The candidate Drew MacEoghainn and the Community Party councillor Jim Bollan.

By Bill Heaney

Say what you like about Councillor Jim Bollan  – and many people do – he is probably the best councillor in West Dunbartonshire.

Cynics amongst you who take an interest in local government politics might say that wouldn’t take much.

And you would be dead right on that score.

Jim is a man of integrity and long local government experience as an elected representative.

He has been around the block under a number of different political flags, always to the left of centre, and has survived in the places that count in politics  – the polling station and the streets of the community he loves and serves so well.

While our basket case council, which is administered by the mediocre SNP and has had to pay good money and hand over gold to keep its majority, has brought Dumbarton and Alexandria to its knees and abandoned the town centres of both to a state of pitiful neglect, Councillor Bollan has worked hard to pull Renton in particular up by its bootstraps.

What was a deeply deprived village under previous and present council administrations  is looking better than ever these days.

The SNP will try to claim credit for some of that, but the truth is that the people of Renton and Alexandria have had to fight tooth and nail and against the odds for everything they’ve got.

They they would not have a new Renton Primary School or retained St Martin’s and the nursery school  attached to it had it not been for the leadership of Councillor Bollan.

Parents and community activists who persuaded the Council to do a U-turn on their decision to close St Martin’s Primary School in Renton.

During that time one of the lieutenants at Jim Bollan’s side has been Drew MacEoghainn who, after years of giving Jim back-up from the political sidelines has decided to stand with the Community Party and alongside Jim Bollan for the council.

He told me: “The party gave me the option of standing in any ward but I knew that the only one I would stand in was Lomond due to me growing up in the Haldane and Jamestown.”
Lomond covers Balloch village and the Haldane housing estate which have been traditionally Labour so long as I can remember and going back to the days of Johnny Carson and Tom Biglie.
Johnny and his son in law Tom owned the general store in Haldane and were community champions. They were by the people, of the people and for the people.
Drew MacEoghainn is out of that same top drawer.
He told me: “I spoke to a few Community activists who either live or have family ties including my own in Haldane and they told me to go for it.

“The most important thing for Community Party candidates is to always vote according to our own values, no matter the popularity these values have with the electorate or even within our party.

“We always back the individual’s right to vote as their conscience dictates, not as they are told to do by party whips.”

His good friend and supporter Louise Robertson is confident that the voting public will appreciate Drew and back him at the polling stations come the Local Government Election in June next year.

She said: “Jim Bollan as our elected councillor is proof positive that the Community Party is on the right track.

Action man Drew MacEoghainn devotes time to helping children with martial arts classes.

“Jim has never deviated from what he believes is the right thing to do and always votes accordingly, so when we looked for candidates to stand alongside Jim we approached Drew MacEoghainn who has a history of fighting for what he believes in.

“Whether it was as a union representative when he was a cooper in  the whisky industry or working with kids with differing abilities; doing community work or successfully fighting the relocation of St Mary’s in Alexandria and Renton primary schools – and battling the proposed closure of St Martin’s – Drew has always stood behind his beliefs and he has never faltered.”

Louise added: “Drew was asked to choose the ward he wished to run in and he chose to run in the Lomond ward, where he was brought up.

“The Community Party are fully aware this is one of the hardest wards to win with the leaders of the SNP, Labour and Tories currently holding the three council seats, but Drew was unwavering in his desire to represent the place of his childhood.

“And to better represent an area he believes has been badly let down by part-time, sometimes disinterested councillors.”

Drew himself said “I’ve worked for a number of community groups in nine different council areas and I know that this area has huge potential.

“I have also worked with many, many brilliant people who work for the council and also with their trade union colleagues  who work countless unpaid hours to improve our area for the communities who live here.

“I would love to represent those workers in the council chamber.

“I’m under no illusion about how difficult it will be to oust one of the main party leaders in the Lomond ward, but I’m certain that if the communities in Haldane, Jamestown, Rosshead, Balloch Tullichewan and Levenvale decide to come out in numbers and vote for a candidate who will work full-time for them instead of narrow party interests, then it can be done.

“If I am elected I will work hard with Jim Bollan to improve West Dunbartonshire by taking back power back from unelected officials and putting it into the hands of democratically elected councillors.”

UPDATE: In the Lomond ward at the last local council election only 48.9% turned out which is infact the norm.

Jonathon McColl received 1082 first votes

Martin Rooney received 945 first votes

Sally Page received 939 first votes
Kilmaronock has 516 registered voters
Lennox Hall has 3698
The Vale pool has 3245
St Kessog’s has 1724
Drew said: “It’s simple to see that if for instance the people of Haldane and Jamestown want a specific candidate to represent them they will get him/her IF they get out and vote!
“People have been intentionally put off voting because “what difference does it make” well as you can see, if you want change you can vote for it and it will happen.”

One comment

  1. I think the next council elections will be a watershed for the SNP when they lose seats in their droves.

    The message will be sharp and crystal clear.

Leave a Reply