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Outgoing Cathaoirleach’s long tenure in politics praised


TAKING OVER Fianna Fáil councillor Brendan Mulroy is pictured with members of his extended family after he was elected Cathaoirleach of the West Mayo Municipal District last week.

Michael Holmes to retire ahead of next year local elections

Áine Ryan

THE option for the outgoing Cathaoirlaeach of West Mayo Municipal District, Michael Holmes (Independent) to run in either of the newly drawn boundaries in the areas of Westport and Erris was mooted humourously at last week’s AGM. Cllr Holmes, however, confirmed he would be retiring from local politics after next year’s elections. He was succeeded in the role of Cathaoirleach, without a contest, by Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Brendan Mulroy, with Independent Cllr Christy Hyland appointed as Leas-Cathaoirleach.
Speaking about his long tenure as a county councillor, Cllr Holmes said: “When I hand over the chain today [to Brendan Mulroy], it will be my last time to wear it, unless I am put in handcuffs! We have worked together well and, at the end of the day, always came up with some compromise.”
Cllr Holmes also thanked the council staff who he said ‘were fantastic’ and the media for their fairness.   
“There is always a shortage of money for the general public but I hope we represented them well.”
In a litany of praise for his stewardship, Cllr Mulroy noted his tenacity in coming back from losing out in one election (1999) by one vote; Cllr Tereasa McGuire (FG) praised his ‘fairness, respect and decency’ and leadership; Cllr Christy Hyland (Ind) noted that while ‘delicate negotiations were ongoing over the purchase of Westport House he had always remained calm’; Cllr Paul McNamara recalled his generosity of spirit after he lost out to Frankie Leneghan by the above-mentioned one vote, the first bonfire the victory cavalcade encountered was one lit by Holmes in Tiernaur; Cllr Gerry Coyle (FG) said he had ‘served with distinction’ and ‘never wavered during some very tough meetings’.
Speaking on behalf of the county council, Ms Catherine McConnell said Cllr Holmes had always dealt with matters in ‘a pleasant, good-humoured and kind manner’.

Cathaoirleach’s chain
HANDING over the chain to Cllr Brendan Mulroy, Cllr Holmes  said: “And I don’t want it back.”
Thanking everyone, the incoming Cathaoirleach said: “It was a proud day for the Mulroy family, particularly my brother, Paddy, who had received a silver medal in the Special Olympics, something that I will never achieve.”
Continuing, he said: “This will be an interesting year with the [upcoming] boundary changes and while I have a list of priorities, I will outline them as they arise at meetings.”
He said it would be ‘remiss’of him not to mention the late Neill O’Neill, former Managing Editor of The Mayo News, who was ‘a consummate reporter’ of West Mayo council meetings and noted he would have been right in the middle of celebrations that night.