Clarecastle native Paul Murphy (Fine Gael) was unanimously elected Mayor of Ennis by his colleagues in the Ennis Municipal District and takes over from independent councillor Ann Norton who assumes the role of Deputy Mayor.
Changes made in the 2014 Local Government Act mean that Cllr Murphy is the only local authority member in County Clare who can legitimately be called Mayor. The Act stipulates that some named cities and Municipal Districts which include a town of at least 20,000 may decide to use the titles Mayor and Deputy Mayor.
Family friends and neighbours were present in the chamber to hear Mayor Murphy give his acceptance speech and acknowledge the huge honour he has been granted to represent his community as Mayor. Having served as Leas Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council for the preceding 12 months, Mayor Murphy said he is looking forward to serving the Municipal District of Ennis.
The new mayor acknowledged the role played by his predecessor, Ann Norton, who he said was “a fantastic ambassador for this Municipal District, for the town of Ennis and for the elected members”.
A proud Clarecastle heritage came to the fore when he recalled that the fishing village was once the capital of Clare. “I think there is some sense of historical irony in the fact that a Magpie has been elected to the office of Mayor of Ennis,” he joked.
Murphy is delighted to assume on the role of Mayor at a time when very positive things are happening in Ennis and surrounding areas. “Ennis,” he said, “continues to thrive as a centre of commercial activity, and I believe its fortunes from a business perspective have a direct impact on the social and economic prosperity of the wider Municipal District.”
He hopes to make Ennis and its outlying villages attractive locations to invest in and wants to work with the local business community to generate new ideas like the recent €1 parking charge to increase footfall.
Fortunately Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is being hosted once again this year in Ennis. From a tourism perspective, Cllr Murphy said the Fleadh has put Ennis on the map as a visitor destination, and he is looking forward to welcoming thousands of people to the town in mid-August.
Mayor Murphy insisted that communities must not take their eye off the ball and must continue working together to address social and economic challenges, while at the same time capitalising on all opportunities that are presented. The new Mayor thanked his colleagues for the opportunity to represent the wider community in Ennis and surrounding area.