COUNTY Councillor John A Collins has confirmed that he will not stand in May’s local elections as he also retires as a Carrigaline shopkeeper.
The Fine Gael Ballincollig-Carrigaline municipal district representative announced this week that he has closed the shop he ran in Carrigaline’s Waterpark after 23 years to return home to West Cork.
Hundreds of locals and well-wishers took to Facebook to pay tribute to Mr Collins, his family and staff at the store. “It’s bittersweet,” he told the Evening Echo.
“I’m sad to be going but there comes a time when you have to. We’re here 23 years and it has been a long stint. The reaction from people on Facebook has been unbelievable altogether. I suppose it goes to show what small shops meant to their communities at one stage. However, they outlive their use and it becomes hard to compete with bigger chains.
“My three daughters are raised, so my wife and I are heading back to West Cork, where I’m from,” he added.
One former customer said Mr Collins provided a “second to none service to the people of Carrigaline, always friendly, caring and compassionate”.
Mr Collins has decided not to contest the next local elections and is considering resigning his seat in the coming weeks to allow another Fine Gael member to be co-opted onto the council in preparation for the election campaign.
He said he has become increasingly frustrated with local politics in recent years but will remain involved in local activism.
“I will stay involved in activism but I will not be standing for election again. I’ve become very frustrated with the whole thing in the last few years.
“It has become bogged down in pointless arguments on important issues and nobody is taking responsibility. It has become demoralising,” he added.
Mr Collins, from Drimoleague, was co-opted onto Cork County Council in 2006 after his predecessor, councillor Peter Kelly, emigrated to New Zealand. He has been a member of Fine Gael since the 1970s and has served as the public relations officer for the Carrigaline branch.