“HANG ‘em high!” was the cry that went up at the recent Portlaoise Town Council meeting, in relation to the ongoing dilemma of securing a space in County Hall to display photographs of past mayors.
Cllr Kathleen O’Brien has been trying for months to get Laois County Council to agree to a suitable location within the council building to hang the photographs, and at the recent meeting town clerk Susan Rooney informed the councillor that an area has been provisionally identified.
Cllr O’Brien remarked that the area must be permanent and she said she would only be satisfied when she saw where it was.
Cllr Willie Aird pointed out that town councils will become defunct in 2014 under the reform of local government and he asked whether the photos would be taken down then.
“Over my dead body,” retorted Cllr O’Brien.
Cllr Aird suggested that instead of just hanging pictures of past mayors they should consider putting up group photos of past town councils.
“I feel that many people past and present, for various reasons and usually for political reasons, were never cathaoirleach. Group photos give everybody an opportunity,” he said, adding: “It didn’t make them lesser public representatives.”
Cllr Aird asked from what date in the town’s history would the photographs begin, to which Susan Rooney replied it was intended to begin from the formation of the town council in 2001.
“Many, many of them are dead,” Cllr Aird pointed out.
“This has to be done properly.”
Cllr Rotimi Adebari suggested hanging both group pictures and individual shots of the mayors, going as far back as was possible. Cllr Aird questioned how practical this would be in terms of space.
“Where are you going to get the accommodation for 100 photos?” he asked.
“Hang ‘em high,” suggested Cllr Caroline Dwane.
“I propose you hang Kathleen (O’Brien) and leave it at that,” joked Cllr Aird.