A Fianna Fail councillor is determined to hold on to his post, despite having emigrated to Australia before Christmas, and is claiming that he can still represent his Irish constituents from Down Under.
Wexford town councillor Kevin Dwyer, who is paid €4,000 a year for being a public representative, moved to Australia in search of work. He told the Herald that he is still "very accessible" to his constituents even though he is based in Sydney.
"They can contact me on Facebook or by email. I have been making representations since I've come to Australia," he said. "I've come through two elections with a very strong vote. I have a good mandate from the local community.
"Of course people are contacting me. It's very easy to deal (with issues) through Facebook and email. What I do miss out on are the meetings every month -- it's not ideal," he said.
Dwyer was given a leave period of 12 months by his New Ross town council members, but non-party representative Bobby Dunphy said that Dwyer should make the "honorable decision" and resign.
Dunphy said "at some stage a councillor has to hold his hands up and tell his constituents I'm sorry, I can't represent you properly, I'm going to resign."
He added: "He's in Australia. It's very hard to communicate from there. We don't have Skype in the chamber. We had a very important motion and Kevin Dwyer was not there to indicate whether he supported it or not. That's critical."
Dwyer, however, wants to see if his partner and two children can settle in Australia before giving up his seat. Dwyer has gotten a job as a carpenter and is sponsored in Australia for four years.
The majority of Dwyer's fellow councillors granted his request for leave.
Dwyer, who was unemployed for two years before moving to Australia, said he was looking for some compassion for his difficult situation.
His family are expected to join him soon.
"Until they settle, I can't make a decision on my future," he said.
Source: Evening Herald.
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