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Council Election 2017: East End (Ward 7)

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It is no exaggeration to say that what happens in the East End ward of Dundee over the next five years will shape the city for a generation or more.

Since plans for the V&A were first announced in 2007, most talk about Dundee’s future centred on the development of the museum and the waterfront area surrounding it.

But what happens at the Port of Dundee could have an even greater impact.

As part of the Tay Cities Deal, it is proposed to turn the port in the UK’s main hub for oil and gas decommissioning.

If successful, this could create thousands of skilled jobs in Dundee and deliver an almost unimaginable boost to the city’s economy in the process.

The city council is now working with the port and other private companies in a scheme called Dundeecom to bring decommissioning work to the city.

For voters in the East End, however, there are more immediate concerns.

The ward takes in a number of densely populated areas including Linlathen, Douglas and Craigie.

But they are also some of the poorest areas of Dundee.

The city’s Fairness Commission found the East End has the highest rate of child poverty in Dundee after housing costs.

More than one in three children (35%) live in child poverty in the East End.

And two-thirds of children live in areas ranked among the 15% most deprived in Scotland.

When it comes to the vote on May 4, the SNP will be confident in returning Will Dawson, the city development convener, and Christina Roberts, the current depute Lord Provost, to the City Chambers.

However, the third seat will be up for grabs.

It was previously held for Labour by Lesley Brennan, who was elected on the second count,  but she has decided to step down.

Margaret Richardson will be hoping to retain the seat for Labour but with nine candidates standing, it could be closer than the 2012 results might indicated.


Candidate profiles

The Courier invited each candidate to submit a short introduction to themselves and, if they wished, a video explaining why they deserve your vote.


Will Dawson (SNP)

Mr Dawson has been a councillor since 2003 and is the current city development convener of Dundee City Council.

He said: “I was born in Dundee and attended Mossgiel Primary School and Morgan Academy.

“After leaving school I went on to higher education, studying at Inverness College and working initially in the hospitality industry.

“I then went on to work for a major utilities company in a variety of roles. I became a councillor for the then East Port ward in 2003 and have been proud to represent the East End ward. where I live, since 2007.

“I have been the convener of the city development committee since the current administration was formed and find the challenges of running a very large department to be both interesting and varied.

“I will do what I can to ensure that Dundee continues to flourish.”


Ryan Finnegan (Lib Dem)

Ryan Finnegan is the Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for the East End.

He was born and bred in Douglas.

He has been a civil servant and says he knows the real issues the community faces and is passionate about local issues.

Mr Finnegan is involved with local youth football in the Douglas area, encouraging youngsters of all ages and abilities to become involved with sport.


Darryl Guthrie (independent)

Care worker Mr Guthrie said: “I was raised in Douglas and went to St Saviour’s High School.

“Over the last 10 years I have worked in the care sector and community development.

“I’ve chosen to stand as an independent because in a time when national politics focuses on individual differences, there has never been a more important time for communities to come together.

“That’s why my mission is to bring democracy back into local politics.

“For me that starts with councillors who make decisions based on those who voted for them and not on party allegiances.

“I’m proud of the East End and will represent the people who dare to challenge its negative image and want to make the community a better place to live.”


Darren Kane (Conservative)

Darren said: “I am delighted to have been selected, and will work hard for the people I represent should I be elected.

“Dundee has given me so much, and I just want to give something back.”

Darren works for a car dealership in Dundee as an accounts assistant and previously working for a publishing company in a similar role.

He enjoys wrestling events and visiting the cinema is his spare time.

Darren is also a published author and is currently working on his next piece.


Ian McKay (Dundee Against Cuts/TUSC)

Ian was born and raised in Kirkton and now lives in Douglas.

He said he has real knowledge of his community and its needs. As a mature student, he worked helping people struggling to get into the workplace.

Mr McKay said his career has given him an understanding of the social and environmental issues that affect people with mental health problems and disabilities.

He is a long serving campaigner for equality and justice.

Ian says he has an excellent understanding of the problems and pressures facing people from poorer backgrounds in education.

He said he is “100%” opposed to austerity and said further cuts in council budgets will mean less investment and support in areas that need it most.


Caitlin Meldrum (Green)

Ms Meldrum is originally from Falkirk and moved in 2014 to study at Dundee University. She now works in the city.

She said: “Although I may be younger than other candidates, I feel it is incredibly important to not only represent this demographic but to encourage other people my age to not only engage with their local politics but to go out and vote.

“I joined Scottish Greens in 2015 and became co-convener of the Dundee Green Branch in May 2016. I still hold this position today.

“I am also passionate about representing women in politics. Women are usually the most active contributors to our local communities, whether that’s taking children to the local park, nursery or school or looking after friends and relatives with care needs.”

Ms Meldrum said her priorities would be affordable, low-carbon housing, cheaper and more frequent bus services and protecting green spaces.


William Morren (UKIP)

No information has been provided


Margaret Richardson (Labour)

Ms Richardson is a Dundonian, who is an experienced chartered accountant specialising in public sector audit.

She is married with two grown up children.

She said: “I love Dundee and believe it can be a great city but we must say no more cuts and seek investment for our future.

“My knowledge and experience of finance and funding will be invaluable in challenging current policies of cuts and ensuring transparency and accountability.

“I look forward to being part of a Labour team that delivers real improvements for people in the East End.”


Christina Roberts (SNP)

The current depute Lord Provost, Ms Roberts has been a councillor since 2003.

She said: “I attended Mossgiel Primary and Linlathen High, and I’m a graduate of Abertay University.

“I am passionate about where I live in the East End and did voluntary work for the Summer Project there.

“I also joined the local residents group and the Round Table. This led to getting together with like-minded people to start a community council and become a community councillor.

“That gave me a good insight into what it would mean to become a city councillor and in 2003 I was elected.

“In 2012 I became depute lord provost of the City – which has been a fabulous experience.

“I am the fourth generation of my family to live in the East End Ward.

“The communities in the East End are all unique and families tend to stay as they have built friendships and value them.”