Eugene McGuinness waiting at Kilkenny Count Centre PICTURE: PAT MOORE
New councillor Eugene McGuinness says that he is looking forward to meeting all his new colleagues and people can expect to hear plenty from him over the next five years.
The non-party candidate, who got 826 first preference votes, is a brother of sitting Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness. Speaking to the Kilkenny People after he was elected on Sunday night, the Cllr E McGuinness, who was a vocal opponent of plans to build a new mosque in the Hebron area, said it had been an election issue for people.
“It came up on the doorsteps a lot,” he said. “People were shocked, absolutely shocked that we were after electing councillors who were afraid to speak out.”
While other city candidates said the mosque had not been brought up by people with them all that much, Cllr McGuinness said his experience had been different.
“It probably didn't come up for them, but when they saw me standing at the door, that’s what did come up,” he said.
“There’s a lot of people afraid to talk about the mosque, and afraid to voice their opinions because of the religious aspect to the development. They were afraid to do it.”
When asked what other issues had come up outside of the mosque debate, the new councillor said that shop closures in the city was a major one.
“Local business — everybody sees it,” he said.
“Something has to be done, and quite obviously the councillors who were [previously] elected don’t have the answers, and we are going to have to think outside the box to sort it out.”
What can we expect from him during the next five-year term?
“I think you can expect a lot of talking, that's for sure," he says. "I won’t be afraid to speak about any of the issues. I look forward to meeting all of the councillors that are elected and we can sit down and discuss it, and deal with the real serious issues facing Kilkenny.”