Athlone Town Council’s final budget heralded sentiment and emotion from councillors and executive members who are sorry to see the end of the local authority.
At Tuesday’s meeting acting county manger Barry Kehoe said the devolution of local government is something the people of Westmeath will have to live with but he said Athlone Town Council has been particularly successful in its work.
He promised that the county will continue to bring a focus to Athlone and he said the new municipal committee, which will be in place from the end of May, will have the added advantage of representing people from outside the town of Athlone who work, spend their money, and socialise in the town.
He said that democratic mandate for the town will remain and it will be served by a large number of council staff who will be committed to maintaining the current level of service to the town.
Cllr Kieran Molloy, who will be stepping aside from local politics after 27 years said he never thought he would see the day when Athlone Town Council would be gone.
The loss of control of water services was described by Cllr Molloy as “bureaucracy gone mad” and he said he sincerely hopes that Athlone’s public reps continue to get their share of the county budget.
He wished those who put their name on the ballot paper for the local elections next May the very best of luck and said he fears greatly for the town which has lost its student grant services and seen a reduction in staff over recent years.
Mayor Gabrielle McFadden closed the meeting by giving Cllr Molloy the opportunity to propose the last budget which he did.