Leinster Express Times Past January 2003, Mayor wants to know his powers

“I have nothing to say about the man wearing the chain of Laois County Council, but from what I know the Major of Laois governs Laois”.

“I have nothing to say about the man wearing the chain of Laois County Council, but from what I know the Major of Laois governs Laois”.

Mayor Joe McCormack of Portlaoise does not know what are his “functions, duties and entitlements.”

At a Town Council meeting, he asked for clarification on the matter. He explained: “I have a chain that is a ceremonial chain. But now under the new local government structures, this chain is demoted to second place. It has been superseded by the chain of Laois County Council.”

He went on: “I have nothing to say about the man wearing the chain of Laois County Council, but from what I know the Major of Laois governs Laois.

“I have not been asked to officiate at functions in Portlaoise and have not been allowed to do that as all function are carried out the Mayor and chain of Laois County Council.”

Mayor McCormack said all the reference books indicated the mayoral office related to a town or municipality, not to a county.

He stressed: “The Mayor of the town should be able to officiate officially at functions in the town.”

Cllr Tom Jacob: “You are the first citizen of the town of Portlaoise and you are entitled to wear te chain of office. You should meet the County Manager and demand of him what your duties are.”

Cllr Brian Stanley was very disappointed that Mayor McCormack hadn’t taken up the offer to speak at the recent official opening of the Riverview housing estate in Portlaoise.

Mayor McCormack: “You have completely misunderstood what I’ve said. I am talking about being refused to officiate officially at functions when I am asked to do so.”

Cllr Stanley: “But you were asked to speak at the function (Riverview opening).”

Mayor McCormack: “I do not have to speak to represent the people of the town.”

Town Clerk Niall Morrissey: “Riverview was opened by the Mayor of the county because housing is a function of the County Council. The Mayor of Portlaoise was invited to speak.”

Cllr Stanley: “And refused.”

Mayor McCormack: “Because my chain of office was superseded.”

Cllr Kathleen O’Brien: “In future, we expect you (Mayor McCormack) to speak at any function we are at. I was disappointed at the opening of the houses that you were not wearing the chain.”