3 June 2004 Edition

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McCauley raising party profile in Kildare

Cristín McCauley

Cristín McCauley

Cristín McCauley, the wife of Martin McCauley —who is still being held in a Colombian Jail despite having being declared innocent last month of training Farc guerrillas — is standing as the Sinn Féin candidate for Naas Town Council and Kildare County Council. Kildare has traditionally been a weak spot for Sinn Féin, but Cristín and sitting Councillor Paddy Wright (Athy Town Council) are hoping to build the party in the county.

The mother-of-three and trained youth worker says she is confident she can bring a fresh outlook to local government in Kildare.

"Primarily I want to give the people of this area an option of voting for Sinn Féin," says Cristín. "We're the biggest growing party in the whole country. For me personally, I've gained a lot of experience politically over the case with Martin and the difficult situation over the past three years."

Cristín has been raising her three children single-handed since her husband was jailed in August 2001 and she has worked extensively behind the scenes lobbying politicians on his behalf. "They have been vindicated," she says. "I'm hoping to have Martin home in a short time. It was a relief they were acquitted but at the same time if you look at the trial there was absolutely no evidence against them."

Cristín and her family moved to Naas from Lurgan, County Armagh in 1998 after a bomb attack on their home by loyalists. She says a bid to move to Naas ten years earlier had failed because the family couldn't get housing.

"I've got three children and I'm very concerned about the different issues that affect us," she says. "Housing is at crisis level in Naas. The need for schools is chronic. We need to accommodate the huge influx of young people into this area. From my own experience I couldn't get the children in to primary school when we first moved here. They had to go to Rathmore.

"We're happy in Naas. It's a good town but there are things that need addressing."

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