A strong republican voice
The Sinn Féin candidate for the 2 February Antrim Borough Council by-election is a quiet person. But no one is fooled. Pauline Davey-Kennedy is a thinker, a strategist and, most of all, offers the best voice for the nationalist people in the Toome and Randalstown region.
Down to earth and hard-working, Pauline has a wealth of experience in terms of public representation.
The daughter of late Sinn Féin councillor John Davey, assassinated by a loyalist death squad in 1989, she had first-hand and early experience of threatening phone calls, intimidating letters, and crown force harassment.
At the age of 16, while her father was interned, Pauline started to show her own political teeth. She campaigned with her local Action Committee for political status on behalf of republican POWs. The Hunger Strike, and in particular, the deaths of her neighbours Francis Hughes and Thomas McElwee, had a profound effect on her. She organised round-the-clock demonstrations and won a number of court cases aimed at preventing her from taking part in such protests.
After her father's killing in 1989, Pauline was elected to fill his vacant seat on Magherafelt District Council. At such a dangerous time for Sinn Féin activists, she served for four years. As a voice for the people she demanded justice and equality and acted on the social issues neglected by other political representatives.
Pauline also polled strongly in the 1992 Westminster election and in 1996 was the Sinn Féin candidate in the area for the Forum elections.
In her current campaign, Pauline is drawing attention to the ongoing sectarian attacks and intimidation of nationalists in County Antrim.
One of her biggest strengths is her extensive background in the community sector. Through the years, Pauline has campaigned for welfare rights projects, organised benefit take-up plans for the elderly and disabled and promoted issues around women and childcare.
Coming from a traditional farming family, she is particularly interested in rural development. In Toome, the issues of pollution, traffic congestion and lack of leisure and recreative facilities are also high on her list of priorities.
The Sinn Féin election campaign this week received a boost after the Department for Regional Development announced that the long-awaited Toome bypass would go ahead. Sinn Féin has actively campaigned on the issue, drawing up its own survey and reports.
``This bypass is the result of years of campaigning and efforts by Sinn Féin in order to ensure the diversion of dense traffic away from the town, but also better road safety and an end to the problems linked with the pollution caused by a daily flow of 19,000 cars,'' said Pauline Davey-Kennedy.
She said that Sinn Féin would continue to lobby to ensure that ``the bypass proposals satisfy the needs of the local population and that the work does effectively go ahead''.