John McGrath, an engineer at MMKDA Engineers & Architects, was elected president of Athlone Chamber at the chamber’s AGM last week.
Speaking as he was elected, he praised the people of Athlone for their vision in helping a number of developments come to fruition over recent years, including the construction of the original bypass, extending the town boundaries on the east side, and securing planning permission for Golden Island and the Athlone Towncentre.
“This town is full of dynamic people working on a daily basis for the betterment of the town whether it is in business, sport, or our communities. As chamber president I would like to build on the good work carried out by the chamber board over the years.”
He also singled out a number of projects he looks forward to seeing come to fruition in the coming year.
“I am privileged and indeed very lucky to be taking up the role of president at this time. This year will see the opening of Athlone’s art gallery in Father Mathew Hall. We will have the castle reopened with a greatly improved historical role to play in Athlone, and last but not least we have the possibility of one of the biggest good news stories of them all with the development of a major world trade hub at Athlone Business Park.
“Next year I intend to focus on a number of areas to include the business after hours events, develop the notion of capitalising further on the Athlone All Ireland Drama Festival, and promote Athlone by working with all the business and community organisations.”
Mr McGrath has been in business in the town for 15 years, and is familiar with many of the challenges currently facing local businesses.
“I am at least the third generation of my family self-employed in the town of Athlone. From a family of seven, all of us are currently located in Ireland. All but one of us is in our own business and hence I am very familiar with the difficulties being faced on our high streets and service industries as well as the well-publicised manufacturing sector.”
He also thanked outgoing chamber president Michael O’Brien, recent presidents Carmel Connolly and Cllr Aengus O’Rourke, and members of the chamber board for their contribution to the chamber.