Why I got involved in politics

I got involved in politics having been elected as a national student leader as Deputy President of USI. I was asked to join the Labour Party by Joe Costello and MIchael D Higgins. Having seen rural and urban poverty in South Kerry and Inner City Dublin, I believed that Labour's commitment to equality and fairness was and remains the only way forward for our communities and our country. 

I grew up in a household committed to community and public service and I have been an activist all my life. 

I believe that those of us who can should step up to the plate and seek to represent our communities in local government as decisions made locally remain the most important and powerful of all.

I am passionately committed to building a fairer and more equal Kilkenny and Ireland. 

My priorities

1.     Housing for all our citizens. Our council must build social homes for all who need them, particularly young people and families and we need affordable private housing. 

2.     Building a sustainable and healthy city. We need a vibrant and thriving city which is comfortable and safe for us all. We must develop a city which is accessible for all, with excellent public transport, pedestrian and cycle access and by car for those who need to. I will lead by example, as I always have. 

3.     Well paid jobs with excellent services. We need to continue to attract excellent jobs to our city and to have the schools, health services, community, cultural and social facilities that our growing city needs.

4.   Tackling the cost of living crisis. I support a fully public and free model of providing childcare and that all education, up to Leaving Cert level should be free, including the cost of textbooks. We need urgent action on energy costs and for local and national government to subsidise energy retrofitting for those who can least afford it. 

My background

I am the eldest of five children born in South Kerry. I lived in Dublin for almost a decade and then in South Kerry, before moving to Kilkenny with Marian Flannery, my wife and a native of John Street, in 2002.

We have two adult children, Fionn and Caoilfhionn and recently welcomed Wynona, our first grandchild.       

I served as an elected councillor in Kilkenny City from 2004 to 2014. I was honoured to be elected Mayor of Kilkenny for 2012-2013. 

I recently retired from teaching after 34 years service, fourteen of them as principal of Gaelscoil Osraí, Cill Chainnigh. I have been a lifelong trade union activist, serving at branch and district level in the Irish National Teachers Organisation. 

I have served in a number of national organisations, as Deputy President of USI, Vice-Chairperson of Labour Youth and a member of the Labour Party General Council and Executive. I served on the national executive of the Irish Learning Support Association and recently as Uachtarán of Gaeloideachas, the umbrella body for the Gaeltacht schools and Gaelscoileanna throughout the country. I am curently a member of the Teaching Council. 

I have served on the boards of the Watergate Theatre and the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny and I have a passionate interest in the arts. 

I have served as a club and district officer of the GAA and chaired the county Kilkenny Ladies Gaelic Football board. 

I am an active member of Kilkenny City Harriers and Kilkenny Triathlon Club and participate in local races, marathons and triathlons. I am a participant and volunteer in Parkrun Kilkenny. 

I am a daily cyclist and member of Kilkenny Cycling and Walking Campaign. 

Is Gaeilgeoir líofa mé agus labhraím an teanga ag gach ócáid gur féidir liom. Creidim gur chóir do gach éinne deis a bheith acu Gaeilge a labhairt sa phobail agus gur chóir dúinn ar fad a bheith in ann ár ngnó a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge le Comhairle Chontae Chill Chainnigh.