A Longford Fianna Fail county councillor has taken the unusual step of converting part of a commercial premises into a fully fledged constituency office by stumping up the cash from his own pocket.
Cllr Padraig Loughrey insisted there were no hidden agendas behind his decision to open a Fianna Fail office above his own pharmacy on Longford town’s Dublin Street.
He also revealed he has already recruited one staff member to undertake secretarial duties by personally covering her 20-hour a week salary.
“The way I look at it is there was a need for secretarial support for the organisation, there was room at my place (Loughrey’s Pharmacy) and so I converted that space into an office,” he told the Leader this week.
Cllr Loughrey said he hoped party leader Michéal Martin would be available to formally open the office next month when the Dáil returns from its summer recess.
He said the need for a base to carry out party duties was imperative given the loss last February of Peter Kelly’s seat in Longford.
The Longford town pharmacist pointed out that the office was open to all locally elected representatives of the party.
“We (Fianna Fail) have eight county councillors and and two town councillors and I just think we have to have an office for the party. There has been a Fianna Fail office in Longford for the last 21 years. What I don’t want is for people to see this as a Padraig Loughrey office. All I am doing is providing the tools to facilitate this,” he said.
Cllr Loughrey said it was his understanding that Fianna Fail headquarters would provide the necessary assistance in supplying additional backing by providing stationery and other office-based utensils.
“I presume Fianna Fail will help out with that but there will be no financial support,” he said.