FINE Gael’s Cllr Michael C Ryan made history in Templemore last week when he took over as Mayor of the town for the next six months. Under a deal with his colleague, Cllr Maura Byrne, both councillors had agreed to share this year’s mayoralty. It is the first time that such an agreement was made on Templemore Town Council. Cllr Byrne served as Mayor from last June, and Cllr Ryan will now hold office until June 2013.
The Mayor, who works for Centenery Store, Thurles, told the gathering he was “honoured and humbled” to stand before the council as Mayor until next June.
“Being Mayor brings with it not only honour but also responsibility and service, not only to Templemore Town Council, but also to the people of this great town. I will make myself available to everyone every way I can,” he said.
The new Mayor said he intended to visit as many voluntary groups and schools as possible during his term in recognition of the work they do and also to applaud people who go about their daily business of helping people without looking for any awards or adulation.
Referring to the current economic state, Mayor Ryan said: “The last few years have been challenging for everyone in this town. Whether you are a business that is finding it tough or one that has closed down. Whether you are a person or family finding it hard to survive or you have lost your job or you have had to emigrate, my heart goes out to each and everyone of you. There are groups and organisations out there to help every single one of you. Please avail of them.”
He paid special tribute to his wife, Fran, and children, Shane and Edward, for “putting up with me and always having to give up their time with me so I can do my council work”.
He also paid tribute to his parents for introducing him to politics through their discussions at home.
Mayor Ryan, who suffers a slight speech impediment, also thanked the McGuire Programme and the Irish Stammerers Association,saying: “I wouldn’t be where I am today if you hadn’t given me the help, support and advice I needed. Without them I would not be able to say two words.”
The association was represented at the council meeting.
Paying tribute to outgoing Mayor Cllr Maura Byrne, he said: “I would like to thank most sincerely Cllr Maura Byrne for her unselfish decision to share her year of being Mayor of Templemore with me. This has never been done in Templemore before and I will always be eternally grateful to her.” He congratulated Cllr Byrne on her “very memorable and successful six months as Mayor”, saying she had carried out her duties “responsibly” and with “dignity”.
“She did, indeed, handle all challenges and situations with remarkable coolness and leadership, especially in relation to the Lake Committee and the town square. Her ability to access situations and make decisions is second to none,” he said.
Mayor Ryan also thanked town clerk Tom McGrath; town manager Karl Cashen; town engineer John Jones, the office staff, town foreman Alex Cummins and his outdoor staff and the town traffic warden for the way they carry out their work. He also thanked his fellow councillors for “facilitating this unique and historic occasion”.
And referring to the presence of county manager Joe MacGrath, he said: “It shows how important Templemore is in North Tipperary, and we appreciate you coming. We are a great council and a great example of council.”
In another unusual touch, Mayor Ryan welcomed everybody and wished everybody a Happy Christmas and Happy New Year not only through Irish but he also wished the town’s French Premhilat the same in French and Templemore’s Italian twin Potenza Picena all the best in Italian.
He thanked his employer, Centenary Thurles for supporting him as well as the committee, management and staff members.
Mayor Ryan was congratulated on his election by his colleagues on the council as well as the executive, with county manager Mr MacGrath saying: “I am delighted to be here to witness history being made. It is a huge honour to be elected First Citizen of your town.”
He also congratulated Cllr Byrne on her term in office.