Thursday 09 May 2019 01:38:32 AM

Hanlon Throws Hat In Ring For Sinn Féin
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Sinn Féin Downpatrick candidate Oonagh Hanlon looks forward to election.

Well known local Sinn Féin activist Oonagh Hanlon is the only woman standing in the Downpatrick District Electoral Area in the local government elections on Thursday 2nd May.

Passionate about her politics for many years, Oonagh lives in Downpatrick with her husband and three children. She was born and raised in the Killough and Downpatrick area and is acutely aware of the issues facing the Downpatrick area and intends to provide a strong voice and representation for all of the Lecale.

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Downpatrick Sinn Féin candidate Oonagh Hanlon, right, pictured just after handing in her nomination papers, with Jordan Madden, also running in Downpatrick as a second candidate, and South Down MLA Emma Rogan at the Downshire Civic Centre.

Since graduating from QUB in 1998, Oonagh enjoyed a successful career in Financial Services working in a bank before choosing to move over to politics. As Constituency Manager to South Down MLA Emma Rogan, she has secured a reputation locally as a hard working party member who delivers.

She said: “I am passionate about equality for all whether it be LGBT rights, the Irish language, and in particular, rights for women. I have been actively involved in the Irish language community locally since my children started Irish Medium Education almost 18 years ago. I have worked tirelessly as campaigner for legacy rights and most recently helped organise the Truth March in Belfast which saw thousands on the streets of Belfast.”

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Sinn Féin Downpatrick DEA candidates Oonagh Hanlon and Jordan Madden with South Down MLA Emma Rogan after the showing of No Stone Unturned in the Saddle or Sail Bar in Killough recently.

Commenting on running in the election with local health worker Jordan Madden, she said: “I am delighted to be running with Jordan. He is a very committed and capable Sinn Féin activist and we work very well as a team locally. He too is very focussed on disability and health issues and will be of great benefit to the new cohort of councillors going forward in Downpatrick.”

Oonagh believes she will be a strong voice for local community in particular championing the local economy and tourism. “These areas are very important key areas for the wider Council area and for the Lecale in general. Our indigenous industries need our support. Farming and fishing are very significant local industries and business in our smaller provincial towns and villages too needs our help. Main Streets have too many vacant properties caused by high rates. We must ensure opportunities for young people, the disabled, and support the good work being done at community and voluntary level of which the County Down Rural Community Network continues to provide huge support.

“Newry Mourne and Down District Council has very strong representation already from Sinn Féin across the whole district and I would like to add to our team. I have been providing local advice to people from our advice centre on St Patrick’s Avenue and I am fully aware of the issues currently facing people from health and disability, housing, employment and education and training and many other areas.

“I fully support the work of the Down Community Health Committee and totally agree we should have a 24-hour A&E service open in the Downe Hospital. We need to work closely with the South Eastern HSC Trust going forward to make sure this happens. There is much going on in health at the moment such as a consultation in the re-shaping of stroke services and we do need to ensure we are not once again left behind in the process.

“Already people here are not well served by an ailing ambulance service, poor road infrastructure and Belfast hospitals that are 30 miles away. We need to ensure we have the right level of care for our local people at our local hospital.”

As part of a team of councillors, MLA’s and MP’s, Oonagh hopes to support her Sinn Féin colleagues in the Council chamber on a wide range of issues ensuring all the Council services are providing excellent value for the ratepayers.