Fiona O’Loughlin has been Mayor of Kildare, a county councillor, teacher, volunteer and a community activist for many years. And the thing that drives her forward is getting a better deal for the people of her beloved county Kildare.
As the eldest of eleven children, Fiona grew up learning that there is a lot of give and take in life. As a young girl Fiona was actively involved in the community, from the local youth club to fundraising for the Community centre. It was no surprise that she eventually became involved in politics following in the footsteps of her father Jimmy and her grandfather Joe O`Loughlin who was in the very first Kildare Co. Council all the way back in 1898. Fiona was elected to the Seanad in April 2020.
College & Working Life
In 1983, Fiona started teaching in Scoil Mhuire Junior in Newbridge where she immediately got involved in Newbridge community life, volunteering with the Newbridge scouts, Tops of the Town and the Samaritans. Her years of experience in the irish educational system and of dealing with our youth in general has given her a huge insight into the hopes, aspirations and uncertainties of young people and their families.
Since 2000, Fiona has worked full time with charitable organisations, first with People In Need and now with Special Olympics, where she put together a national scheme that saw towns and villages all over Ireland host delegations of athletes with intellectual difficulties from 177 countries for the 2003 World Games, held in Ireland for the first time. She was especially proud that Newbridge, her base now for three decades, won the award for Best Host Town for the love and welcome they bestowed on the Japanese delegation.
Following the hugely successful games, Fiona developed the legacy programme which has helped develop 420 Special Olympic clubs across Ireland, including 3 in Kildare. She now works with other European countries to develop their programmes and lobbies on behalf of people with intellectual disabilities to the European parliament and commission., and has helped secure grants totalling €13.5 million for Special Olympics Games and events all over Europe.
Working For People Is Fionas Passion
Fiona was very proud to be elected to Newbridge Town Commission in 1994, her first bite at the political cherry. She was subsequently re-elected in 1999, and was also elected to Kildare Co. Council on the same day, and again in 2004, 2009 and 2014. She was delighted to represent her country at the emerging young leaders forum (set up by Senator Ted Kennedy) on a number of occasions in Washington and Belfast. Fiona has also represented the people of Kildare and Ireland on the Committee of the Regions and delivered a key opinion on reform of the educational system.
Having topped the poll at the local elections in 2014, Fiona was elected Mayor of Kildare at the inaugural meeting of the new Council, a position which she greatly enhanced over the last 12 months. She lives in the Great Southern, Newbridge.