A community worker has been chosen for co-option to the Sinn Féin seat left vacant on Cavan County Council by former elected member Eugene Greenan.
In a co-option contest re-run, Daniel Downey (36) from Moynehall, Cavan Town won by a vote of 26-19 against former Cavan Town councillor Brian McKeown. The first convention, which also took place at the Hotel Kilmore, had ended in stalemate.
Sunday’s re-run saw Cavan Public Participation Network (PPN) co-ordinator Mr Downey selected as the party’s choice to join elected representative ranks when the Council next sits.
Mr Downey told The Anglo-Celt he was both “humbled and honoured” to serve the people of Cavan on behalf of Sinn Féin.
He took time too to praise the work fellow nominee Mr McKeown, saying: “I would hope to learn a great deal from him as a partner in supporting the people of Cavan in the time before us. Our respective candidacies is a sign of a competitive, healthy democracy in action in Sinn Féin and my gratitude to him and his supporters for that.”
Mr Downey’s candidature however comes as the party is being dogged nationally by allegations concerning a culture of bullying.
Mr Greenan, who was elected in 2014 and announced he was leaving politics earlier this summer, broke his silence last month when launching a blistering attack on party hierarchy, accusing them of interference in how it managed the local convention.
Mr Downey, who only recently joined the Sinn Féin party, has in the past worked overseas with NGOs in the human rights area, including assisting refugees on the Thai-Myanmar border, and was the recipient of a National Volunteer Award in 2013.
He says he is now looking forward to “learning and working” with local councillors of all political opinion.
“The people of Co Cavan deserve the very best representation and I hope and pray that I can help fulfil their expectations. I look forward to working with the people of Cavan and in the words of our Local Economic Community Plan, to make Cavan ‘a place we can be proud of; a place where people can have a good quality of life; a better place to live, to work and to enjoy’.”
Mr Downey’s family (Morton, Downey and McAtackney) also have a long association with Sinn Féin in the Cavan Town area, and his co-option was warmly welcomed by party chairperson in the county, Cllr Noel Connell.
In addition to Cllr Connell, Mr Downey will sit in the Sinn Féin ranks along side Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council Paddy McDonald and Cllr Damian Brady.