Nenagh area polltopper Joe Hannigan says he will not be a ‘yes man’

Man of the moment: Joe Hannigan celebrates his election to Tipperary County Council with friends and supporters
There was only one story out of the Nenagh area and that was the incredible polling feat of first time candidate Joe Hannigan.

There was only one story out of the Nenagh area and that was the incredible polling feat of first time candidate Joe Hannigan.

The man from Kilbarron was elected on the first count with a whopping 2,028 votes gathered from throughout the constituency.

He put this down to his 120 canvassers, his friend and director of elections, John Joe Conwell, and the local community.

“He played a major part and and all the community were behind me. I had massive support,” he said. “I wouldn’t be standing here today were it not for the team I have. My whole parish came out and supported me.”

Clearly overwhelmed by the result, he said: “I have never experienced anything like it before in the sense that I wouldn’t be a political animal. The community inveigled me to stand and it went from there to where I am now. They backed me 100 per cent.”

Cllr Hannigan agreed he would have had a high profile anyway, being chair of the county football board, but pointed out he played club hurling and had a pub so he knew most of the people in the area and they knew him.

“I suppose when people say they know you, you are going to get that support that maybe you wouldn’t otherwise get,” he said.

When it comes to setting out his priorities on the council, he puts tourism and jobs high on the list, saying there is massive potential around Lough Derg, and huge scope for developing small indigenous industries such as reviving the former Puckaun Crafts and food industries such as Lakeshore Foods, which was bought by Boyne Valley and moved to Drogheda. He also highlighted the success of Ballinderry playground equipment manufacturer Cavanaghs.

“There is so much there, but I think the authorities have a big part to play in getting these industries off the ground,” he said, higlighting the high commercial rates.

Cllr Hannigan also said farming could lead to more jobs through selling locally produced value added goods and produce. “It is important that farming does well, it is the main industry. When the farmer gets money he spends his money,” he said.

Though elected as an Independent, he is a team player, and while he was not too sure what the lie of the land was he said he was “not good for horse trading. I am a very straight talking fellow. I wouldn’t be a yes man.”

Because of his involvement with the GAA, he understood that a team performance was important.

“You’ll have guys on your team that you mightn’t hit off the best, but I will always be above that and I’ll pass the ball to the guy in the best position even if he is not my favourite buddy,” he said.

Cllr Hannigan warned that because they had been elected by the people, they had to perform for the people and there can be no agendas.

“It is not about if you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. It has to be what is right for the people of Tipperary,” he declared.