Uruemu Adejinmi, a Nigerian immigrant, has been elected as Mayor of Longford County Council, marking a collection of firsts for the county. She is the primary migrant, first African and first black feminine to turn out to be Mayor.
Ms Adejinmi’s election as Cathaoirleach of Longford Municipal District additionally makes her the nation’s first feminine African Mayor.
Her journey into politics started in 2016 when she supported a candidate in an area election. Shortly afterwards, her neighbour requested her to affix Fianna Fáil.
“At that stage, I became very active. I was going to meetings and fundraisers, travelling to Dublin for the convention and getting involved in every way possible,” she stated.
In 2018, she undertook an internship with the Immigrant Council of Ireland, shadowing Joe Flaherty whereas he was an area councillor. In 2020, Mr Flaherty turned a T.D. and Ms Adejinmi was co-opted to his seat.
Ms Adejinmi stated she was “deeply honoured” to take over as Mayor this yr following a unanimous election.
“There’s a huge silo in getting information across to diverse community groups, so it’s been amazing having that link to council offices to share information to migrants to help them to get access to services and support,” she informed The Irish Times.
There are obstacles to migrants turning into concerned in politics, notably in additional rural areas, Ms Adejinmi stated. The most important impediment has been getting extra migrants onto the electoral register.
“I speak from a Nigerian perspective and one big issue in that regard is there isn’t a great trust with the police force. People are reluctant or not willing to engage with the police unless they have to because of experiences back home.”
That cultural angle “takes time for people to get around”, she stated.
Political events ought to “engage more actively” with migrants, as most do not see it as an space open for them to turn out to be concerned in, she stated.
“There is no shortage of talent in the migrant community but there is a shortage of community leaders from migrant backgrounds.”
“If it weren’t for my neighbour asking me to join his party, I wouldn’t have considered politics,” she stated. Getting to work, integrating into the group and nurturing her kids have been Ms Adejinmi’s priorities till she was instantly approached about getting concerned.
She stated her key priorities are jobs and housing.
“I am hoping to lobby for an influx of industry. Hopefully, businesses will take a look at starting in Longford and that would help a lot of people who are leaving or commuting because of the lack of jobs.”