New Westport Cathaoirleach wants to grow ‘community collaboration’

The new Cathaoirleach of Westport Town Council has emphasised the need for continued growth of intensive “community collaboration” in the town.

Cllr Teresa McGuire was unanimously elected as the new Cathaoirleach at the council AGM last Thursday night and in response the Fine Gael councillor thanked her colleagues for their “vote of confidence and trust”. Cllr McGuire has been on the town council for 11 years and previously served as cathaoirleach. She was proposed by Cllr Ollie Gannon who described her as an ‘articulate educator’ who would be a great representative for the town, with the proposal seconded by Cllr Christy Hyland.

In her new role Cllr McGuire said she would help advance work at the ‘Rockies’, (children’s graveyard on the Leenane Road ), push forward the proposed move of the civic offices to the recently purchased convent building, and would look at an innovative scheme for rate payers in the town. Education is also vital, she stated, adding that she would like to bring sixth class students to the chamber and teach them about the workings of the local council.

Cllr McGuire expressed the hope that “there will be some fun along the way” in her new role and cited Cystic Fibrosis Association as her chosen charity of the year.

The new cathaoirleach was wished well with new town manager Joe Beirne referring to Cllr McGuire as “the advocate of educational needs and the disadvantaged”. In regard to the proposed move to new civic offices, Mr Beirne said there were a number of other projects in the pipeline for funding in the town before capital could be found for the move.

Outgoing Cathaoirleach Cllr Myles Staunton wished the “great ambassador” for the town well. He thanked his fellow councillors for their assistance in the past year and said it was “an honour and a privilege” to serve as cathaoirleach. His highlights of the year included the smarter travel campaign; the reduction of rates in the town; the plans created for a skate board park in the town and his attendance at the Community in Blooms Festival.

Cllr Staunton also issued a stark message that he would “vehemently oppose any move to abolish a town council like Westport which would be a regressive and narrow minded step”.

Cllr Michael McLaughlin was elected Leas Cathaoirleach after being proposed by Cllr Hyland and seconded by Cllr Staunton.

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