Sinn fein on election footing says hogan

Cllr Paul Hogan has been selected as Sinn Féin’s Longford Westmeath candidate in the next general election.

The 32-year-old Athlone based councillor told the Westmeath Examiner that he is “absolutely overwhelmed and humbled” to have received the nomination from fellow party members in the constituency and while he is “taking nothing for granted”, there is a “strong indication” that he is in the running for a seat.

“From what I hear on the doorsteps, people have simply had enough. I think there are a turbulent few months ahead, particularly when the water bills start to arrive. I don’t think that there will be an election in a month or two but we are on an election footing and ready to contest.”

Noting that there is a “demand for real change”, Cllr Hogan says he welcomed the news that emerged over the weekend that Sinn Féin are in discussions with left leaning organisations and independent TDs about establishing a shared electoral platform.

“I believe a left coalition is possible. I believe this election will be monumental as we will see a left right divide in the Dáil for the first time since the foundation of the state.

“I think Civil War politics is gone. People are very well informed, they are reading everything and are very informed on issues. I think people will be voting on ideological concerns as opposed to just for the person you know, which has failed the people of Longford Westmeath for so long.”

Cllr Hogan, who was one of three Sinn Féin councillors elected to Westmeath County Council in last year’s local elections, contested his first general election in 2007, when he secured around 2,200 first preference votes. In the two subsequent polls, the 2011 election and 2014 by-election, he substantially increased his votes. In last May’s by-election, the Masters student polled the third highest quantity of first preference votes (7,548).

“There is a demand for real change. I would say that the electorate are highly charged and know exactly what way they are leaning,” he said.