New Arts and Tourism Board on track

Athlone’s town councillors have agreed the legal framework for the management of the new Athlone Arts and Tourism Board just hours after they received the paperwork.

At Monday’s town council meeting Cllr Paul Hogan said it was asking a lot of councillors to expect them to decide on the 11-page document outlining the new company’s memorandum and articles of association, and said it was being rushed through.

“I don’t think it’s good enough,” he said, calling for elected members to be shown the respect and dignity of getting paperwork in time to consider it, “particularly for something as important as this”.

The new company will replace Athlone Arts and Heritage Ltd and Ecom Athlone Ltd, but Cllr Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran said Cllr Hogan was being unfair, that all councillors knew what was coming, and the document differed only slightly from similar documents for other boards.

The new company will have a board of five directors made up of three council staff and two elected members, Cllr Moran and Cllr Sheila Buckley Byrne who proposed and seconded the adoption of the document.

The town council, and later Westmeath County Council, will be the shareholders of the company, and there will also be a committee to provide expertise to the board.

Town clerk Pat Keating said the committee’s role, as outlined in the memorandum, will be to support the day to day activities of the company in the same way that the boards of the two previous companies were doing.

However, now they will be spared the legal responsibilities which will fall to the new board.

The manager will run the company on a day to day basis while the committee and the manager will report to the board.

Cllr Sheila Buckley Byrne was concerned that there be an opportunity for the board to co-opt extra directors with specific expertise for one-year terms if necessary.

The council, as the only shareholder, will be able to deal with those proposals at any AGM or EGM, Mr Keating said.

Cllr Jim Henson said he was delighted to see that previous employees of both companies will be looked after and retain their rank and pay scale.

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