Mayo County Council will be searching for a new county manger following the announcement this week that Des Mahon will retire after almost 20 years in the role. The Roscommon native, who lives in Westport, has held the position of county manager since 1990 and seen numerous changes in his time in charge of the local authority.
Mr Mahon made the announcement of his intention to retire at a corporate policy group meeting of the authority and it will take effect from the end of November.
Mr Mahon took over as county manger in June 1990, taking over from Paddy Fahy who was the interim manager from October 1989 to June 1990 following the death of the late Michael O’Malley, who held the office from 1976 to his death. Previous to his arrival in Mayo, Mr Mahon had held posts as finance officer for Clare County Council and as assistant county manager in Donegal.
Cathaoirleach of the council, Cllr John Cribben, paid tribute to the departing county manger when speaking to the Mayo Advertiser this week. “We in Mayo were lucky to have had a man like Des Mahon as county manager,” Cllr Cribben said. “History will be very kind on him and what he has done for Mayo, in every community and town in Mayo there are monuments to the development that the county has seen under his guidance.”
Cllr Cribben also revealed that Mr Mahon had told of him of his intention to retire last week in Ballina at the opening of the new footbridge over the Moy. “He told me that he was intending to retire last week in Ballina and he handed me his letter of resignation during the week. Whoever follows in his footsteps will have big shoes to fill. Even though he was a proud Roscommon man he always had the best interests of Mayo at heart and you could see that through his work, and the people of Mayo will miss him. After almost 20 years as county manager, I wish him all the best in his retirement and hope he has many years of happiness and good health to enjoy it.”
In his time as county manager Mr Mahon had presided over four different councils elected by the people of Mayo in 1991, 1999, 2004, and 2009, and seen through a number of county development plans, the most contentious being the current plan which saw the elected members go to an Oireachtas committee to try to stop Minister for the Environment John Gormley ordering the county manager to change the plan against the elected members’ wishes.
Tributes paid at SPC
During Thursday morning’s meeting of the cultural, education, heritage, and corporate affairs SPC, Westport councillor Margaret Adams proposed a vote of thanks to the county manager for the hard work he has done for Mayo over the past 20 years in bringing the county “to the forefront” through his spearheading of many initiatives.
The Fianna Fáil councillor added that Mr Mahon was a friend of the cultural and artistic side of Mayo and always had his staff’s interests at heart, and wished Mr Mahon and his family well in his retirement.
Councillors Joe Mellett, Peter Flynn, and Al McDonnell also wished the manager well and said that Mr Mahon should be honoured in an appropriate way. The chair of the SPC, Cllr McDonnell, also noted that there would be another forum to thank the manager in the near future. Mr Mahon was on leave this week when his office was contacted by the Mayo Advertiser.