Westport Independent councillor Christy Hyland has been elected to serve as Cathaoirleach of the Westport-Belmullet Municipal District for the 2022/2023 term - taking over from outgoing Cathaoirleach, Westport Fianna Fail councillor Brendan Mulroy. The new Vice Cathaoirleach is Belmullet Fianna Fail councillor, Sean Carey.
At the AGM in Westport council offices on Friday last, Cllr Hyland said he was honoured and delighted for himself and his family to take on the role and that he will be very proud to serve the whole municipal area.
Some disquiet arose at the AGM over the fact that the Westport-Belmullet MD constitutes two separate electoral areas, with members stating it was wrong that each did not have their own separate council areas.
Responding, Cllr Hyland said: “I kind of felt a bit of a division there; but it wasn’t us who decided to have two different electoral areas in this MD. That was foisted upon us. I think it is ridiculous. Will it change? I don’t know, but I will say we will work together for the people and let’s focus on the quality of life for the people we represent. The reality is we have what we have, we have to work together for the good of the people of all of the area and I know that is what we will do.
“Regarding the people and how things are out there at the moment, we may be heading into stormy waters financially, but they don’t want to hear about that. What we can do as councillors, is to work together, in a united and not a divisive way. Party politics was always left out the door in this council when it was Westport UDC and that is why Westport was so successful. Leave the politics up there in the Oireachtas. I will work to give it everything I can.”
On behalf of Mayo County Council, Director of Services Catherine McConnell welcomed the new Cathaoirleach to the role and said that she and Padraig Walsh, Head of the MD, looked forward to working with Cllr Hyland. She also thanked Cllr Mulroy for his time in the role, stating: “We are grateful to Brendan for his leadership, astuteness and guidance through the last 12 months, in what was a rocky enough time. Thanks very much Brendan and also to the Leas Cathaoirleach and and for all the staff I say that and we look forward to working with Christy on achieving the aims of this Municipal District.”