Labour may still be searching for its first seat at county council level, but that could be about to change if newly-elected chairperson, Loraine Mulligan gets her way.
As revealed by the Leader last week, the Aughnacliffe native formally assumed the role of party chairperson at Labour’s recently held annual conference in Killarney.
The 32-year-old beat off stiff competition from ex-general secretary Ray Kavanagh to become one of the party’s youngest ever chairpersons.
Less than two weeks on, she has already set her sights on continuing that progression by throwing her weight behind next year’s all-important local and European elections.
“I had been in the role (as chair) since June,” she said, following the resignation of Colm Keaveney who last week joined the ranks of Fianna Fáil.
“I suppose I had been known for my own contribution across the party’s membership and was heavily involved in the policy committee which is perhaps why I got a broad basis of support.”
A member of the party since 2002, she has become widely known for her practical approach in dealing with policy issues.
A former student of Moyne Community School and Trinity College, she also holds a Masters in European politics from the College of Europe in Bruges.
“It’s not about getting Labour’s message across,” said the daughter of Brian and Mary when asked about her new role.
“It’s about delivery. My role is to be a contributory voice and deliver on the experience that our members have on policy campaigns while also making sure that our internal values are working.”
Outside of those undertakings, Loraine remains confident the party can make inroads at a local level.
“Our intention is to run candidates in all electoral areas (in Longford),” she revealed, saying people shouldn’t read too much into the fact Labour currently has no county council representation.
“My own experience of growing up and living in Longford is that there are very strong Labour values in place even though people may not vote in that way. Things like strength in community and social solidarity.
“There is a Labour vote there and we would be eager to talk to people who would be interested in representing Labour values in Longford.”
It’s a rallying cry both she and Labour hope will pave the way to further gains when voters go to the polls next June.