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SELECTED: 23-year-old Luke Silke from Lavally / Barnaderg to Replace Martin Ward on Aontú Ticket in Tuam LEA

The Aontú representative for Tuam, Martin Ward, has announced his retirement from electoral politics. Mr Ward served as a Tuam Town Councillor from 1999 to 2010, during that time he was elected Mayor of Tuam on two occasions (2003 – 2004 and 2007 – 2008). Following the announcement of his retirement from politics, a meeting was convened of the Tuam Aontú cumann where author Luke Silke, from Lavally, was selected as the local area representative for the party.

Speaking after his selection, Mr Silke said: “I am delighted to have been selected as Aontú representative for the Tuam area and look forward to contesting the local election in three years’ time. I’m 23-years-old, a son of Ger and Marita Silke from Cloondahamper, a townland located between Lavally and Barnaderg just outside Tuam. I’ve had a keen interest in local history and current affairs since an early age, and in 2014, at the age of 16, I published a book titled ‘Cloondahamper A History’ which featured a collection of interviews with elderly people in my locality. I am currently studying Creative Writing and Arts in NUI Galway, while working part time as Secretarial Assistant to our party leader – Peadar Tóibín TD in the Dáil. This places me in a unique position where I can bring issues people in Tuam are facing, to Dublin with me each week. If anybody needs any assistance please do not hesitate to get in touch with me by email . “

Mr Silke continued “I got involved in politics accidentally. I think sometimes people don’t realise the extent to which decisions that are made either on the county council, or at government level, have an impact on their day to day lives. I became acutely aware of how neglected rural Ireland really is in terms of investment and jobs, when I graduated from secondary school in Mountbellew and suddenly realised that I would likely never again see many of my peers who would be forced into leaving the west of Ireland in search of jobs. Within weeks of completing my leaving cert I myself was standing in a pair of hobnail boots on a building site in Germany. I had always intended to become a journalist, but my sense of frustration at the Dublin-centric nature of successive governments has led me to a position where I can no longer stand on the sideline as a commentator and must actually engage with and challenge the system in an effort to better the lives of the people in rural Galway”.

“I would like to thank Martin Ward, for supporting my selection as his replacement. Martin Ward is a household name here in Tuam, and is well respected amongst political circles in this part of the world. He broke the glass ceiling when he became the first member of the Travelling community to be elected Mayor in Ireland in 2003 and again in 2007. He remains a rock for the Tuam community, and has always fought, throughout his political career, for the most vulnerable in society. Martin has a significant track record in fighting for the underdog. He deserves huge praise for his work – there’s many a soccer pitch, playground and clubhouse in Co Galway which wouldn’t be there were it not for the work of Martin Ward. When on the town council, Cllr Ward was known for his straight-talking, no nonsense approach to politics, and indeed his ability to work collectively with any politician, regardless of political affiliation, to help better the lives of the people of Tuam and the surrounding area. "while Martin will not run in another election campaign he will continue to be involved in politics as an activist. I look forward to working closely with Martin in upcoming local campaigns including my own election campaign, if I can do half as good a job as he did, I'll be doing well!”, concluded Mr Silke.


Contact Luke: 085 223 96 20

By Aontú Press | 31 March, 2021

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