My name is Ben Slimm and I am a first time candidate in the Tralee Municipal District. I decided to run as I felt that my generation was not represented on Kerry County Council and I felt the town needed a new voice.
I grew up in Cois Coille on the Killeen road and completed primary school at the CBS Clounalour and my secondary school education in The Green.
After completing my studies in 2014, at the IT Tralee, I served two years as IT Tralee Students’ Union President. There I was an effective voice for the student body and worked to create a vibrant experience for the student who were studying and living in our town.
My Priorities & Ideas
My priorities include;
• Mandating the County Council to create a youth strategy for Tralee, focused on experience in the town and high value employment creation.
• Obtaining TU Status for the IT Tralee – A university in Tralee would make a huge difference, with about 60% of the ITT’s student body coming from Kerry, a university would increase the town’s appeal in our neighbouring counties.
• The Tralee-Fenit Greenway is all but ready to go, we need a strong voice to keep pressure and get funding secured.
• Lobbying to protect and enhance University Hospital Kerry – staff are under immense pressure and they need a voice to advocate for them as well as for their patients.
• Working with local businesses to enhance the town centre and actively promote footfall back into our town.
• Solutions to access to the town centre, including seeking solutions from traders on car parking & set down areas for those who find accessing our town difficult.
Why I am (or will be) a good politician
I have always been the first person to speak up when I felt something unfair was happening. As a child I can remember having passionately held beliefs, this continued into college where I was delighted to be elected President of IT Tralee Students’ Union from 2014-2016.
During my time in ITTSU I worked to better student facilities like access to the library – where I won longer opening hours. I also put a lot of time into encouraging students to make use of our town and promoted events to make them part of our community.
I currently volunteer with a number of community groups and charities such as the Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre where I serve as Chairman and with Coláiste Gleann Lí post-primary school as a member of the board of management. Giving me a good understanding of the challenges our community faces.
Being a politician means representing our town to the best of my ability, I will leave no stone unturned in ensuring a positive future for Tralee.
Name three characteristics of a great politician
Honesty – the ability to tell the truth in all situations
Passion – believing in the mission and the community
Organisation – It takes a lot of organisational skill to manage the work a constituency provides.
What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?
Delivery of a youth strategy for Tralee focused on keeping graduates here and obtaining high value jobs for them to work in. Better footfall into our town centre. Securing the management of University Hospital Kerry in our county rather than Cork.
What politician or ex-politician outside Ireland do you admire and why?
Aneurin Bevan – The pioneer behind the British National Health Service – he believed that the state should care for it’s citizens health & wellbeing from the cradle to the grave and he was also a champion of social justice & the rights of workers.
What is the one mistake you witness politicians making more frequently than others?
Forgetting their roots and becoming too wrapped up in the details of the elected office they hold. It is easy for a politician to think they are acting on behalf of those they represent but often they haven’t consulted enough with those concerned.
In politics there can be a tendency for the “system” to dampen the “inspiration.” How do you keep this from happening?
By staying connected with those who are passionate about changing the system. I have been told throughout my life that change is difficult or even impossible – that has only ever served to make me more determined.
What personal or professional achievement are you most proud of?
My biggest personal achievement has to be graduating from college. I come from a working class single parent family – with a disabled parent. I spent time caring for my family and often people in my situation don’t get to college let alone graduate.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Stop focusing on the future as much as you do and enjoy the moment – I was a child who wanted to be a teenager and a teenager who wanted to be an adult.
What are three words you would use to describe yourself?
Determined, empathetic and passionate.
Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party?
Sir David Attenborough, Alastair Campbell and Ryan Reynolds!
If you could have personally witnessed anything in history, what would you want to have seen?
The signing of the Good Friday Agreement – I am passionate about Northern Ireland and don’t think we understand just what it is like to live above the partition.
What is on your bucket list?
This year it’s get married, get elected and see a successful year for Tralee.
How do you unwind/switch off?
I walk the beaches of Kerry with my partner Joe and our two dogs Alfie and Pippa.
What values are most important to you?
Honesty – to be clear with people and not to make false promises.
Service – to give back to the community my being a part of the community and volunteering.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I read, and I love to read about the past so I can identify how our society has changed positively over the last 20 years and imagine just how much in can change in another 20.
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
Professional & personal development is something I think about frequently. While many people think its based around a career I see the benefits of upping my skills in every area to benefit those I work and live with.
What’s on your bookshelf
Vox by Chrisina Dalcher and The President is Missing by James Patterson and President Bill Clinton
Name some of your favourite movies
I’m a huge disney fan – I grew up devouring them and wanted to be Buzz Lightyear.
Who are your heroes?
My mother Sheila & my partner Joe.
If you had 30 seconds in an elevator to convince someone to vote for you what would you say?
I feel that a whole generation of Kerry people have been stripped from our county and are finding it hard to return because nobody represents them here. I want to be a fresh new voice on Kerry County Council and I promise to work harder than anyone.