South Tipperary closed another chapter in its long and storied history on Friday, when it held its last ever meeting in the Town Hall.
Cathaoirleach Jimmy O’Brien welcomed members and staff , past and present, to the Chamber saying their presence added enormously to the occasion. He welcomed the longest surviving former member Colm O’Donnell, who was elected to the Cahir Electoral Area back in the 1950’s. The first meeting of South Tipperary County Council took place on April 5th 1899. Cllr O’Brien said he was privileged to follow in the footsteps of the 57 Chairpersons who have held the position before him.
“Past and present members have played their part to ensure this County was well served,” he added. Leas Cathaoirleach Tom Acheson then spoke followed by the respresentatives of all the major parties and Independents: Siobhán Ambrose (FF), Liam Ahearne (FG), Seanie Lonergan (Labour) Eddie O’Meara (Inds) and Pat English (WUAGS). The oldest serving member Jack Crowe bid an emotional farewell, while Cllr Michael Fitzgerald, elected in 1979, said it was the end of something “which worked so well.” Every Councillor had helped to shape one of the “the most successful Counties in Ireland”.
County Secretary John O’Mahony was honoured with a glass vase as a token of appreciation for his hard work over the years. First employed by the Council in April 1975, Mr O’Mahony rose through the ranks to the most senior administrative levels.
“Many things have been said about John,” said Cllr O’Brien. “His advice to all the Councillors over the years has been second to none. Many people read that Council officials and executive members are at loggerheads: my experience on the Council has been the exact opposite to that. And a lot of that is down to John O’Mahony. The work that John does for South Tipperary is the reason why it works so smoothly. It’s always great to darken his door and seek his sound advice.” A Killenaule native, Mr O’Mahony is retiring this year. Mr O’Mahony regaled guests with some colourful anecdotes from his experiences down the years, and said he hoped the good relationship between Councillors and staff will continue under the new amalgamated Tipperary Council.
Mr O’Mahony paid tribute to two Councillors who died while serving in this term of office, the late Cllrs Michael Anglim and Catherine McLoughlin.