Finbarr Filan – Renua Ireland
FINBARR Filan is a Renua Ireland candidate for the Sligo-Strandhill electoral area for the local elections.
He cites Sligo’s potential as his main reason for putting his name forward.
“Five years ago I was asked to be a member of a newly forming town team as part of an EU-funded programme. I was skeptical as there had being several starts and stops in trying to get a team together that would focus on the town. I decided to get involved at the first meeting because – as part of the project – we would be meeting other towns and cities that had turned their places around and I thought that we could learn a lot from that exposure. Five years later – I’m glad I put my hand up to say I would volunteer,” he said.
In terms of what he brings a prospective councillor, Finbarr says it is passion, commitment and five years of hard graft: “Towns don’t turn around overnight. The Sligo town team
has won awards for their partnership and I was Chair of that partnership – I take the commitment and dedication of that team very seriously as we want to change Sligo for the better.
“We put the time in and now have a network of contacts across the UK and Ireland that meet regularly – last week in Naas I represented Sligo and there were 18 towns and cities north and south discussing our town centres. I came away with 16 examples of projects that we could do here in Sligo and we all share information in the network and help each other along. These contacts are hugely valuable as it helps Sligo move at a faster pace.”
Finbarr feels the need for Sligo to have a conclusive and definitive plan going forward.
“We need to make a plan that everyone agrees with – that looks after our citizens, our residents, our workers and our visitors. We need to stick to that plan, be able to measure how we are doing and as we solve issues, have projects lined up to add to the plan that will make Sligo the best version of itself possible. For example, with the town team project that started five years ago – I can now look back and see all that was accomplished that has made a difference to Sligo,” he said.
If elected, in the first year, Finbarr hopes to focus on building on the town’s economic and tourism potential.
“Lower Connaughton Road has to be resolved – for everyone. The ongoing disagreements creates such a negative perception of our town and is a situation that will have a positive impact for everyone involved if resolved. In 2014, I discovered that we had very little in the way of stats and figures on our tourism performance. Also our reputation in the coach sector was not good and that we had not been to a tourism industry sector for 10 years. So, working with the council for 18 months, I was delighted that Sligo won the first coach-friendly town in Ireland. I have worked on the trade show stand for Sligo for the last three years and I just finished the land use survey which for the first time mapped every building in the town centre with IT Sligo Architects department. This is such an important piece of work and one that will help Sligo in the years to come. ‘All these good results have to be minded – otherwise we go backwards not forwards,” he said.
Finbarr’s main message to the electorate is a vote for him is a chance to further Sligo’s potential.