Minutes of Annual General Meeting of Sligo County Council held on Friday 17th June 2022 at 10.00 am in The Council Chamber, County Hall, Riverside, Sligo
- Councillor Baker(R),
- Councillor Bree,
- Councillor Casserly,
- Councillor Clarke,
- Councillor Connolly,
- Councillor Fox,
- Councillor Gibbons,
- Councillor Gilroy,
- Councillor Healy,
- Councillor Maguire(R),
- Councillor Mullaney,
- Councillor Mulvey,
- Councillor O’Boyle,
- Councillor Queenan,
- Councillor Taylor,
(R) = participated in the meeting remotely
OFFICIALS IN ATTENDANCE:
- Martin Lydon, Chief Executive
- Jim Molloy, Director of Services
- Dorothy Clarke, Director of Services (C)
- Emer Concannon, A/Director of Services
- Jimmy O’Brien, A/Head of Information Systems
- Karen McMahon, IS Technical Support Officer
- John Moran, SEO Corporate Services
- Dorothy Gillen, Staff Officer
- Pauline Lavelle, Staff Officer
Apologies were received from Councillor MacSharry and Councillor O’Grady.
CATHAOIRLEACH COUNCILLOR PAUL TAYLOR:
The Cathaoirleach welcomed all in attendance, both in the Chamber and those attending virtually. The Cathaoirleach also welcomed Mr. Marc MacSharry, TD, to the meeting.
Before the official business of the meeting commenced, Councillor Taylor offered a brief reflection on his term as Cathaoirleach.
Serving as Cathaoirleach has been a privilege he will always cherish, an honour bestowed by his colleagues. He thanked them for their support and co-operation in the chamber over the past year.
Councillor Taylor thanked the Chief Executive, Martin Lydon and members of the Executive, and added that he enjoyed full co-operation at every level over the last year, and for this he will always be grateful.
Councillor Taylor also thanked the staff in Corporate Services for all their help during his term as Cathaoirleach. Councillors and staff have worked very well together inside and outside this Chamber, and have, Councillor Taylor believes, fulfilled their primary role in serving the people of County Sligo to the best of their ability. It has been an unusual year, with the gradual opening of our society following the Covid pandemic, and this was reflected in the increasingly busy calendar of events in recent months.
The Cathaoirleach outlined the many highlights and special moments during his term, including the Cathaoirleach’s Awards ceremony in December 2021 and, earlier this week, hosting a civic reception for the Sligo U 20 County Team on being crowned Connaught Champions.
But the over-riding memory from hosting receptions and attending events is the outstanding work being delivered throughout the county by our dedicated volunteers. The Cathaoirleach commended the volunteers and their invaluable contribution to their local communities. This Council has a hugely important role to support them in these endeavours, and this is a role that the members fulfill very well.
Councillor Taylor thanked his wife, Naomi, and his children, Robbie, Amelie, Freya and Charlie, for their patience and support.
Finally, Councillor Taylor wished the incoming Cathaoirleach every success and assured them of his full support for their term of office.
TRIBUTES TO OUTGOING CATHAOIRLEACH:
The Members paid tribute to Councillor Taylor for a successful year as Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council.
Among the tributes paid to the Cathaoirleach by his colleagues were that he had acted professionally and had been very fair to all parties, had carried out the business of conducting the meetings efficiently, to a very high standard in a difficult year. Members thanked Councillor Taylor for a job well done and said he had been an exemplary Cathaoirleach. He had shown integrity, patience and extraordinary ability in the carrying out of his duties in a balanced and fair manner. Under his leadership, this Council had completed its business in a timely and effective manner each month.
The Chief Executive, on his own behalf and on behalf of the Executive, said he wished to acknowledge all the work of the Cathaoirleach and added that he had undertaken the role with integrity and pride. The Executive has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Councillor Taylor during his term and he had made the Chief Executive feel very welcome when he joined Sligo County Council in the last year and had made his role as Chief Executive a lot easier. The respect that Councillor Taylor earned in the past year is clearly reflected in the comments of his colleagues here today.
In reply, the Cathaoirleach thanked all his colleagues for their comments and for all their support during his term as Cathaoirleach.
He added that he had found all his colleagues extremely accommodating at all times and it had been a pleasure and honour to serve as Cathaoirleach for the past year.
He also thanked the Chief Executive for his kind words and for all the support he had received from the Chief Executive during the year.
1. ELECTION OF CATHAOIRLEACH:
Proposed by Councillor J. Queenan
Seconded by Councillor D. Mulvey
“To elect Councillor Michael Clarke as Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council.”
Proposed by Councillor A. Gibbons
Seconded by Councillor G. O’Boyle
“To elect Councillor Thomas Healy as Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council.”
The proposers of both candidates for the position of Cathaoirleach set out their reasons for doing so and some of the work both Councillors had undertaken during their time on the Council.
A vote was called by the Cathaoirleach which resulted as follows:
FOR COUNCILLOR CLARKE: Councillor Baker, Councillor Casserly, Councillor Clarke, Councillor Connolly, Councillor Fox, Councillor Gilroy, Councillor Maguire, Councillor Mullaney, Councillor Mulvey, Councillor Queenan, Councillor Taylor and Councillor Walsh. (12)
FOR COUNCILLOR HEALY: Councillor Bree, Councillor Gibbons, Councillor Healy and Councillor O’Boyle. (4)
The Cathaoirleach deemed Councillor Clarke to be elected as Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council.
