Local election candidate Annmarie Ryan
The March4Tipp group has put forward their first nominee candidate for the upcoming local elections.
Tipperary town business woman Annemarie Ryan is March4TIpps first nominee candidate for the upcoming local elections in May. Annemarie has been an active member of March4Tipp since its beginning and she believes that the only way to get results for Tipperary town is to have independent community-based candidates.
March4Tipp have also named Lisa McGrath, Youthwork Ireland as t heir second candidate and will name a third candidate at a later date.
“It was the realisation that if the same people got elected again, there would be a strong chance that things would remain the same for the town. We as a group felt that change was needed and we talked to a lot of people, but the representative role is very challenging and it doesn’t suit everyone. I decided that if I really believed in what we stand for, I would put my own name forward to see if people wanted to elect me and to see if I can improve how our community is represented,” said Annemarie.
Annemarie is member of the Ryan Shiner family from Solohead/Monard and is married to Breton man Loic L’Herrou. They opened the French Quarter Café in the Tipperary Excel, in May 2007 and employ eight people. They have two children, Betty (9) and Leon (7), who attend Gaelscoil Thiobraid Árann.
Q: What difficulties have you experienced in the last 12 years running a business in the heart of Tipp Town?
The main problem facing the town is lack of employment, which leads to lack of spending power. That affects all businesses in the town andwe would feel that too in the French Quarter Cafe. Also, in 2017, the Council decided to close the Excel, lay off the staff and close down our business for six months while the library construction went ahead.
We fought that with the help of people power, but it really brought ithome to me that decisions that are made by the Council are very oftenmade without proper discussion and consultation and I want to play my part in ending that practice. It hurts too many people and it has to
stop. Similarly, the Davitt Street Road works are causing huge distress to businesses and residents in the local area, again another
example of decisions 'forced' on the community with very little consultation or consideration of the lasting and negative impact
Q When you look at your children's future in Tipperary town - what do
you see for them now (currently) and how would you like it to be in
the future - say 5 to 10 years time?
I finished my Leaving Certificate on a Friday and was on the bus to London on the following Monday. It was what you did back then. Unfortunately it is still what you do today, mainly due to the lack of opportunity in Tipperary. I think we need to change all of that. Generations of young people have left our community and most of them never come back. We can’t afford to haemorrhage our youngest and brightest every year. I want my children to have at least a choice to stay in Tipperary and have a good career and a good life. I think that March4Tipp has started that change process by bringing out thousands of community members who believe the same things.
Q: There has been some criticism that putting forward candidates for election was the underlying aim of March4Tipp since the beginning… what are you thoughts on this? And how strongly do you feel about needing a change in local representation?
I suppose there will always be cynical people, who want to see an ulterior motive in everything. I can say, hand on heart, when we started as a group we only saw ourselves organising protests to try to bring attention to the town so its problems might be fixed. Not one of us had any idea of seeking public office. Then, when the local elections began to loom, we began to think that the only way to effect real change was to get into the places where decisions are made.
Unfortunately, there has been a history of poor representation locally. The decay of the town is clear evidence of this. The only way to change that is to be able to get involved in the decisions that affect the town.
Q: What are the best things about Tipp town and what it has to offer?
The town has the most amazing community - a community that deserves somuch more that it gets. When you look at all of the facilities that have been built voluntarily in the town, when you look at the amazing clubs and societies, you have to realise that there is a genuine voluntary spirit in the town and lots of talent.
Q: What are the 4-5 key aspects that you feel need attention and improving?
The town definitely needs employment - lots of it. We have the worst unemployment in the county. That results in socio-economicdisadvantage, as well as a host of other problems like physical and mental health issues, as mentioned by a local doctor last year. We also need to get the N24 off our streets. A bypass of some sort is required urgently as the heavy traffic in the town is choking it environmentally and economically. I would also like to see initiatives that keep young people in school longer. We have one of the highest early school leaver rates in the country. That has to be changed so our children have the best possible chances in life.
Q: Do you have a message for the current Tipperary councillors?
Not really. My thoughts are for the future now. I only know our town
is in a bad place and a lot needs to be done to turn that around. If
some of the existing councillors want to be part of that rebuilding,
then that is great.