"Naked Ambition And A Power Grab" - 'Boxer' Reacts To Westmeath County Council Vote

Paul Hogan was chosen in a vote of sitting representatives this afternoon.

Kevin 'Boxer' Moran has released a statement in the wake of his defeat in being co-opted onto Westmeath County Council. 

Paul Hogan filled the vacancy after receiving twelve votes from other elected representatives, compared to the six votes for the former OPW Minister. 

The seat became available following the resignation of Boxer's son Jamie Moran to pursue a new job opportunity. 

Staus quo dictates that an outgoing councillor is allowed to nominate their replacement should they vacate their role between local elections. 

Boxer has released a quite hard hitting statement which reads as follows:

Long-standing co-option traditions and precedent were completely ignored at this afternoon’s meeting of Westmeath County Council by the naked ambition and power grab for an independent seat by a Government driven combination of Fianna Fail/Greens hellbent on serving their own political interests ahead of the people’s own voting wishes as expressed in the local elections in 2019.

I allowed my name to go forward, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Jamie Moran, following this afternoon’s co-option meeting. as I genuinely believe, given my experience at both local and national politics, that I can make a positive contribution at Council level for the benefit of the people of the Athlone-Moate Municipal electoral area.

I think most people would agree that I have a excellent record of delivering for the South of the County, across all political divides, over a 20 year period. It has always been my driver in politics, to try and help people solve everyday problems without getting bogged down in ideology or political divisions.

However it was made very clear to me from the time I was nominated to fill the vacancy, that Fianna Fail were determined to block my return to the Council. Fianna Fail in Westmeath are quite happy to ignore national precedent to achieve that goal. Their publicly stated reason for breaking with tradition is “transparency and democracy”.

However, I believe it has more to do with personal local ambitions, with no concern whatsoever for the welfare of the electorate, especially at a time when there are 3 sitting TD’s based in Mullingar but none in Athlone or South Westmeath. I fear greatly that Athlone, Moate and Kilbeggan are losing out in terms of jobs and investment while other towns in the region are forging ahead.

Due to their numerical dominance at today’s meeting, Fianna Fail, propped up by the Greens, were able to throw well-established precedent and procedure for the filling of independent seats on the scrapheap and put in their own favoured nominee onto the Council.

This move by Fianna Fail/Greens – to interfere with the filling of an independent seat - upsets the political balance as voted on by the electorate in 2019. It fills a genuine Independent seat with a FF beholden candidate. The question of whether this is the right thing for the electorate of this area will be answered in due course.

It is very important that Westmeath has a vibrant and effective Council chamber. There are many problems coming down the tracks for rural Ireland, social, economic and infrastructural. It will be vitally important that Westmeath County Council plays its role in the Government’s 2040 ambition to grow Athlone into a city, to the benefit of the entire Midland region, something that I had passionately fought for as part of the 2016-2020 government.

I wish to thank the members of Westmeath County Council who supported me in today’s co-option – they could clearly see that this power grab by Fianna Fail/Greens will have long-term negative consequences for the council’s elected members by failing to respect the voters of independents and smaller parties.

I greatly appreciate the massive goodwill and encouragement I received from the public when they learned of my intention to return to public life as a councillor. Unfortunately that door has been closed to me for now by the naked power grab of Fianna Fail and the Greens. In saying that, I want to wish Paul Hogan every success for the remainder of the council term.

I remain willing as always to serve the people, as I have done so since I was first elected to public office in 1999. As F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”

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