A “distinguished visitors gallery” was in attendance at Monday’s meeting of Westmeath County Council, as former councillors Paul Daly and Aidan Davitt (both FF ) took their leave of the council chamber for pastures new in Seanad Éireann.
In addition to Senators Daly and Davitt, Deputy Robert Troy and former leader of the Seanad Donie Cassidy were at the meeting to see Liam McDaniel and Bill Collentine officially co-opted into the seats of the outgoing councillors.
Addressing the meeting, Senator Davitt said he felt extremely lucky to have served on Westmeath County Council for the past seven years.
He thanked in particular the staff of the council, CEO Pat Gallagher, and directors of services for all their support.
“I wouldn’t be where I am but for the councillors of all colours. I appreciate the help and direction I got here. It’s a family I will miss, and if I am half as happy on the Seanad as I’ve been here, I’ll be a very happy man,” he said.
Senator Daly said he had thoroughly enjoyed his eight years on the council.
“I would like to thanks all my colleagues, from all parties and none. We might have crossed swords in here but I would consider them all good personal friends.”
He singled out the late Cllr Fintan Cooney as being a particular help and inspiration in his role.
“I’m going nowhere - I hope to use my new role for the benefit of the county,” he added.
Proposing the new councillors for the vacant seats, Cllr Ken Glynn said it was great for Westmeath to have two new Senators to represent the county.
“Our loss is the gain of Seanad Éireann,” he added.