The SDLP have announced their first candidate to fight the ABC council elections in May – Eamon McNeill, who is currently a member of Armagh City and District Council.
Mr McNeill lives in the ‘overlap’ area of Kilmore. It currently sits in Armagh’s ‘Orchard’ area but will be in the Portadown ward in the shake-up.
A maintenance plumber with the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, he replaced the legendary John Campbell in Armagh and is confident he will gain enough votes in the picturesque rural area to make it on his own accord.
“The councils are just as important as any other political forum in the province,” he said, “MLAs or MPs. I want to see bread and butter issues top of the agenda, instead of the major political parties squabbling over their own narrow interests and neglecting the real issues.”
He will concentrate on improving facilities for community groups, bus shelter provision, upgrading of roads, broadband facilities, environmental and health provision.
“This is an exciting time for local government – an opportunity we must grasp and move forward,” he said. “When the three councils amalgamate, it will be a while new scenario.”
He added that nominations for the SDLP hopefuls in ABC were being finalised and that SDLP was setting up a team with experience and freshness. Current Craigavon councillors Joe Nelson and Declan McAlinden will almost certain be chosen for Central Craigavon and Lurgan respectively.
Eamon McNeill is married to Rosemary and they have two daughters Caoimhe and Aoibhin, and they live in Kilmore.