New Longford Co Councillor John Browne has admitted it will be difficult to achieve anything as an individual over the next two years but said he will strive to help people who come to him with their problems.
Cllr Browne was co-opted onto the Co Council by the local branch of Fine Gael to fill the seat left by Alan Mitchell, who was appointed a judge of the district court last month.
Browne, who has been involved with Fine Gael at a local level since the election campaign of Gus Hanley in 1981, has worked on each subsequent campaign in the county.
“I’ve stood at all the Church gates collecting, I’ve knocked on all the doors canvassing. I’ve put up all the posters down through the years, and I’ve taken them down again,” Cllr Browne said.
When asked by the Leader what he hopes to achieve over the next two years before the Local Elections in 2014, Browne - an accountant as well as a local publican - made reference to “people wallowing in a tsunami of debt”.
“I would encourage all people who find themselves in debt to go to the financial institutions and put their cards on the table, don’t add or subtract anything, just tell the truth. I feel myself there will have to be a debt write-down. It is stifling the economy that people do not have the heart to go out and spend money.”
Pressed if this was something he thought he could help change as a public representative, Cllr Browne said, “If people come and ask me for help, I will do my best for them. But I know there is very little you can achieve as an individual.”
Cllr Browne attended his first Co Council meeting last week, where he kept relatively quiet as he took in his new surroundings but found himself nominated onto a number of committees to fill the vacancies caused by Alan Mitchell.
Amongst the most significant, Cllr Browne will now take a seat on the committee of Longford VEC, as well as Longford Leisure, the Transport and Roads Safety Policy committee, IT sub committee and the Artistic Features committee, to which another councillor quipped, “God John, you’re getting all the good ones.”