No marks for respect

A Breaffy Man in Castlebar
edwin-mcgreal_full_290

No marks for respect



Edwin McGreal

We’re going to talk about something a small bit serious this week.
Not the most important matter you’ll ever read but something worth discussing all the same.
Those of you used to rolling around laughing at my efforts (hello, you two) will just have to wait until next week.
No, this week we’re going to talk about something of a serious bent. And slightly sensitive too.
The last three meetings of Castlebar Town Council have been adjourned as marks of respect to recently deceased people in the town who either worked with the council or were prominent figures in the town.
The April monthly meeting was adjourned in full as a mark of respect to former Town Clerk Seán Smyth, a man who did tremendous work for the town and, later, the county of Mayo in his role as CEO of the County Mayo Enterprise Board. However on the date that meeting was re-convened for, later that month, it, too, was adjourned early.
This time the memory of three very well-known and popular locals - Tony McHugh, Mick Ruane and Donie Murphy. All three left a legacy of their own and so another council meeting was adjourned early.
And we moved onto the May meeting, which was adjourned half an hour early in memory of the late town council solicitor, Ann McEllin, who was rightly praised for her contribution over the years to council affairs.
Not for one minute do I wish to disrespect the memory of people honoured in this way. But the simple question remains - is adjourning meetings as a mark of respect a suitable remembrance?
It is the council way of doing things in this county. At Town Council and County Council level over the years, many is the meeting which has been adjourned as a mark of respect.
But is someone’s memory truly being served by deferring council business? Would people who had worked hard to make progress in the county be pleased that the local authority chose to delay progress?
Let’s face it - progress at local authority level can be slow at the best of times. The councils meet once a month for a couple of hours. We’re not saying that’s not enough - once a month sitting through a meeting is plenty for any journalist, thank you very much.
But we’ve now had the situation where the April and May meetings of Castlebar Town Council have been incomplete. And, make no mistake, the town lost great people these last few weeks. These people helped to make Castlebar what it is today.
Surely slowing down town council business isn’t a fitting tribute. There are infinite other ways to honour their memory. We think it’s time the council got creative and honoured the memory of great servants of the town in a proper manner.