Tipperary election update: FF's Sandra Farrell says she wants to be 'new voice'

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Tipperary election update: FF's Sandra Farrell says she wants to be 'new voice'

Sandra Farrell: added to the Fianna Fail ticket for Tipperary

Former Labour Party Mayor of Nenagh Sandra Farrell has been added to the Fianna Fail ticket to fight the next general election in Tipperary.

She joins sitting TD and Party Spokesperson on Food and Horticulture, Jackie Cahill on the ticket.

That ticket in Tipperary will be kept under review over the next number of months, according to the party.

It had been expected that Cllr Siobhan Ambrose would join Deputy Cahill on the ballot paper for the next Dail.

Ms Farrell is a niece of Independent Cllr Hughie McGrath, who had been a Fianna Fail councillor until he quit.

Fianna Fail would seem to be heading in the opposite direction to Fine Gael in its election startegy, with both Deputy Cahill and Ms Farrell hailing from the north end of the county, though Deputy Cahill straddles the middle with his Thurles base.

FG has selected two from the south to run, Garrett Ahearn and Mary Newman Julian.

Ms Farrell, who operates a nursing home and has been involved in the care industry for a long number of years, has said that in a constituency dominated by male TDs she wants to “offer a new voice”.

Ms Farrell, 37, is a member of the Fianna Fáil Ard Comhairle, and said that party leader Micheál Martin encouraged her to return to politics shortly after she was elected to the Committee of 15 last October.

She said that she decided to quit the Labour Party shortly after her election in 2004 to Nenagh Town Council.

Her great-grandfather, Denis “Dinny” Farrell founded the Fianna Fáil Cumann in Nenagh, so a return to Fianna Fáil was in the blood, she said.

“On the night I was elected for Labour, we were in the pub and an old man came up to me presented me a copy of an old document with a signature Dinny Farrell, and said: ‘Your great-grandfather would turn in his grave’.

“My great-grandfather had been one of the founding members of the Fianna Fáil Cumann in Nenagh. His name was Dinny Farrell, my father’s name. There’s been a line of Denis Farrells since my great-grandfather. I knew all my family had been Fianna Fáil but I didn’t know until that night that my great-grandfather had played such a pivotal role in the Fianna Fáil party in Nenagh all those years ago,” she said.

She didn't run again for council because after a couple of years on the town council she started to feel frustrated.

“Town Council politics didn’t allow you to effect much change at the time. I decided I could probably be more effective as a community activist in my own time. I decided not to stand for election again,” said Ms Farrell.

She was now returning to politics “older but wiser. I want to offer some ideas and solutions, a female perspective as a wife, businesswoman and healthcare professional, and also as a volunteer.”

Ms Farrell recently launched a Food Bank service in Nenagh and has been asked to set up similar food banks in Roscrea and Thurles. She founded the town's Christmas Day dinner service a number of years ago.

“Not everyone is feeling the recovery. There are families out there with both parents working, yet they are struggling, because they’re cash poor. Some of these families are coming to our food shelter because saving money on the food, is what lets them pay the other bills,” she said.