As the elected Councillors convened for the inaugural meeting of the Athlone Moate Municipal District in the Civic Centre on Monday afternoon, a recurring theme of ‘team spirit’ reigned prevalent within the Chamber.
With nine elected representatives now sitting at the elected representative table, two of whom, Cllr. Louise Heavin and Cllr. Jamie Moran, are tasting local authority life for the first time, Councillors from the previous five year term of office stressed upon the need to progress developments presently ongoing in Athlone and throughout the vast geographical area which the new reconfigured District now covers.
Cllr. Aengus O’Rourke welcomed the new elected representatives to the Chamber, hailing the “ team approach” of the previous Municipal District in advancing the cause of Athlone at “every opportunity”.
“Despite our party allegiances, it is essential that we reach agreement on crucial issues which will effect our town and the new geographical area in which we now find this local authority.
“I would like to commend the work of both former Councillors, Paul Hogan and Michael O’Brien. Both were extremely strong performers within this Chamber. They gave thorough commitment to the people whom they served and their loss is immense. I would also like to reference Ailish McManus in this regard,” Cllr. O’Rourke remarked.
Cllr. John Dolan echoed similar sentiments, hoping that the same “team spirit” would prevail amongst the Chamber during the forthcoming term of office.
“We were all newly elected representatives at one time and I will be readily available to assist in any manner I can. There are numerous challenges ahead and ongoing projects to which we must bring a conclusion. Now that we are a team of nine Councillors, it is vital that Athlone and the enlarged geographical area which the District now encompasses receives adequate funding for further projects, but if we work as a team there is no reason why we cannot have a fruitful five years,” Cllr. Dolan stated.
Returning Fine Gael Councillor, Tom Farrell, stressed that the villages within the District must not be left behind when it came to development projects and called upon the local authority executive to host the monthly meetings at alternative venues within the District as the year progresses.
Cllr. Louise Heavin expressed her gratitude for the welcome and noted her enthusiasm for the elected representative term to come.
“We must not only focus on Athlone but maintain a sense of vibrancy in the communities throughout this District and I look forward to viewing the county development plan as it progresses with a desire to enhance the infrastructure from a cycling perspective,” Cllr. Heavin emphasised.
Cllr. Jamie Moran also referenced the challenges that would lie ahead but if the Council worked as a “team” they would be successful in their united efforts.
“Personally, I would welcome the provision of additional dog waste bins in the town and I will be hopeful of receiving support from my colleagues in this regard,” Cllr. Moran said.