John (Sean) O’Reilly.

John O'Reilly (Ind) Bailieborough Cootehill MD

Independent candidate for Bailieborough Cootehill, John O'Reilly, has lived his whole life on Church Street, Kingscourt, and is also a lifelong farmer. He had fruit and veg stall in Kingscourt and, for many years, ran a mobile shop covering much of the north east of the county. He has always had a hand in the building trade and now runs his own construction company. John is married to Debbie with grown up children Kevin and Sharleen.

How do you unwind?

I watch YouTube. I always think outside the box, and so I like to see someone show initiative, so say most people will probably pass by a chair, these people will go and see what the chair is made of - I like that kind of person, who digs in.

Why should people vote for you?

People should vote for me because I will advocate strongly in making house building as simple as possible. I'm determined, ambitious and I will get the job done.

What will you do to address the housing supply?

There are 250,000 houses needed - how soon can we deliver them? It's as simple as that.

You do away with the 'local needs' issue totally, bring your costs down as much as you can and keep red tape totally away. Open up house building - don't have it only in the greater Dublin area, let it spread through the country.

At the same time Special Areas of Conservation still need to be protected, and heritage buildings need to be protected.

Has Ireland taken in enough refugees?

To build the 250,000 houses we have to admit that we don't have the person-power. To achieve that we should go back to the system where an employer has an immigrant visa to bring the person into the country to carry out work.

As for the northern issue - it should be seen as one island, 32 counties, and the Stormont Assembly should come under European law for immigration policy.

I'm not opposed to workers coming in whatsoever, and I wouldn't be opposed to legitimate asylum seekers being processed through the immigration office. We must remember a lot of us Irish emigrated as well.

What is your main campaigning issue?

Aside from housing, farming. We are relying too much on fossil fuels - home heating oil and diesel and petrol for our energy. The farmer has the answer. He can, with a very small expenditure, provide the energy for his local community quite easily. Solar panels going onto the roofs of all farm sheds is only a bonus for farmers and is only a bonus for the community. He will get a return - unfortunately a small return. This is where the government need to step in and throw the money at it.

To back that up he needs easily to come back in with a fairly good, high powered wind turbine...

The other one is biodigesters producing methane gas - there should be a 100% grant - let farmers get in there and explore it - they are the most innovative people on the planet.

Should biodiversity/climate top the council agenda?

Absolutely! During and after COP 26, young people held peaceful protests and I admire their campaign.

It should be at the forefront - at every single meeting it should be brought up and at least 20 minutes given to it and how to achieve it.

Who in the political sphere has most influenced you?

Brian Lenihan who signed the deal with the Troika and got slaughtered for it - I'd class him as a statesman - it's nothing to do with his party. He was given a serious problem - he took it over from another person and he handled it 100%.

Locally, if I was to be compared to anyone I would say Mick Giles. He was a straight man - if he could help you he would help you. Finally Enda Kenny - he held the ship well when the ship was sinking.