Friends, as Mayor of Castlebar, it is my pleasant duty to extend season’s greeting to the people of Castlebar at home and away.
Christmas is a welcome break in the otherwise bleak winter months and this year more especially than others. But it is also an opportunity to take time out to reflect on times past, what the future holds, and also what we can do to improve the present for each other. Time marches on, time waits for no man, we are a year older but perhaps no wiser!
This past year has been a difficult one for many people, and the financial mess our political leaders and the bankers have brought us will take a long time to remedy.
But we must take some responsibility ourselves for the mess we are in, after all we elected the people who now rule our small nation. The Celtic Tiger is dead. The progress that has been made in our town in recent years has been slow, and even when the country was awash with money much of it did not find its way to Castlebar.
Yes some projects have been done, more are planned, and within the next five years I hope they will come to fruition.
As your local councillor and Mayor, my main concern is for the standard of living of the people of Castlebar. Many of you have lost your jobs, even your homes are under threat. We have been spared the devastation our neighbours in adjoining counties suffered with the unprecedented floods. Our sick are denied access to the health services, not in all cases because of lack of funds, but sometimes because of bad management of resources. Everything now is about balancing the budget — you can’t have your operation because of lack of funding. Even our elderly are being denied their Christmas bonus this year. Yes Scrooge is alive as we come to the end of the first decade in the new millennium. This is not the Ireland our forefathers gave their lives for and we must change it.
At this time of the year our thoughts go to our brothers and sisters who were forced to emigrate in times past. These people remained loyal to their country, their county, their parish, and their families. Many of them sent home the envelope at Christmas and at other times during the year and kept the wolf from the door for many families. The sad reality is that the same plight is now facing many of our young people, but instead of going to London, Birmingham, Boston, or Chicago they must now go the other side of the world, many as far away as Australia, and still nothing has been done to help our undocumented people in the United States of America.
I want to wish you a happy Christmas and I also want to wish you and your family every good luck in the New Year. Look after one another. If you get a chance let me have your views and your thoughts, I’m always glad to hear from you.
You can email me at [email protected] or if you wish write or call to me at Thomas Street, Castlebar or telephone me at 00 353 (0 )87 2648869.
I’m always glad to hear from you.