“I’m going to try bottling the water in Ballynacarrigy and drinking it.” Cllr Peter Burke summed up the mood in the council chamber at Monday’s meeting of Westmeath County Council as councillors one by one congratulated Ballynacarrigy’s new Deputy Robert Troy and paid tribute to all the General Election candidates.
Several noted his achievement in securing a seat, coming as he does from the same village as Labour TD Willie Penrose who has topped the poll in the constituency for several years.
As Fine Gael’s Cllr Frank McDermott put it; “If someone was on Willie Penrose’s roof repairing his chimney, he’d be able to see the smoke bellowing from Robert Troy and James Bannon’s chimneys.”
As Deputy Troy spent his last few minutes in the chamber before moving onwards and upwards to Dáil Éireann, praise came from across the political divide. Party colleague Paddy Hill said he would miss Robert as a colleague, but added that “the task the people of Longford-Westmeath have given him is not an easy task by any means”.
Breaking with protocol which normally only allows each party’s spokesperson to speak, Cllr Ken Glynn (FF ) wished to add his own compliments: “I would like to warmly congratulate my area colleague. There is a very dynamic TD going in, he has proved that through his work on the ground,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Labour Party, Cllr Johnnie Penrose said Deputy Troy would work as hard for Westmeath as he had done for Ballynacarrigy and complimented him on his “thorough and gentlemanly campaign”.
The speakers also paid tribute to unsuccessful candidates Cllr Peter Burke and Cllr Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, who was absent, and added their congratulations to Cllrs Gabrielle McFadden and Johnnie Penrose on the election of Nicky McFadden and Willie Penrose respectively.
Cllr Burke said he was “very proud” of the vote he got. He praised Deputy Troy as “a hard worker and a gentleman” adding that he hoped he would “keep the seat warm for north Westmeath”.