“TOWNIES” - to use Cllr Kathleen O’Brien’s word - retained control of Portlaoise Town Council at its annual meeting last Friday, thanks to a continuing pact between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.
Elected Mayor was Cllr Matthew Keegan (FG), succeeding fellow local Cllr Jerry Lodge (FF). The Deputy Mayorship went to Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald (FF), who’s also a Portlaoise native.
The voting in both contests was five/four. The vanquished were the two Sinn Fein and two Independent Councillors. They had supported Cllr Alan Hand (SF) for Mayor, and Cllr Tom Jacob (Ind) for Deputy Mayor.
After returning thanks for his election, Mayor Keegan declared: “I was born and bred in Portlaoise and never lived anywhere else. I love Portlaoise.”
An associate with Jerry Fitzgerald auctioneers and an undertaker, he is serving his first term on the Town Council. He and his wife Marian have two children, Ashling and Cormac.
Reared at Market Square, where his parents, Betty and the late Peter Keegan, ran a thriving pub, Mayor Keegan was an accomplished hurler, winning seven senior championship medals with Portlaoise. He also donned the county jersey. He still is a sportsman. He currently holds the Captain’s prize at The Heath Golf Club.
“I am extremely honoured to have been elected to the Chair,” stated Mayor Keegan who promised to do his best for the people of Portlaoise. A strong advocate of local government, he vowed to strive tooth and nail to maintain the status of Town Councils.
At the start of the meeting, Cllr Lodge thanked everyone who had assisted him during his year in office.
Cllr Willie Aird (FG) proposed Cllr Keegan as Mayor; Cllr Fitzgerald seconded. Cllr Caroline Dwane (SF) proposed Cllr Hand; Cllr Jacob seconded.
In the election for Deputy Mayor, Cllr Lodge proposed Cllr Fitzgerald and Cllr O’Brien seconded. Cllr Rotimie Adebari (Ind) proposed Cllr Jacob and Cllr Hand seconded.
Cllr O’Brien thought it was nice to see two “townies” filling the top posts on the Town Council.