County Westmeath voters were officially introduced to their newest and youngest councillor this week, as Ballinalack businesswoman Niamh Kiernan attended her first local authority meeting.
A former chairperson of the Rathowen Fianna Fail Cumann for two years, Cllr Kiernan was co-opted onto the council at last Monday’s (March 21) meeting of the local authority, less than three weeks after Ballynacargy postmaster Robert Troy’s election to the 31st Dail.
Despite her relative inexperience, Cllr Kiernan vowed to make a positive impact in her new found stronghold of Mullingar West.
“I aim to be an accessible politician and to address all of the local issues for all the people of Mullingar West to the best of my ability,” she maintained.
A preschool owner by day, Cllr Kiernan said her appointment was especially pertinent given her family’s long term association with the Fianna Fail organisation.
“My grandfather, Johnny Kiernan and father, Sean Kiernan have played big parts with the party locally for years and I now hope to do the same,” she added.
Promoting greater female representation at local authority level, together with lobbying for economic improvements as well as community improvements remain top of Cllr Kiernan’s priorities.
“Employment and encouraging young people to get involved in their local commnities are some of the areas I will be concentrating on,” said the former Fianna Fail youth and recruitment officer for Mullingar West.
Cllr Kiernan was similarly defiant when asked how she planned on dividing her time between keeping her thriving Waddlers and Toddlers preschool on an even keel alongside her duties as a newly elected councillor.
“It’s just a case of setting aside time. My evenings are going to be a lot busier, but I am looking forward to the challenge,” she said.