CASTLECONNELL area councillor Mary Jackman is to retire from local politics after almost 30 years of service.
A former senator and general election candidate, Cllr Jackman is one of Limerick County Council’s longest serving members.
She has decided to step away from politics to spend more time with her family.
“I believe now is the best time to step aside and allow younger people to take on the important role of serving the community, bringing forward new and modern ideas, and also ensuring the successful amalgamation of Limerick City Council and Limerick County Council,” she said this week. Cllr Jackman was first elected to County Council in 1985, and has retained her seat ever since, topping the poll at the 2004 and 2009 local elections.
During that time, she also served two terms in the Seanad, between 1989 and 1993 and 1997 and 2002.
Highly regarded in Fine Gael, Cllr Jackman also ran in five general elections.
Speaking to the Limerick Leader this week, she says the highlight of her political career was her election as Cathaoirleach in 1999.
She was the county’s first citizen as Limerick saw in the new millennium, and at the time, was also the first female chairman of the county.
It happened on the 100th anniversary of her grandfather, Patrick Duggan being elected to the first ever County Council, something which made her doubly proud.
A teacher by profession – she spent her entire career at Presentation College –Cllr Jackman said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the role of councillor, and will really miss the day-to-day activity in helping people. I have also enjoyed the friendship and interaction of my fellow councillors.”
She believes the role of the councillor in the local community is as important as ever, saying: “Most [senior] politicians cut their political teeth as councillors, unless they are parachuted in. It was great preparation for me when I was going for general election. At the end of the day, all politics is local.”
Cllr Jackman paid tribute to those who have supported her in her political career.
And although she is stepping away front front-line politics, she says she will still be a presence on the community of Newtown, Castletroy, where she has lived since it was first built.
“I am not retiring from looking around the neighbourhood, picking up papers, walking around the neighbourhood park.
“I would ne a ‘lay politician’, if there is such a thing,” she smiled.