I am 42 years old and married to Olive. We have three young children of school going age. I have worked in retail management for my entire career. In 2012 I returned to college after a 20 year gap and graduated in 2016 with an Honours Degree in Law from I.T Carlow. I am currently studying for a diploma in Personal Insolvency. I joined Sinn Féin 8 years ago and have been involved in many campaigns since then, including the anti-water charges, commercial wind farm and local property tax campaigns. I was election agent for Cllr. Mark Lynch in the 2014 local elections and we have worked closely ever since. I volunteer for St Vincent de Paul and am involved in Housing Action Kildare, a local group set up to assist people with housing issues. I have been a member of the Parent’s Association of both the primary and secondary schools in my area.
I am a member of the GAA and mentor a junior team. I am an avid follower of the mixed fortunes of Kildare GAA.
My Priorities & Ideas
Climate change is a major issue in Ireland and should inform all decisions made at local and national level.
We need sustainable development of publicly delivered homes. A minimum of 7% of these homes should be built with people of different abilities in mind.
Broadband is a major issue in the vast majority of the constituency. The ESB should be tasked with delivering the National Broadband Plan.
Illegal dumping needs a coherent plan to tackle this effectively.
Crime and anti social behaviour should be tackled through a community policing model.
Traffic and parking issues are choking the life from our towns. We need a second bridge over the Liffey in Newbridge to deal with the current major blockage. The SCOOT system is clearly not working. Roundabouts should be used to deal with traffic flow at major junctions. Cycleways should be used to reduce car dependency.
The Curragh is vital to Kildare. It must be protected and developed as an attraction to be proud of.
Why I am (or will be) a good politician
For some, politician is a dirty word. I have met many people over the last few months who say that all politicians are the same and wonder what the point is in voting. I want to be the Public Representative who is available, accessible and will give you the truth, not the answer you want to hear. I want to dispel the myth that all politicians disappear after the election, to re-emerge four and a half years later with cap in hand. I don’t have the gift of fiery speech or the ability to make problems disappear overnight. What I do have is a willingness to help people to help themselves. I want to engage more people to get involved in politics, with any party, not just Sinn Féin. Find a party that best represents how you see the world, get involved. It needn’t take up hours of your time, you can give as little or as much as you want. You will get back in spades what you put in. Look around you, there are major problems. Don’t give out, get stuck in. Be part of the solution.
Name three characteristics of a great politician
Good listener, integrity and a passion for finding solutions.
What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?
Apart from the priorities already mentioned: better townlink services, vacant homes brought back into use, support for people of different abilities, better planning decisions, an ambitious county development plan and more outdoor exercise areas.
What politician or ex-politician outside Ireland do you admire and why?
Carles Puigdemont, a man who stood up for what he believes in, at great personal risk to himself. An ordinary man, the son of a baker who left a career in journalism to make a difference in his City and his Country. We haven’t heard the last of him.
What is the one mistake you witness politicians making more frequently than others?
Ignoring life outside the bubble. Many politicians live in the political bubble instead of the real world. In the real world people check their bank balance before making a purchase or worry about the noise from the engine and how much it might cost.
In politics there can be a tendency for the “system” to dampen the “inspiration.” How do you keep this from happening?
Bring in new people or go out and talk to people about how to fix the system. Try new approaches, be imaginitive, be ambitious. Think outside the box and stretch your boundaries. Find like minded people and work on changing the system together.
What personal or professional achievement are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of my Law degree, it was a hard slog but I had amazing support. I was ill in my final year and giving up was a real possibility but I’m glad I stuck with it. You only realise how good people are when you are under pressure.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Get involved in politics earlier, travel more, save more. There are always second chances if it doesn’t go right the first time around.
What are three words you would use to describe yourself?
Husband, father and political-junkie.
Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party?
Dara O’Briain, Constantin Gurdgiev, Fr Peter McVerry, David Hall, Sr. Stan Kennedy, Dalia Grybauskaite, Bernadette Devlin, my Dad and my Wife, Olive.
What’s on your bookshelf
Anything from The Conquest of Bread to Man’s Search for Meaning. Biographies of politicians of every hue. Books by Colm O’Regan and Colm Keane. Lots of books about the Troubles and Law. I tend not to keep fiction books so I normally borrow them.
Name some of your favourite movies
In the Name of the Father, Some Mothers Son, H3, The Shawshank Redemption, 12 Angry Men, Braveheart, Serpico, The Usual Suspects, Passengers, It’s a Wonderful Life, To Kill a Mocking Bird, Back to the Future, Schindler’s List, Bloody Sunday, Calvary
Who are your heroes?
All those who gave their lives for Irish freedom. All those who battle against mental ill health on a daily basis. The carers of Ireland that we owe a massive debt of gratitude to.
If you had 30 seconds in an elevator to convince someone to vote for you what would you say?
Check out www.candidates.ie/noel-connolly/