Thurles based Tipperary County Councillor Seamus Hanafin was unanimously elected Chairman of the Templemore Thurles Municipal District Council this week and has pledged to do all in his power to help breathe life back into the town centres throughout the District.
With major work due to commence on the up-grade of Liberty Square in Thurles before the end of the year, Cllr Hanafin said that it is very important that everything possible should be done to ensure that the town centres of the District progress and are prosperous.
"There is a lot of talk about the economy being in recovery, but any business people I speak to talk of the second quarter of the year being very stagnant and I just think that there will be major challenges for us all because of Brexit and all that will go with it. We will have to ensure that we do all in our power to help make town centres viable and attractive for business. We need to be the driving force behind this," he said.
Mentioning the huge amount of work to be done by the council in terms of planning, housing and roads, Cllr Hanafin added that following the amalgamation of the North and South Tipperary County Councils and the disolving of the town councils, the role of the Municipal District is becoming more and more important, and that is becoming more evident as the term of the council moves on.
The Deputy Chairman position went to Cllr Eddie Moran who was proposed by Cllr Joe Bourke and seconded by Cllr Michael Smith.
Sinn Fein Councillor David Doran had been proposed for the position by Cllr John Hogan, who described it as 'a consolation prize' and this was seconded by Cllr Joe Bourke. However, Cllr Doran declined the position saying that he was “not into consolation prizes.” The proposal of Cllr Eddie Moran followed this impasse and Cllr Moran said that he was proud to serve as Deputy Chairman for the year term.
Very warm tributes were paid to the outgoing Chairman, Cllr Joe Bourke for his role and for the term of office he served. Councillors regarded him as a very efficient Chairman who was fair and straight in his dealings with them.
District Manager, Mr Matt Shortt also paid tribute to the outgoing Chairman and said that he had enjoyed many highlights during his year, mentioning especially, the bringing of the December meeting of the council to Clonmore - Cllr Bourkes home parish - and touching base with the local community.
Before departing the Chair, Cllr Bourke himself outlined a number of highlights of his time in the position listing the Civic Reception accorded to Our Lady's Templemore as winners of the Dr Harty and Croke Cups as the biggest honour - he had been a member of the previous Harty Cup winning team back in 1978 and to be able to celebrate the feats of the current team was indeed special, he said.
Cllr Bourke, who thanked all of the staff of the council and the members too for their co-operation during the year, also mentioned the opening of the Municipal District headquarters in Castle Avenue, Thurles and the commencement of the work on Templemore Fire Station as being other highlights - the new station will be opened in March, all going well, he said. (See page 23 for more on Cllr Bourkes comments in relation to Templemore.)
Cllr Hanafin comes in as Chairman of the District having already served as Caothaoirleach of Tipperary County Council - a role he carried out to great acclaim having travelled the length and breadth of County Tipperary. He is regarded as a very safe pair of hands at the helm and is very highly regarded in terms of the running of business at local authority meetings - his vast experience and knowledge of local government is a big asset in this regard, without a doubt.
Cllr Hanafin was congratulated by the members and by management as he accepted the position and took his place at the helm.