Cllr Hazel Smyth and Carol Okeke.

Carol Okeke to replace Hazel Smyth on council

Carol Okeke has been approved to replace Green Party councillor, Hazel Smyth, on Westmeath County Council until the council is dissolved next June.

Cllr Smyth, who is currently on maternity leave, says that she is "very grateful to Carol for picking up the mantle and I'm confident she will do a great job".

"As a Green Party candidate for the upcoming Local Election, it is fantastic to have someone take over temporarily who shares my interest and love for our natural environment and the overall wellbeing of our local communities. I have been a strong advocate for encouraging more women into politics and for greater diversity in our council chambers and as such, I'm delighted that Carol can bring this diversity to Westmeath County Council Chambers. I wish Carol the very best with this new position."

Ms Okeke says that she is proud to serve as a councillor while Councillor Smyth is on maternity leave.

" I have always dedicated my life in service to the community and nurturing those around me. As councillor, my primary objective will be to continue the work that Hazel began in improving public transportation, housing, community service, and addressing local and environmental issues. Personally, I’m excited to revitalise our neighbourhoods through public services and introduce fresh and innovative ideas into our government. I will do everything in my power to advocate for the people and ensure that each and every voice is heard, and as I go the extra mile I hope you’ll walk alongside me.”

Okeke was born and raised in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and attended the University of Benin where she completed a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts in 1988. She moved to Ireland in 1999 and completed a master’s degree in Human Resource Management at Dublin Business School in 2014.

The mother of four children, she works in the retail industry and is also active in community organisations. She served as a board member of Scoil Mhuire NS in Lucan, and as a Eucharist Minister in the Church of Assumption. She was appointed as the vice president of the African Chaplaincy of Lucan/Clondalkin.

Congratulations were extended to Cllr Smyth and her husband Ramy on the recent birth of their baby at the council's monthly meeting held last Monday, February 26.

Cllr Smyth will return to run as a candidate in the local elections in Mullingar and Ms Okeke will run in Kinnegad.