DONNA Sheridan, the only female candidate contesting next Friday's local elections in the Castlebar electoral area, has suggested the county town 'seems to have lost its way'.
The Fine Gael representative elaborated: "There have been recent successes on the jobs front and the provision of the new swimming pool and the new Sacred Heart Hospital are great.
"But the image that many people of my generation have of the local council is of tough, sometimes vicious infighting among the male dominated council which seems to have more energy for griping and quarrelling than finding a new way forward.
"Yes, perhaps that’s unfair but that’s why the women I talk to don’t want to stand for election. Castlebar needs to look at Westport to see how people can get their act together. That’s despite their political differences and it’s impressive to see how they put their town before publicity stunts and photo opportunities.
"The flood of buses out of Castlebar on a Saturday night is testament to that.
“With the building of the new Castlebar bypass, the county town needs to, as an extreme, look to the fate of Kinnegad.
"Most Castlebar children complete their Leaving Cert and leave town, returning only for holiday events. Dublin is bursting at the seams and rents are savage.
"I know there are some jobs coming and Minister Michael Ring is doing a fantastic job but the west of Ireland is being sucked dry of tomorrow’s talent in a great brain drain. That’s the challenge for the new council.”
"It’s to get their heads together and lead for the future," she said.
If elected, Sheridan intends to draw on her vast experience representing the interest of students, their parents and teachers on the Mayo Sligo and Leitrim Education and Training Board and on the national executive of the TUI.