Athlone Green Party councillor Louise Heavin.

Louise Heavin in line to become new Mayor of Athlone district

Green Party councillor Louise Heavin said she's hopeful she will be elected as the new Mayor of the Athlone Moate Municipal District when its AGM is held in Athlone Civic Centre on Monday (June 12).

A voting pact between Cllr Heavin and the four Fianna Fáil councillors has controlled the allocation of the Mayoral chain in the nine-person district since the last local elections in 2019.

Since then, Cllr Frankie Keena, Cllr Aengus O'Rourke, Cllr Liam McDaniel and the current Mayor, Cllr Vinny McCormack, have been in the role, with the expectation that Cllr Heavin would serve in the final year leading up to next year's local elections.

Speaking to the Westmeath Independent this afternoon, Cllr Heavin said she was hopeful the pact would result in her election as Mayor.

"That is my hope, but it depends on everybody's support, and I hope I will get everybody's support on Monday," she said.

She believes more women are needed in politics and said the election of a female first citizen of Athlone would be a positive step in that regard.

"I am very excited about it. It will be a huge honour if it happens," she said.

"I think we need more women involved in politics and it will be great to have a female Mayor, the first female Mayor in a long time in the town.

"They say 'you can't be what you can't see', so I think it will be important for the town as much as anything else to have a female Mayor."

With the local elections taking place in May or June of 2024, Cllr Heavin acknowledged it was likely to be a busy year ahead.

"Potentially it will, yeah. I'll just take it as it comes. I've had to adjust things myself, personally in my life, to manage the workloads of the different things I'm doing, and this will be no different," she stated.

The last woman to be elected as Mayor of Athlone was Gabrielle McFadden, a decade ago, in 2013. Prior to that, Sheila Buckley Byrne took on the town's Mayoral chain in 2010.