AN INDEPENDENT councillor from Dundrum has joined Fine Gael.
Cllr Lynsey McGovern, who represents the Sandyford/Glencullen ward in DLR, said she believes she can “make a much bigger difference” as a member of Fine Gael than as an Independent.
“It was not a decision I made lightly. I had thought about it for many months,” said McGovern.
“I developed a great working relationship with my Fine Gael colleagues on DLRCC over the last three years in relation to policy and budgetary matters and it is therefore a natural progression for me to now join the party.
“There is strength in numbers and that’s key in getting decisions over the line at the end of the day.
“It is my view that the support that will be available to me from Fine Gael and its members will be of enormous assistance in my role as a county councillor.
“I will now have much wider access and support to councillors both locally and nationally and access to national politicians, decision makers and Government ministers.”
The physiotherapist received a warm welcome to the party from her new FG colleagues.
Josepha Madigan TD said: “She is an impressive, hardworking representative for the people of Sandyford/Glencullen and I look forward to working closely with her for our mutual constituents.”
Councillor Emma Blain, said she is looking forward to “continuing and strengthening our good working relationship in representing the people of our local electoral area” with Cllr McGovern.
While the reaction to her move has been good overall, some of Cllr McGovern’s constituents have criticised it as a “kick in the teeth” and branded her a “fraud”.
Responding to a Facebook post announcing the news, one constituent said: “Say goodbye to your votes and respect.” While another said: “Must have learned about the brown envelopes.”
Another commenter wrote: “Well that’s a kick in the teeth to everyone who gave you a vote as a independent Cllr, people wanted a fresh new voice and a change from the FG/FF and Labour parties and now you go and jump ship.”
In a response to negative criticism of her move, Cllr McGovern told The Gazette that she feels she can better serve her constituents as a member of FG than by herself.
“When you’re in politics, it’s actually really difficult as much done as you’d want to get done to the people you represent.
“When I go door to door, people bring up a lot of national issues like medical cards, that I can’t deal with as a local county councillor, I need to have that link in with a TD who has the access and the staff behind them to source the information, so it [being a member of a party] just makes it easier to do the role.”