is huge. I don’t think peo­ple grasp how much of an is­sue it is, it’s re­ally, re­ally bad out there and it’s across all spec­trums and all walks of life.’

It was in deal­ing with these is­sues, how­ever that Cllr Lynam gained most sat­is­fac­tion. De­spite the heartache of see­ing the face of home­less­ness, it was a great sense of achieve­ment, he says, know­ing that you had helped a fam­ily out.

Cllr Lynam said: ‘Help­ing fam­i­lies on a daily ba­sis was where my heart was at. Hear­ing that fam­i­lies were be­ing housed, or help­ing the hous­ing depart­ment along the way, made it all worth­while.

‘We were get­ting let­ters and cards in thank­ing us, and as coun­cil­lors, that was one of our big­gest achieve­ments.

‘At the end of the day though, with­out the man­date of the peo­ple in Swords, I wouldn’t have been able to do that, so I owe a lot to the peo­ple who voted for me.’

De­spite all the chal­lenges and frus­tra­tions, Cllr Lynam says he has very much en­joyed his time work­ing with the coun­cil.

But with those frus­tra­tions, the long hours and red tape, why did he find it so ap­peal­ing?

He said: ‘It’s just great, be­cause you’re get­ting the mes­sage out peo­ple on what you can help out with.

‘I have to say the Ex­ec­u­tive were great and were re­ally good to work with, and were very trans­par­ent when you went to them on a num­ber of mat­ters through dif­fer­ent de­part­ments.

‘We re­ally have a great team work­ing in there. I know a lot of peo­ple give out about the coun­cil on dif­fer­ent el­e­ments, but I have to say, there’s a fan­tas­tic group of peo­ple who work there, and that of­ten goes un­recog­nised too.’

Cllr Lynam’s de­par­ture in Jan­uary will trig­ger a co-opt­ing process within the lo­cal Sinn Féin party who will be en­ti­tled to nom­i­nate a tem­po­rary re­place­ment for Cllr Lynam on the coun­cil who will as­sume his seat un­til the end of the term of the cur­rent elected coun­cil, which will draw to a close next May with the 2019 lo­cal elec­tions.

Cllr Lynam’s de­par­ture will leave some dif­fi­cult shoes to fill, elec­torally for the party as the pop­u­lar Sinn Féin coun­cil­lor topped the poll at his first at­tempt at the last lo­cal elec­tions.

His re­place­ment is yet to be named but who­ever it may be, they will have to work fast to es­tab­lish a name and rep­u­ta­tion ahead of the lo­cal elec­tions which are due to take place, next May.

Cllr Philip Lynam (SF) Above: Cllr Lynam cel­e­brat­ing with sup­port­ers when he won his seat on the coun­cil in the last lo­cal elec­tions. where he topped the poll in the Swords Ward.

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