Uruemu Adejinmi has become the first African-Irish woman to be elected as a mayor in Ireland. The Fianna Fáil councillor has been elected Cathaoirleach of the Longford Municipal District, where she sits as Leas Cathaoirleach, thejournal.ie reports.
Adejinmi said in a statement that she was “deeply honored” to assume the new position. “This is a historic day for Longford and I am delighted to share this moment with my family and friends. I look forward to working with my council colleagues, council exec and all stakeholders to continue the growth and development of our municipal area and county,” she added.
Adejinmi migrated from Nigeria to Longford, Ireland in 2003. “I identity as Irish, I identify as African, I wear both hats with confidence and with comfort,” she said.
Her focus soon after getting to Longford was how to get to work, take care of her children while integrating into the community. In 2016, however, she entered into politics when she supported a candidate in a local election. Soon, her neighbor asked her to join Fianna Fáil, a conservative and Christian-democratic political party in Ireland.
“If it wasn’t for my neighbor asking me to join his party, I wouldn’t have considered politics,” she told The Irish Times.
“At that stage, I became very active. I was going to meetings and fundraisers, traveling to Dublin for the convention and getting involved in every way possible,” she said.
Joining Fianna Fáil in 2016, Adejinmi became a councillor last year. A former executive officer at the Department of Health, she has a Masters of Business Administration from Athlone Institute of Technology.
Highlighting the challenges faced by migrants who attempt to get involved in politics, Adejinmi urged political parties to “engage more actively” with migrants, adding that, “there is no shortage of talent in the migrant community but there is a shortage of community leaders from migrant backgrounds.”
The new mayor told RTÉ Radio One’s Drivetime that when she entered politics, she started actively engaging with her friends, encouraging them and making them aware of the advantages of getting more politically active. “…We talk about issues in terms of getting access to work, getting equal opportunity, and government is where policy is decided upon, where legislation is drawn up,” Adejinmi said.
“This is where we can really try to start influencing things to make sure that when policies are being rolled out, when regulations are being made, every aspect of society is being catered for.”
She said her attitude is, “if there’s an issue, get in there and fix it.”
Now elected mayor, 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.”
Fianna Fáil reports that Adejinmi’s appointment marks a series of firsts for Longford, as she is the first migrant, the first African and the first Black female to become Mayor of Longford.