Launch of Sinn Féin Candidate Deirdre Bell’s Council Election Campaign in The Mall

Castleisland Local Election Area Sinn Féin candidate Deirdre Bell (left) pictured at her campaign launch with Kate McSweeney, principal Scoil Mhuire, Knocknagoshel at Knocknagoshel Community Centre on Friday night. ©Photograph: John Reidy


Castleisland Local Election Area Sinn Féin candidate Deirdre Bell pictured with former party TD Martin Ferris at her campaign launch at Knocknagoshel Community Centre on Friday night. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Sinn Féin candidate Deirdre Bell at her campaign launch in Knocknagoshel on Friday night with Teachta Dála, Pa Daly and former TD Martin Ferris.

On Friday night at Knocknagoshel Community Centre matters turned from the previous week’s on-stage drama to the floor of the hall and to the excitement of politics of a very local kind. 

There, the village based Sinn Féin candidate, Deirdre Bell launched her campaign for a seat at the table of the Castleisland/Corca Dhuibhne Municipal District in the June elections.

Ms. Bell was surrounded by family, friends, neighbours, party members and strategists as she took the first big step on the long road to where her aspirations lay.

The following is her opening address to the gathering on the night:

“Ladies and gentlemen, neighbours, and friends, Thank you for joining myself, Martin and Pa this evening.

As I stand before you to launch my local election campaign for the Kerry County Council elections in June, I am mindful that I am not just a candidate; I am one of you. I am deeply rooted in the very fabric of this community and the wider Castleisland Local Election Area.

As someone who has witnessed the challenges we face over many years, I am driven by a profound commitment to building a fair and just community for all. I believe in the principles of this Sinn Féin party, where the power lies in the hands of the people.

Our community deserves a voice that echoes the concerns, dreams, and aspirations of each and every one of us.

Addressing Pressing Issues

Today, I stand here with a vision—one that addresses the pressing issues we face, such as rural decline, housing, transport, and reducing the necessity for immigration.

Already, from the beginning of our canvass, it is evident that our local villages are really struggling. Tell-tale signs are all around us – the many derelict houses; schools and GAA clubs struggling for numbers; the lack of a local shop or post office and other amenities.

Despite these difficulties, I’m confident that, through the will of the people combined with effective local and national governance, rural villages can be revived.

I am truly enthusiastic about our collective potential to create vibrant energy into our local economy!

Community Development Plan

I am an active member of our dynamic five-year community development plan committee. Within this strategic blueprint, we are crafting targeted initiatives set to fuel the growth and evolution of our beloved parish.

The overwhelming turnout at our development meetings is a resounding testament to the unwavering will of the people to enhance the quality of life for all. Together, we are forging a path toward a brighter, more prosperous future!

I realise there are many problems within the agricultural sector right now, particularly due to increased regulation, reduced supports and falling incomes. Although I am not from a farming background myself, I will work tirelessly with local farmers to help in any way I can to improve their lives and livelihoods.

Young Leaving in Droves

The housing crisis is a challenge we cannot ignore. Our young people are leaving in droves. Many of them in search of a better work/life balance, one where they can afford to buy their own homes, without having to earn a massive salary and work ‘til they are seventy to pay off a mortgage.

I am committed to working within our local government and beyond to advocate for affordable housing projects and ensuring that the planning process is streamlined for the benefit of our residents.

And whilst we cannot guarantee the sunshine of Bondi Beach, or the excitement of Manhattan, we can work hard to give our young people a reason to come home.

Better Bus Services

Our communities need reliable and efficient transportation. I will champion investments in upgraded rural transport networks, advocating for better bus services and road maintenance to connect us all more effectively.

I believe in investing in our people. By developing programs that provide the skills needed for emerging job opportunities and collaborating with educational institutions, we can create a community where our residents have the tools they need to thrive.

Our environment is a treasure we must protect. I am committed to implementing policies that preserve our rural heritage, embracing sustainable practices, and ensuring the beauty of our surroundings for generations to come.

Deep Community Commitment

My own background is deeply entwined within this community, and my commitment to Republicanism stems from a very young age.

My grand uncle was Dan Murphy, The Blacksmith Volunteer. I grew up in the same house he once lived in. I listened to my grandmother, his sister, telling us about that awful day, the day her older brother was killed. It was forever etched in her memory.

My uncle built a beautiful monument is his memory last year, to mark 100 years since the untimely death of Dan Murphy.

It is a poignant reminder to all of us, of the sacrifice made by so many. And whilst we live in very different times now, and the way forward is together in a spirit of forgiveness and collaboration, we must never forget.

People Shaping Their Destiny

I believe in the power of the people to shape their own destiny. Together, we can create a community that is fair, just, and prosperous for everyone. I humbly ask for your support, your ideas, and your trust as we embark on this journey together.

Let us work hand in hand to build a community that we can all be proud to call home.

Thank you.

A final thank you to everyone who came here tonight, the local Sinn Féin cumann for their huge support and encouragement, my own family, also for their support and encouragement and to Kate – she knows why.

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