Irena Djak Cvetkovic.

Radio Manager throws hat into ring for vacant council seat

Athlone Community Radio Manager Irena Djak Cvetkovic has thrown her hat in the ring in a bid to fill the vacant seat on Westmeath County Council, caused by the shock resignation of Jamie Moran.

Living in Ireland over 20 years, the Serbian native confirmed the move in a statement on her Facebook page this morning.

If co-opted, she vowed to give representation to all Irish, non Irish, migrants and refugees. As a mother of three, she's familiar with the issues of education and the rising cost of living that people are grappling with everyday.

She has previously served as a local councillor in her home country.

Her statement said: “At first I dismissed the call when Cllr Louise Heavin approached me but now I am in the ring for the vacant seat on Westmeath County Council. I want to show that Athlone has more to offer.

“My experience is working in the not for profit Athlone Community Radio for 14 years, the last three years as a Manager. I'm involved daily in community activities and have a deep understanding of local issues.

“I was elected a Local Councillor in 1996 in Vrsac, Serbia. I was 23 years of age. My education includes a B/A Political Science and Journalism - Belgrade University; M/A Media Studies - Technological University Dublin.

“I'm an Independent. I don't owe any favours to anyone and no one owes me anything. I am not a party member.

“I was born in Serbia, in Ireland since 2000. I am ready to give representation to all Irish, non Irish, migrants and refugees.

"I'm a working mother of three sons so I am very familiar with the issues of education and cost of living that our people face every day.

“But is the Council ready for something new?”

In a short statement on social media today, Green Cllr Louise Heavin said: "The political system has to change to represent the people it serves. When I first learned that the vacancy on the council is going to be contested... I thought why not from a women?! I approached Irena as she is an amazing advocate for Athlone through her work and her independent voice could be a big addition to the town.

"I know women often need to be asked so I asked her. After a little bit of thinking she decided to throw her hat in the ring for the seat and I'm delighted. I hope that she is successful in gaining the 6 nominations needed. It's rare opportunity to make our chamber more diverse and representative of our community."