First-time Independent candidate Donal Kilduff polled 879 first preference votes and followed in his father’s footsteps as he was elected to Roscommon County Council on the seventh count in Athlone.
The Glanduff native, who runs Kilduff Construction, said he was confident ahead of the count.
“I had huge support from family, friends and neighbours but when I announced I was going the family were half vexed because they thought they were done with canvassing! But then they all came out of the woodwork and they really got behind me and friends, neighbours and colleagues got together and we canvassed a huge area.
“I’ve put in many hard days’ work on building sites but canvassing is extraordinarily hard (laughs). It’s exhausting but it’s also a very positive experience.
“I knew from the response I was getting on the doorstep that I was going to be there or thereabouts. It was extremely positive and there was loads of engagement. My father would be adept at crunching the numbers and gauging public opinion and he felt that I was definitely in the mix for a seat,” he said.
Donal had campaigned on environmental issues among other things and felt he had benefitted from the ‘Green Wave’ and a recent push towards green candidates.
“I think I did benefit from the ‘Green Wave’ because I decided I was doing this seven weeks ago and prior to that I had political life ruled out. One of the reasons was that I didn’t really feel that I had something to offer but when I saw kids out marching and the international movement towards green that really hooked my attention because I felt if that’s the way society is going then I can offer something.
While it was a very proud day for the Kilduff family, Paddy Kilduff was conspicuous by his absence. He and wife Teresa had flown out that morning to Norway.
“Last September, Paddy and Teresa were both 70 around the same time and the family got together and we got them a cruise to the Norwegian fjords and that was booked today so Paddy took off around lunchtime (laughs).
“I’m very pleased for him. There’s clearly a very significant vote in that result for me that’s directly due to Paddy’s work and his work ethic. There’s no doubt about that. I’m delighted that the Kilduff name is continuing in Roscommon County Council and I think Paddy deserves that.
“But I also think there is my own personal stamp in this election. I don’t think Paddy’s name in itself was sufficient to get me over the line so I had to bring something of myself to this”.