Sunday, 19th November 2017
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Last week saw a profound milestone in the history of this County with the opening of a Fianna Fáil Community office on the iconic

Ballybricken in the heart of Waterford City. The office is being run by 30 year old FF Councillor Eamon Quinlan and will operate around the clock with a drop in service for locals on Fridays,

Saturdays and Sundays during the hours of 10am to 1pm.

Located at 28 Ballybricken the location is fondly remembered by locals as a former sweet shop that has now found a new purpose.

Speaking on this Cllrr Quinlan said "It’s a great addition to the local area. It is always a joy to be in a position to reopen a premises in what I and many others would call ‘the top of the town’. I am still a relatively new Councillor but I made the commitment some time ago to up-the-ante and offer a level of service to my neighbours, locals and constituents that is much higher then what has gone before. I noticed many Councillors around the country run offices with a strong community focus and I thought this is a standard the people of Waterford should get from their representatives as well. I am also conscious of the physical area I directly represent. It’s massive, stretching from Ferrybank to Fenor with everything in between encompassing over 22 thousand people and while this means I am constantly on the road many older people who live in the Ballybricken, Barrack street, Gracedieu and Hillview areas find walking or travelling distances problematic meaning that this is an ideal location for them to access information and services to help them. We would also have an eye of wider community, non-political uses to help small or starting volunteer groups get off the ground."

The premise’s has undergone a significant transformation from its earlier days to ensure it can offer multiple services. Ballybricken has a long history and many see it as a cornerstone of that history, being continually inhabited for hundreds of years and playing a prominent role in the trade, lives and political history of this County. When asked if he is conscious of this realignment Cllr Quinlan said "I am. My family has been a part of that history and lived in the area for several generations. It is nice to usher in a new chapter to add to the history that went before it. It is always about adding to, rather than replacing. Such divisions I would hope are no longer to the fore and that we find more common ground between us when it comes to tackling our common problems although I might keep the security gate on the door just in case," he said laughingly.

This office is a clear break from tradition in Waterford circles in that a Councillor operating a Community Office of this kind means Fianna Fail now possess more offices in the City than any other political grouping, a major sign of recovery from its low point in 2011 and will certainly add pressure on other local representatives to up their game in advance of the next Local Elections.

An official opening with guests and political leaders from across the Country is planned in the coming weeks to boost the office but Councillor Quinlan points out that it is a great opportunity to focus National leader’s attention on Waterford’s Inner City. "Every opportunity should be seized to reinforce Waterford and Waterford’s needs in the minds of decision makers both now and into the future, in this way the Office can act as a light to a long neglected area which has given Waterford so much from many people, many of which never made the history books but who without, Waterford would not be the City and County we know it to be today’, said Cllr Quinlan.

One of course cannot view a bold and innovative step from a 30 yr old Councillor such as this without an eye to Waterford’s Political future. As a statement of intent, it leaves little to the imagination.

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