Politics

Louise J. Belton Ccongratulates Colm Murray on his election to Longford Co.Council(photo Declan Gilmore)
The Fine Gael seat left vacant on Longford County Council by the sudden death of Cllr Paddy Belton has been returned to the people of Kenagh.

The Fine Gael seat left vacant on Longford County Council by the sudden death of Cllr Paddy Belton has been returned to the people of Kenagh.

26-year-old Colm Murray was elected to the local authority following a Fine Gael convention in Abbeyshrule on Monday night, which saw the newly elected councillor emerge victorious after a hotly contested battle with party stalwarts Kevin Canavan and Jimmy O’Meara.

“Paddy Belton was a great Kenagh man and a great Longford man,” Cllr Murray told the Leader following his political victory. “He had a word for everyone and was decent and honest. I will not stand here and promise the sun, moon and stars, but what I will promise you, is that I will work hard for you and for anyone who seeks my help.”

The AIT lecturer is credited with establishing a Young Fine Gael branch in Limerick while studying at UL in 2001, and is a well known and respected community activist in the south Longford area. “I have a close relationship with the Beltons and worked with Paddy for the past nine years,” Cllr Murray continued. “It is great to keep the representation in Kenagh and there are certainly a number of key issues that I will be addressing.”

The new public representative believes that Co Longford is oozing economic and tourism potential - however, the downturn has brought its own set of problems. “The county is struggling - shops have closed in Longford town and while Ballymahon is doing okay, I would like to see Longford on the same par as Carrick-on-Shannon,” he added. “We need to utilize what we have; we have a county that is rich in heritage and we need to advertise it more. The county boasts some of the best fishing facilities in the country as well. I remain hopeful for the future of rural Ireland, and I believe I am a young and progressive public representative that can make a difference.”

Louis Belton - the late Cllr Paddy Belton’s brother - then spoke to the crowd gathered. “Tonight is a hard occasion for me and all three candidates before us have been great party supporters,” he said, adding that he was very glad that “Colm won through for Kenagh”.