The members of Ballina Town Council voted to donate the mayoral chain of the council to the Jackie Clarke Library when the council is disbanded as it is expected to be at the end of its current term next year.
Fianna Fáil councillor Johnny O’Malley proposed the idea under the Notices of Motion item on the agenda and it was seconded by Independent councillor Mary Kelly. However the item was put to a vote with Fine Gael councillor Mark Winters proposing that the chain be left with the council and it be used by whatever municipal authority replaces the town council. He also said that no firm decision has been made as to what will happen and the motion could be postponed until the full facts of what will happen are established. Cllr Winters also told the meeting that the chain could be worn by whoever is the Cathaoirleach of the new municipal area if that is what is to replace the current system.
Cllr Gerry Ginty added: “I support Cllr O’Malley, I’d hate to see the chain fall into the hands of the county council. It could end up in a cash for gold shop and the money be used to fill a pothole.” He also hit out at the suggestion that the Cathaoirleach of the municipal area could wear the chain saying: “It won’t represent Ballina, it’ll represent a huge area and that chain is to represent the town of Ballina and nothing else.”
Cllr Kelly told the meeting, “Cllr Winters has said that no one knows what’s going to happen for definite, but we all know that the town councils won’t be coming back. I think that the museum would be a very suitable place for it.” Cllr O’Malley, who initially proposed the motion, objected to Cllr Winters’ idea saying, “That chain signifies that the person wearing it is the first citizen of the town.” The issue was put to a vote with it falling seven votes to two in favour of the chain being donated to the Jackie Clarke Library.