Councillors at Monday’s Municipal District Meeting wished Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran all the best in his absence, with the Athlone favourite having left the chamber to take his seat in the 32nd Dáil.
Councillor John Dolan (FG ) began proceedings by extending his congratulations to Mr Moran and wishing him well in his new role as deputy in Dáil Éireann.
Independent councillor Michael O’Brien, referred to him as “a worthy winner” in this election race. He said the win is testament to Boxer’s 17 years of service as a councillor and “hard graft” for the people of Athlone. Cllr O’Brien said it was a privilege to work alongside him and wished Boxer all the best for the future.
Fianna Fáil councillor Aengus O’Rourke said he is sure Boxer will work just as hard at national level as he has during his time as a councillor in Athlone.
Councillors also commended the efforts of Sinn Féin election candidate, Cllr Paul Hogan, who narrowly missed out on a seat, pushing established TD Willie Penrose all the way to the final count. Cllr O’Rourke remarked that Hogan’s campaign had been “a valiant effort” that only fell short “by a handful of votes”.
Cllr O’Rourke also praised the efforts of the count staff at Kenagh who spent a remarkable five days trawling through thousands of votes, including making two recounts. He paid particular mention to the manner in which returning officer Imelda Brannigan conducted herself throughout the entire process.
Cllr Hogan thanked everyone for their kind words and himself paid tribute to Boxer Moran. He said he had served with him for more than 12 years as a councillor and considered him a “very strong candidate” in the election, before passing on his best wishes to the Athlone man and his family.
The chamber seemed a little emptier in the absence of Boxer at Monday’s meeting. Quick with a joke, passionate about his constituents and locality, and with time for everyone he meets, it is fair to say that Boxer is a personality whose presence will be missed by all, both in and out of the chamber.