(My statement at end of meeting today)
Today is my last County meeting as Councillor.
Over the last year, I’ve been increasingly aware of the three areas needing focus in my life: family, personal projects and work, and politics.
Regarding family: when I first became publicly involved in politics in 2013, my eldest son Kierán was a baby. When electioneering in 2014, we had our baby Erin. In the 2016 Centenary, we had our youngest, Breandán.
My very supportive wife, Karla, and I both have projects and dreams to work on, as well as my farm to look after.
This is in addition to my councillor work.
In order to be proud of my commitments in any of these areas, I have realised that I need to choose two of the three to focus on.
As a consequence I will be resigning from the Council before Christmas.
One major concern about this decision is whether we could get a suitable person to replace me.
I’m delighted that last Friday, in a Sinn Féin selection convention, I was able to propose someone that I know is dedicated, capable, committed and a fully involved member of the New Ross community: Marie Doyle – who is in the Public Gallery with my parents today.
I want to thank my parents, without who I literally wouldn’t be here – in every sense. They have been my North Star in guiding me throughout life – no matter how flawed my sense of direction has been in practice.
I want to thank my siblings – just for putting up with me, and their support.
My wife, Karla, and my children: Kierán, Erin, and Breandán, who are my sun around which everything revolves.
I want to thank my fellow councillors – I have learned a lot from you, and to respect your own commitments.
In particular: Councillors Johnny Mythen, Mick Roche, Fionntán Ó Suilleabhán, Tom Forde, and Anthony Kelly; who have been a band of brothers – and now, brothers and sister.
Finally, to all the officials and workers of Wexford County Counci that I’ve interacted with: sometimes I’m sure I’ve been like a really annoying squeaky wheel – but I sincerely appreciate your efforts on behalf of my constituents, and the difficulties of the frameworks you have to operate within.
Go raibh míle maith agaibh, agus Nollaig Shóna.
More info & photo with Marie Doyle: Wexford Today – Tributes as Cllr Oisin O’Connell quits Council seat