Athlone FG Councillor Returns After 2nd Co-Option
It’s second time lucky for Athlone farmer, John Dolan, who will return to Westmeath County Council following a win against two of his Fine Gael party colleagues at a convention last weekend, which arose following the resignation of Moate’s Joe Whelan from the council.
Cllr. Dolan thanked all the other candidates at the convention in the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone and speaking directly to the other two candidates, said that he knew what it was like to be defeated.
“I’m nearly thirty years a member of this party and it’s great to see such numbers here voting tonight, and it was great for me to get such a vote, and it humbles me,” said the Castledaly village resident.
Cllr. Dolan got elected on the first count, with122 votes out of the 231 members which voted, so there was no need for a second count. His opponents were Moate native, Lorcan Allen and Castledaly resident, Michael Dolan. Minister Fergus O’Dowd chaired the convention, and it was attended by Deputy James Bannon, and the local Fine Gael councillors, Mark Cooney, Gabrielle McFadden, Alan Shaw and Joe Flanagan.
“I salute every one of you, and now it’s time for unity, and time to get behind me, and time to help me because I can’t do it on my own,” said the Fine Gael councillor. “I need people to contact me so I can be on the ground with issues because that’s the way other parties make it. This time we are in government and this time it’s tougher, so we have to justify ourselves. I will give it 150%, but I want your help, and I will be working, and it’s like playing football, you get stuck in, you get the ball and you get on with it.”
John Dolan first became a county councillor in 2007, following the elevation of Nicky McFadden to the Seanad, and despite receiving 863 first preference votes, he lost the seat in the 2009 local elections. Another co-option opportunity for Dolan came this summer when Joe Whelan resigned from Westmeath County Council due to work commitments.
“The party has been a real winner tonight, and John won it, but Fine Gael is the real huge winner, and we should row in behind him, because 2014 will be a tough time for this party, but I’m sure him and the other councillors will be up for the challenge,” said Lorcan Allen at the convention.
Michael Dolan is not related to John, but they have been friends all of their lives. Both were active in Fine Gael in Castledaly, and their battle for the coveted county council seat was watched with the most interest by the Fine Gael party faithful.
Michael was gracious in defeat on the night, and while disappointed said that Fine Gael had chosen the best man to do the job.
“It’s disappointing to be here congratulating the other man, but I’m happy that we have chosen the best man to do the job, and now we should make sure that John Dolan will retain the seat in the 2014 elections, and I will give him every support,” said Michael Dolan.