WITH this year’s local government elections fast approaching, Sinn Fein will have two familiar faces on the ballot in Erne North.
Sitting Cllr Debbie Coyle, who was co-opted on to the seat vacated by Cllr Siobhan Currie last year having previously been elected to the Council, and former councillor John Feely, who served from 2014 until 2019, have been selected by the party to run again this year.
Cllr Coyle, who is an experienced community activist and is a healthcare assistant at the SWAH, said working in the health service had given her “first hand experience” of local healthcare issues.
“Retaining and building our hospital services, including the retention of emergency surgical services, is a top priority,” she said.
“I will continue to fight for services in local communities by supporting local community groups and demanding that statutory bodies deliver effective support and services where needed.”
Cllr Coyle is based in Enniskillen, but in the part of the county town that is within the Erne North electoral area. The constituency also comprises a wide swathe for the county, from Ballinamallard to Belleek, and includes Ederney, Kesh, Tempo and Irvinestwon.
Cllr Coyle said the residents across Fermanagh were facing similar issues.
“Whether in Cavanaleck, where I live, or in rural areas like Coa or larger towns like Irvinestown the people are facing the same difficulties,” she said.
“Year on year cuts to services because of almost a decade and a half of Tory cuts and austerity in London which has hit the hardest in places on the periphery like Fermanagh.
“Fermanagh may be geographically on the periphery but it should be central to governmental thinking and spending.”
Mr Feely said he was honoured to have been selected to run for Council once again, and said he was seeking a mandate to work on local people’s behalf. Having been a councillor before, he said he was “well aware of the challenges ahead.”
The west Fermanagh man, who works in the hotel industry in Bundoran and is a retained firefighter in Belleek, also called for the SWAH and other local services to be protected.
“Whether at the county wide level with the need to protect all services at the SWAH or more locally improving our infrastructure, such as roads, broadband and better mobile coverage,” said Mr Feely, who is a member of the Sinn Féin Ard Comhairle.
“I know all too well the limited responsibility the Council holds on these issues but I also know how to use the council to amplify these shortfalls and get movement on them.
“I am a strong believer thriving rural communities with small businesses, tourism and farmers at the heart of them making them prosperous.”
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