Home Politics Local Elections Well-known Timahoe man enters the race to contest 2024 Local Elections as...

Well-known Timahoe man enters the race to contest 2024 Local Elections as Fianna Fáil candidate

Willie Ramsbottom Fianna Fail

Well-known Timahoe man Willie Ramsbottom is to seek the Fianna Fáil nomination to contest the 2024 Local Elections for Laois County Council.

Ramsbottom declared his intention at a Laois Fianna Fáil meeting late last week as the party begins the process of selecting candidates to run for election next year.

Ramsbottom, who has been a long-time member of Fianna Fáil, attempted to get his name on the ticket in the Graiguecullen-Portarlington Municipal District in 2019 – but his application was rejected after an administration error on his behalf. 

He mistakenly sent his application (to contest the selection convention) to a .com email address rather than .ie and by the time he had discovered the error of his ways, the deadline had passed.

He appealed the issue to Fianna Fáil headquarters but was unsuccessful and the party opted not to add him.

Sitting Fianna Fáil councillors Padraig Fleming and Paschal McEvoy were later comfortably re-elected though first-time candidate Deirdre O’Connell-Hopkins from Portarlington was unsuccessful.

It’s understood that Fianna Fáil are once again trying to source a candidate in Portarlington, the largest urban centre in the Municipal District.

“I was very disappointed with how things played out the last time, but I am interested in contesting in 2024 and I have made that known to Fianna Fáil,” Ramsbottom told LaoisToday.

“But I have maintained that interest and think that I have a lot to offer. I see a lot of things in this area that need to be worked on and I will work very hard to ensure that work is done.

“In my own village of Timahoe there are a lot of things that need to be relooked at and the town of Stradbally has to get a Community Centre for people of all ages.

“I think I have a wealth of experience that can be of benefit to our electoral area. Anyone that may need a helping hand with any issues, I will be eager to support and help in any way I can.

“I am asking for the support of the people of Laois and I hope to be successful in my bid going forward.

“I’d be very proud to represent this part of the county in Laois County Council.”

It remains to be seen what Fianna Fáil’s stance will be on this occasion as Ramsbottom’s Timahoe base is geographically very close to Padraig Fleming in The Swan and Paschal McEvoy is a Timahoe native now based in Stradbally.

Both Cllr McEvoy and Cllr Fleming are understood to be committed to contesting in 2024 once again.

Incidentally both McEvoy and Ramsbottom are former chairman of Timahoe GAA.

Fianna Fáil members locally will be tasked with voting for the candidates of their choice though HQ will maintain the option of adding or removing candidates and ultimately deciding how many they actually run.

Ramsbottom has considerable GAA connections having held numerous roles in his local club as well as captaining them to intermediate football championship success in 2000.

His late father Sean was Laois GAA chairman in the 1970s and 80s. Willie has also been very heavily involved in Laois ladies football.

Now an employee of Laois County Council, Ramsbottom has also operated his own electrical business for a long period of time.

Separately he has been involved in considerable charity fundraisers, most notably with the Cuisle Centre.

There had been speculation that Ramsbottom was set to run as an independent in 2019 after missing out with Fianna Fáil but he dismissed that at the time.

“I am Fianna Fail to the core and my family is Fianna Fail so I have no intention of going anywhere else,” he said at the time.

“I have thought about running for a long time so I will be more than prepared to go in five years time.

“Sometimes you have to take your beating and get knocked down but you always get back up and move on again.”

SEE ALSO – 2019 independent Local Election candidate joins Fianna Fáil ranks

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. Husband of Emily, father of William, Lillian and John, he's happiest when he's telling stories