There was reason to celebrate at this week’s meeting of the Athlone Municipal District as Cllr John Dolan resumed his place around the chamber table.
Cllr Dolan suffered a cardiac arrest back in July, collapsing on his farm in Ballinahown and being rushed to Galway University Hospital. He was put into an induced coma for a number of weeks before his eventual recovery.
At Monday’s meeting, journalists and councillors took turns in welcoming back someone who is greatly respected by all who know and work with him.
Mayor Aengus O’Rourke said he is delighted to see Cllr Dolan back in the chamber.
“To hear that laugh that we all have become so accustomed to is wonderful,” he said. “Everywhere we went people were asking us ‘how is John Dolan?’, from politicians to the media and people on the street.”
Cllr Dolan thanked everyone who wished him and his family well during the last few months. He said he is aware of the numerous Masses that were celebrated for his return to health. The several hundred bouquets of flowers delivered to his home let him know just how many people were wishing him well.
Cllr Dolan paid special tribute to his family, for whom he said the entire incident was a “terrible fright”.
In his typical fashion, Cllr Dolan joked: “They have had a rough time; it was okay for me lying down in Galway dreaming away.”
He added he has been anxious to return to work, before thanking all who have helped him and his family through what was a very difficult period