A 21-year-old Ballyforan woman is set to become one of the youngest councillors in the country after being selected to replace Independent councillor Ivan Connaughton, who will step down immediately after the council’s plenary meeting on April 26h.
Emer Kelly, a third-year occupational therapy student at NUI Galway, told the Roscommon People that she was looking forward to building on the work Cllr. Connaughton has done in recent years.
“I’ve always had an interest in politics and this was something I had always planned to do and the opportunity arose sooner than I expected. I will be fully committed to the role and I will be a representative for all people in the area,” she said.
“When Ivan announced his resignation there was an open invitation and after considering it for a few days, I decided I would be ready and willing to be a new voice for people of all ages”.
Emer comes from a farming background and is the eldest of seven children of Dermot and Ann Marie Kelly. She plays football for Four Roads and is also the secretary of Ballyforan Fair and Festival.
Emer’s father, Dermot, contested the 2009 election for Fine Gael but the new Independent councillor believes young people are less party orientated these days.
“I know myself that I vote for the person who I think will get things done regardless of whether they are a member of a party or not,” she said.
The student, who is currently on work placement, said she was happy to be another female voice at local level but insisted that she would be a representative for the entire electorate.
She added that it was her intention to contest the 2024 local elections and said she was now excited to “get stuck in” to her new role.