Council Chair Naomi Bailie Looks Forward To Having Baby In Late February

The Chairperson of Newry Mourne and Down District Council is certainly breaking records!

She is the first chair of the new super council, the first woman to chair the council, and in late February she will be the first council chair to have a baby whilst in office, probably the first time in Ireland North or South.

Down News caught up with Naomi on her hectic schedule at the helm in local government in the new South Down Council which takes in a slice of South Armagh and chatted about things more important that politics… about her forthcoming baby. But the two paths an almost inextricably linked at the moment in her life.

[caption id="attachment_60244" align="aligncenter" width="540"]Councillor Naomi Bailie is looking forward to having her first baby in  February. Councillor Naomi Bailie is looking forward to having her first baby in February.[/caption]

Naomi explained: “My husband Gerard and I are just delighted that we are having a baby. It really is an exciting time for any mother-to-be in the months leading up to the arrival of the baby. We haven’t any names picked yet… but almost every day I’m out at schools and events I meet children and ponder over their names. But we’ve still a a couple of months left yet to sort  out a name. But we know the right name will arrive on time.

“I don’t know if its a boy or a girl… we’re just going to wait and get a great big surprise. In fact the baby is due on my birthday in February. That would certainly be a birthday present to remember. And possibly another first!

“Everyone in my family and in my party in Sinn Féin is absolutely delighted for me and they can’t do enough to help. And the staff in the council too and just fantastic and patient with me as I get on with my business as chairperson. It’s a very busy post at the best of times  stretching over morning, day and evening and covering the whole of the council area. I was even away on a trip to America earlier this year on official business. Council work is very time consuming.

[caption id="attachment_59962" align="alignright" width="200"]The stork will soon arrive near Ballygalget. The stork will soon arrive near Ballygalget.[/caption]

“So gerard and I decided that I should take it easy on the run up to the baby being born, and then I hopefully get back into my role as chair as soon as I am fit again. I will only be chairperson for another four months from the end of February after that so I can concentrate more on the baby then after I serve the final months of my year in office.

“It has been quite a tough year so far but very enjoyable, and I am very honoured to be in this special position. Every day I meet amazing, brave and talented people.  I feel that I have to complete my time in office which I will do. So I expect that I will work up until January anyway and hopefully we can co-opt someone temporarily from within the party to take over for a couple of weeks. We are looking at this at the moment to see what options we have. I don’t think it would be wise driving around in the middle of winter on dark nights when I am ready to give birth.

“My married name is Doran and it is difficult at times having to use my maiden name in my political role especially as I was elected as ‘Naomi Bailie’.

“Being a woman in politics, and soon to be a mother, it is not always easy in a testosterone-filled chamber with mostly men battling with each other to get their points across. There does need to be more women in politics.

“I suppose really I am sending out a message that women can get involved in politics and the system has to change.”

Naomi did not see herself as a modern day Joan of Arc but she does have a shaping influence on the perceptions may people have of what our local councillors could be as a woman involved in the process in local government. “I suppose I am sending out a big message that women can get involved in politics and have an impact. Women are not stereotypically chained to the kitchen sink as many would believe.

“I might even bring my baby to a Council meeting… and that would be an interesting thought. An extra hungry voice in the chamber shouting louder than the battle-hardened councillors would certainly be an interesting scenario.

“It will be a difficult few months for me and probably will be quite exhausting, but with a little help from my friends and colleagues I can get through this well, and just maybe it will mark up a new era in local politics. I certainly won’t be putting our new baby under any pressures. He, or she, will be very well looked after.

“It is a big challenge covering the whole council area and being the public face of the new council. I’m just looking forward to having the baby in late February and getting back to business, but I expect that being a new mum will be something I will have to get used to. I am really looking forward to it all and I know everyone in the council offices is almost as expectant as I am waiting for the big day… which is not too far away now.”

So, good luck to Naomi Bailie and her new baby.

But, one final question I posed to Naomi left her pondering.

“What happens if it’s twins?”

She just smiled.