Fianna Fail faces a protracted but attainable task in returning to its former powers, according to the party’s newest addition to its National Executive.
Drumlish mother of three, Mary Lillis joined nineteen other candidates from across the country on its new look ‘committee of 20’, all of whom were elected at the Fianna Fail Ard Dheis last month.
Still overwrought with emotion in the aftermath of her election, Ms Lillis said her focus was very much now on allowing a greater say for those working diligently behind the scenes.
“What we need to do now is rebuild the trust of the people. It is a long road but we have started it now. If we, the grass root members, can take back the ownership of our party, we will be halfway there,” she said in defiant fashion.
Perched on a stool inside the Leader’s offices last Friday morning, it’s not hard to see why the lifelong Fianna Fail party member has risen steadily through its ranks.
Cheerful and up front, the proud North Longford woman, gives the impression of a political activist who is very much at ease with herself.
Asked about the possibility of perhaps pressing home her rising stock within Fianna Fail still further by throwing her name into the 2014 local electoral race, the response was predictably measured in its delivery.
“It’s way too early for any of that,” she replied, with a wry grin. “I am just focusing on doing what I have been elected to do.”
Much of those responsibilities is likely to involve the National Parents Council board member having to rack up plenty of miles travelling up and down the country attending policy meetings.
It’s an undertaking the conscientious political enthusiast is already well accustomed to.
“I started campaigning last October and I have been all over,” she chuckled, naming Cavan, Cork and Dublin as just three typical locations she has visited in recent months.
Of more immediate interest, nonetheless, is her unwavering dedication to serving the organisation she has grown up with.
“Restructuring the party is number one, but if I can be a voice for grassroot members and bring whatever ideas and strategies that do arise back to those members, I won’t be doing too bad a job,” she added.