A LEADING member of the Muslim community in Limerick has promised to be a voice not only for the migrant community in the city but for all communities if he is successful in next year’s local election.
Abul Kalam Azad Talukder (50) has been selected by Fianna Fail to run in Limerick City West next May alongside Mayor James Collins, Cllr Sean Lynch, and former Young Munster rugby player Francis Brosnahan.
Known fondly as “Jackie”, the Bangladeshi father-of-two runs a number of local businesses and operates two taxis.
“Ireland and Limerick have been very good to me. They have given me a happy life. I want to be a voice not only for the migrant community, but also for everyone. We have to think about our children and their future,” he told the Limerick Post.
Abul came to Limerick in 2000 and first started work with Fianna Fail in 2004 as an aid to former Junior Minister Peter Power within the migrant community. His father was a politician in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and he is now hoping to make his own contribution by becoming the first Muslim elected to Limerick City and County Council.
The increase in rents across Limerick City and County is something Abul feels very strongly about.
“Rent is a huge issue. If two people are not working in a family it is very hard for them to be able to pay rent. My brother was paying €370 a month for an apartment in the city. Five years later, he is paying €800 for the same apartment”.
He wants to see the migrant community make great strides to integrate within their communities.
“I don’t want to see people just coming here to send money home. That’s not what we want. People need to be getting involved with local sports club, whether that is cricket or GAA. We want to see them integrating.”
Limerick Fianna Fail TD Willie O’Dea welcomed Abul’s selection for next year’s local election.
“There is a large non-Irish community in Limerick and it is important they integrate fully into society and one way to do this is to encourage participation in the political process. Abul has to be commended for putting himself forward and I wish him every success.
Limerick Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins also welcomed Abul’s selection.
“Limerick is now a multi-cultural society with a very large non Irish and non EU population living and integrated into our local communities. I’m delighted that Abul is going to stand for Fianna Fáil in next year’s local election. He is a leader from within his own community and has a very positive contribution to make,” he said.
Chairman of Fianna Fail’s Limerick City Branch, Alec Morrissey, also said he was delighted to see new candidates like Abul come forward to represent his own community and the people of Limerick.
“As I personally know Jackie, I look forward to working with him and all our candidates in the local election. We have some good people representing us,” he added.