Former Senator and former Vintners Federation of Ireland President Galway publican Billy Lawless has confirmed that he intends to be an independent candidate in the forthcoming Seanad bye-election to be held next month.
He’s seeking a nomination to run on the Industrial and Commercial Panel in the Upper House following the vacancy following the resignation of Elisha McCallion in October last year.
“My many years’ experience as a successful businessman in the hospitality sector in Galway and my adopted city of Chicago signifies my appetite for hard work,” he said, outlining his qualifications and experience for the role.
Speaking from his Galway home the former Taoiseach’s nominee said, “My business career in the US led to my role as an advocate for the Irish community there and I was honoured to be their voice in the Irish parliament from 2016 – 2020.
“I’m uniquely placed to speak up for the sector, its thousands of owners and employees and its importance to Ireland as a global brand,” he added, noting the hospitality sector’s current Lockdown struggles in Ireland.
Good Friday opener
As an independent Senator Billy Lawless took up the reigns that eventually saw the government dropping historical legislation which prevented pubs opening on Good Friday with the result that after many years of intransigence by government pubs and restaurants can now sell alcohol on Good Friday (present pandemic Lockdown excepted).
In seeking to overturn the 90 year-old Good Friday legislation just three years ago the 1982 VFI President had the support of many of his Seanad colleagues including those who strongly advocated for the Public Health Alcohol Bill. Even the Justice Minister at the time Frances Fitzgerald was happy (once it had passed the Seanad) to bring forward the legislation.
In addition, he vowed to “continue to work tirelessly for the Irish abroad as I have done for decades. My network of contacts in Irish and US politics will ensure that issues important to our Diaspora will remain a high priority if I’m elected to Seanad Éireann”.