Dungannon Cllr swaps classroom for council chamber

Sinn Fein Cllr Deirdre Varsani
Sinn Fein Cllr Deirdre Varsani

AS a fluent Irish speaker who has recently taken steps to embrace the Ulster Scots language, a newly appointed councillor for Dungannon Town hopes the local community will see her as someone who is “approachable” and committed to the needs of all her constituents.

From Armagh originally and having taught in London and Cookstown, Councillor Deirdre Varsani of Sinn Fein has built up an impressive and varied portfolio of experience in the fields of education, special needs and sport.

Married with two teenage sons and living in Dungannon since 2000, Deirdre has a Degree in Politics and Irish Studies from Queen’s University Belfast, a PGCE from St Mary’s Teaching College, and a Masters in Education from King’s College London.

Add to that her involvement in the local community through camogie and Gaelic football - as well as a role on the Policing and Community Safety Partnership - the new councillor has certainly immersed herself in the town she calls home.

She told the TIMES her “first love” was politics but that, after graduating from university in the 1980s, the industry was not an option for employment for her at that time.

The former Vice Principal of Holy Trinity Primary School in Cookstown, continued: “I had always imagined

being a teacher when I was younger so that was the path I chose.

“I retired as Vice Principal of Holy Trinity PS two years ago and since then I have been a housewife, which I have really enjoyed because it means I have been able to spend time with my family.

“I felt that with the elections coming up in May, now would be the time to get involved as a councillor.

“I will be replacing Cllr Larry McLarnon who is still a great friend to us and who has served all of the community and beyond with excellent talent, integrity and commitment.”

Cllr Varsani said she hopes people will see her as approachable and helpful to the entire local community.