THE enhancement of Templemore town square was a “huge achievement”, according to outgoing Mayor Cllr Maura Byrne. “It was done with the minimum of inconvenience and it is a pleasure to see it lit up,” she told councillors as she ended her six-month stint as Templemore’s First Citizen. Cllr Byrne said she was now looking forward to the next part of the square being done in the near future.
The Fine Gael councillor was elected Mayor in June but under an agreement she made with fellow councillor Michael C Ryan, she relinquished the post in December. Cllr Ryan will now assume the role for the next six months.
She described the work carried out on the Town Park and the Lake Project as her “big baby” and said the park was “now the jewwel in our crown. Its whole appearance is beautiful and is a place to go an de-stress.”
While the cost was high, it was worth the investment, she said, and she was looking forward to the planting and levelling continuing.
She thanked all those who had been involved in the project - the Lake Project committee, Templemore Town Council and the North Tipperary Leader Partnership.
The outgoing Mayor revealed that the fountain in the lake will be switched on officially on Christmas Day following the Christmas Day swim.
Cllr Byrne also said that there were “some happy families this Christmas” who now had houses because of the increase in the town’s housing stock.
During her term, she repersentted the council at twinning events in Italy and at passing out parades in the Garda Training College.
Cllr Byrne thanked town clerk Tom McGrath; town manager Karl Cashen; town engineer John Jones, and all the office and outdoor staff at the council for their help and advice over the past six months. She also thanked the Tipperary Star for its reporting of council meetings and events.
Paying tribute to Mayor Byrne, party colleague and FG leader on the council Cllr Lily O’Brien said: “You had a difficult six months. You dealt with it with diplomacy and understanding and knew when to hold back.”
Cllr Mick Connell agreed that Cllr Byrne had to handle a number of “difficult projects, including the lake and the town square, but you were a driving force. I wouldn’t like to say ‘No’ to you and I mean that as a compliment.”
Cllr Joe Bourke also paid tribute and said that Cllr Byrne “had a bit of Clonmore area in you and it didn’t do you any harm”.
Cllr Valerie Young congratulated Mayor Byrne on a “job well done over the six months”, and wished her the best of luck coming back to sit with the rest of the councillors.
Deputy Mayor Cllr Martin Fogarty said Mayor Byrne was always available to help out, while Cllr Jim O’Shea said it had been a pleasure working with Mayor Byrne.
Town manager Karl Cashen described Mayor Byrne’s six months as successful, and said she had handled the position well and listened to everybody.
Town clerk Tom McGrath said: “You carried yourself with tremenduous aplomb. I want to compliment you on a wonderful six months.”
Seconding Cllr Michael Ryan’s nomination as Mayor, Cllr Byrne said it was a pleasure to hand the chain on to her cousin. Cllr Ryan was proposed by Cllr O’Brien.
The new Mayor thanked Cllr Byrne for her “unselfish decision to share her year of being Mayor of Templemore with me”.