CATHAOIRLEACH COUNCILLOR MICHAEL CLARKE
The Cathaoirleach, Councillor Clarke, thanked his colleagues for their support on his nomination and thanked his proposer and seconder, Councillor Queenan and Councillor Mulvey. He also extended this thanks to the people of West Sligo for their support over the years, and for electing him to Sligo County Council since 2009. He owes a debt of gratitude to his constituents and added that their trust and loyalty to him is truly inspiring.
The Cathaoirleach welcomed his family to the Chamber, along with his friends and long-time team of supporters. He paid tribute to Councillor Taylor who led this Council for the past year with distinction and commended his great work in the past year in highlighting men’s mental health and speaking out on this important topic.
He also paid tribute to the Executive who, over the last thirteen years, he has come to know and respect so well and indeed, so many people in this organisation, who work every day to make this county a better place for its people and he looks forward to continuing this work in the years ahead.
The Cathaoirleach recalled retired members of staff, Bartley Gavin and Seamus O’Toole, and he also paid tribute to Tom Kilfeather and Jo-Anne McGonigle who have worked tirelessly for the Council and thanked them for all their help and support over the years.
He remembered councillors he served with who are no longer with us, Councillor Gerry Murray, Councillor Patsy Barry, Gino’s father Seamie O’Boyle who he knew for forty years, and his mentor and former colleague Councillor Margaret Gormley who will never be replaced.
The Cathaoirleach fondly recalled his parents and paid tribute to their love of life, God and their children, and credited them for his work ethic and his love of farming and animals. He spoke of his love for the cattle industry, his time in the construction industry and in his public house in Dromore West. It is these experiences, he continued, that have given him the confidence to make decisions for the betterment of County Sligo.
It has been his privilege to be part of the Council to witness projects such as the major improvements to the N59, introduction of the CIS and LIS schemes and many important drainage and road maintenance programmes over the years.
The Cathaoirleach spoke of some of the motions he was privileged to be a part of over the years which subsequently became legislation, such as families of loved ones having an automatic right to an inquest, following the death of his dear friend Sally Rowlette in childbirth at the age of 36. Another motion to invite Dr Fergal Hickey consultant to speak to the Council and his presentation to the Council put a structure on health care in the northwest, that took politics out of health care.
Other initiatives put forward by Councillor Clarke included a scheme to take in charge rural roads and the Tenant Purchase Scheme, which was amended to a fairer scheme as a result of his representations to the Minister. He also played an active role in securing extra funding for Older Person’s Grants and paid tribute to the now retired Ms. Patricia Devins, who understood the value of these grants to those who received them.
The Cathaoirleach paid tribute to all the frontline workers who brought everyone through the pandemic. He said he looks forward to working with Mr. John Reilly in the Sligo Local Enterprise Office in the creation of local jobs. He also looks forward to working with and supporting the Chief Executive, Mr. Martin Lydon, who he described as a man of vision for this county.
He commended the three female councillors on the Council, Councillor Sinéad Maguire, Councillor Marie Casserly and Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady, people he holds in the highest regard and who, through their work, will inspire more women into politics.
The Cathaoirleach described Sligo as one of the best and most scenic places to live in the world and, with upcoming stars such as Mona McSharry, Keelan Kilrehill, Laura Cadden, Sligo Rovers, the Sligo Rugby team and Sligo GAA team, Sligo is truly blessed to have such inspiring talent.
One of his first appointments as Cathaoirleach Councillor Clarke noted, will be to speak at the 1916 Garden of Remembrance in Banada, to honour the men and women who died in the 1916 Rising, including Councillor Clarke’s cousin and civil war legend, Ms. Linda Kearns.
In conclusion, the Cathaoirleach stated that life is about being real, humble and kind and having faith in God, and he looks forward to serving the people of Sligo over the next year.
Members congratulated the Cathaoirleach on his election and particularly welcomed and acknowledged the presence of Councillor Clarke’s family at today’s meeting. The Members added that it is a proud day for the community of West Sligo to have one of its own elected as the first citizen of the county.
The Members wished the Cathaoirleach every success in the year ahead and agreed that Councillor Clarke will perform the role with honour, humility and diligence, and they assured him of their full support during the coming year. It was also stated during the Members’ tribute to Councillor Clarke that he will wear the County jersey with pride and move forward to serve the people of West Sligo and all of County Sligo passionately and that he will bring great skill to his role as Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council.
Chief Executive, Mr. Martin Lydon, joined with the Members in congratulating Councillor Clarke on his election as Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council, which is a proud day for Councillor Clarke, his family and the people in the West Sligo communities. Mr. Lydon added that Councillor Clarke can be assured of the help and support of the Executive and staff in every way during the coming year, and added that Councillor Clarke will be at the forefront in ensuring the the county delivers upon its regional growth status.
2. ELECTION OF LEAS-CATHAOIRLEACH:
Proposed by Councillor P. Taylor
Seconded by Councillor J. Queenan
“To elect Councillor Marie Casserly as Leas-Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council.”
The Leas-Cathaoirleach, Councillor Casserly, thanked her proposer and seconder, Councillor Taylor and Councillor Queenan for the nomination. Councillor Casserly pledged her support to the incoming Cathaoirleach, Councillor Clarke, during the year ahead.
The Members congratulated Councillor Casserly on her election as Leas-Cathaoirleach and wished her well in her role and assured her of their support over the coming year.
END OF MEETING:
The meeting concluded at 11.20 a.m.
Meeting Date 17/06/2022