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27/07/2021

New Laois first citizen to bring 'dynamic energy and vision' IN PICTURES

Former Fine Gael Minister backs new council Cathaoirleach Conor Bergin from Borris-in-Ossory

At 27, Fine Gael's Conor Bergin from Borris-in-Ossory has become the youngest ever Cathaoirleach elected to Laois County Council.

Elected as a councillor in 2019, Cllr Bergin's rise was “meteoric” said Laois Council CEO John Mulholland, who said not to be surprised if he was asked for a birth cert at some point in the year ahead.

Cllr Bergin said he got a taste for politics after attending a council meeting 12 years ago while on work experience as a transition year student.

He went on to get a Masters in Public Policy, chaired Young Fine Gael in UCD. He has also worked for the then Minister Charlie Flanagan and now studies law.

SCROLL THROUGH THE PICTURES ABOVE

The Borris-in-Ossory Mountmellick Municipal District councillor said he was honoured to be elected. lHe listed his priorities as Cathaoirleach for the next year speaking on assuming the chain of office at the alternative venue for pandemic council meetings, the Dunamaise Arts Centre.

"My message for the people of Laois today is one of hope and optimism in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. I strongly believe that there is a bright future ahead for young people in County Laois in particular – as remote working hubs, regeneration of our rural towns and villages (like my own village in Borris-In-Ossory through the Rural Regeneration Fund), the delivery of high-speed broadband and housing, supported by our County Development Plan and the Just Transition Fund will be my main priorities for this coming year as Cathaoirleach," he said.

The sitting Laois Offaly Fine Gael TD Charlie Flanagan said Cllr Bergin would “bring energy and vision and be an excellent dynamic first citizen of our county”.

The new Cathaoirleach's father Ger, is well known locally as a retired Garda and his mother, Kathryn is a teacher and Deputy Principal in St. Joseph’s National School, Borris-In-Ossory where Conor was educated before attending Roscrea Community College.

He was elected by 14 votes to five, beating Independent Cllr Ben Brennan. Fianna Fáil Cllr John Joe Fennelly was elected Leas Cathaoirleach.

Cllr Bergin takes over from Fianna Fáil's Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald, who thanked all frontline staff as well as council staff for support in what she described as “an awfully difficult year”.

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