Independent councillor Gerry Flynn has been unanimously elected Cathaoirleach of the Shannon Municipal District at its annual general meeting last week having been proposed by Cllr PJ Ryan and seconded by Cllr John Crowe.
Outgoing chairman Cllr Mike McKee “thoroughly enjoyed” his year, and added that five years ago he never thought he would have been in that position. Possibly because he accepted the ex-gratia payment for retiring councillors offered by the Government in 2009.
Cllr McKee claimed that his had been “a good year for Shannon”. His rather short list of accomplishments consisted of funding for a new town park and financing Duchas na Sionna’s work at Shannon Wetlands.
Funding for a new town park had actually been sourced during Cllr John Crowe’s year in office. The future of the project is now uncertain after the main contractor entered administration.
McKee surrendered the chairman’s position with Shannon Town in rag order and management of the public green areas out of control. Weed-spraying was non-existent and grass was left uncut for many months, growing up to 3 foot high. Eventually when the mowers did move in, grass and weed cuttings were left rotting on footpaths, causing a hazard for vulnerable people.
As a former member of Shannon Tidy Towns committee, this was unacceptable for Cllr Gerry Flynn who sought support from colleagues on Clare County Council to allocate additional resources to the Gardening Section for proper maintenance of green infrastructure throughout the county.
In his acceptance speech at the annual general meeting, Cllr Flynn acknowledged that it was an honour to be unanimously elected Cathaoirleach by his peers and he paid tribute to the council’s three political groupings for honouring commitments made at the time of the 2014 election.
Mentioning the recent boundary commission report, he said this extends the Shannon Municipal District to the village of Clonlara and also proposes the inclusion of a seventh councillor.
Welcoming the new constituents to the Shannon MD, Cllr Flynn said that if re-elected in 2019, he looks forward to serving all the people of the district.
Cllr Flynn acknowledged the support of his family for standing by him throughout a life in politics. “I couldn’t do what I do without my family’s support and understanding,” he said.
As he looks forward to a constructive year in office, Cllr Flynn said he will work to encourage Clare County Council to refocus on properly resourcing the Shannon Municipal District.
He cited his motion at the June meeting of Clare County Council calling for additional resources for the local authority’s gardening section in which he noted that Ennis has deservedly won many awards including a designation as the cleanest town in Ireland.
Cllr Flynn commented, “It used to be that Shannon Development focused a lot of attention on the green infrastructure in Shannon as this is something that makes our town unique.
“We may not have a main street in Shannon but we have a large green infrastructure which was once maintained to a high standard by Shannon Development. This is something which I hope the council will address urgently.”
Rejecting a suggestion by Cllr Cathal Crowe that he should “informally” adopt the title ‘Mayor of Shannon’ during his year in office, Cllr Flynn noted that the new structures established under the Local Government Reform Act of 2014 states that the official title is Cathaoirleach for chairman and Leas Cathaoirleach for deputy chairman.
When he was elected as the first Cathaoirleach of the new Shannon Municipal District in 2014, Cllr Crowe had proposed spending €3,000 on a mayoral chain. By law, Ennis is the only municipal district in Clare that is entitled to elect a mayor.
Cllr Gerry Flynn concluded his remarks by congratulating the Clare senior hurlers on a great achievement in qualifying for the final of this year’s Munster Championship.
The new Cathaoirleach was very pleased to be among the full house at Cusack Park recently cheering the team on to victory over Limerick.