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15 October 2015

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Tara High Kings Festival founder to contest Seanad by-election for Sinn Féin

SINN FÉIN has confirmed that Meath County Councillor Sinéad Burke, former Mayor of Navan and a community development worker, will be the Sinn Féin candidate in the Seanad by-election (Industrial and Commercial panel) due to be held on 13 November.

Having qualified as a radio journalist from Ballyfermot College, Sinéad studied Community Development at NUI, Maynooth. 

She has been a community development worker for the past 14 years, during which time she has worked with Meath Travellers Workshops as Co-ordinator of Navan Community Development Project and as Editor of the national magazine Voice of the Traveller

She was elected to Meath County Council in 2014, representing the Navan electoral area, having been co-opted to Navan Town Council in 2013. 

She also served as Mayor of Navan in 2014/15. 

Sinéad is a member of the Board of Directors of Meath Enterprise Centre.

In 2012 she founded the Tara High Kings Festival, a historic celebration on the Hill of Tara attracting visitors and participants from around the world to County Meath. It was selected as a "Gathering Signature Event" and also won the "Best Gathering Event" title at the Meath Business and Tourism Awards.

During Sinéad's term as Mayor in Navan, she spearheaded a major Christmas campaign for the town which saw the local Chamber of Commerce and the local authority working together for the first time in many years. The campaign led to Navan being dubbed Ireland's ‘most Christmassy’ town. 

Sinéad is a champion of disability rights and is currently working with Meath County Council to set up a disability advisory group for all future Meath County Council infrastructure projects. 

Mental health is also a huge concern to Sinéad and, earlier this year, she founded the 'Mayor's Happiness Project". Fifteen local coffee shops now sell “happiness coins” which can be given as tokens of caring and love to friends or colleagues who are feeling down. The coins are then exchanged for hot drinks in any café. The campaign has been noted by the Samaritans.

Other candidates for the Seanad seat left vacant by Labour Senator Jimmy Harte, who retired after a long illness, are Máiría Cahill (Labour), Keith Swanick (Fianna Fáil) and Gerry Beades (Independent).

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