“This is a complete erosion of local democracy, and the abolition of the Seanad as well. It seems it is being flippantly thrown away for the sake of a few bob. We will go down in history as the generation who didn’t fight hard to keep it, it will be missed when it’s gone,” so said a passionate Marc Connolly, Mountmellick town councillor.
He was speaking as the council began their final AGM last Thursday, June 13.
“It’s a sad day for democracy,” agreed Cllr Ollie Payne.
“If poor Pat (Bowe) was here he’d be saying the same,” he added.
Cllr Bobby Delaney sent his good wishes to Cllr Michael Gormley, who missed the meeting due to illness.
The council held a minute’s silence for the late Cllr Pat Bowe, who died during his tenure as Cathaoirleach last January.
Cllr Rosemary Whelan who had filled his shoes until the AGM, recalled Cllr Bowe’s pride in being elected chairman, and paid tribute to all who had served on the council since its inception in 1854.
“We may have fought and quarrelled but at heart we were all working for the good of the town,” she said.
Cllr Paddy Bracken and Cllr Rosemary Whelan were both proposed as the final cathaoirleach, with Cllr Bracken gainingthe most votes.
He noted that Mountmellick politicians Oliver J Flanagan, Charles Flanagan and John Moloney all had cut their teeth in the TC.
“There has been wonderful work done over the years for the betterment of Mountmellick. The public won’t miss it till it is gone.
I look forward to working with you for the 12 months that are left, we have a lot of issues to address,” he said.
Cllr Bowe’s Labour party replacement, Cllr Lisa Delaney, was unanimously elected leas cathaoirleach, in her first and final year as a town councillor.
159 years of local government representation comes to an end next year when town and county councils will be abolished, to be replaced by three municipal districts across Laois.