Members of Mullingar Town Council who have never been mayor may still get the opportunity to don the mayoral chain of office before the council is disbanded in May.
Cllr Aidan Davitt tabled a motion last week asking the council to “consider giving a member who did not have the honour of acting as chairman the chain of office for one week before this town council is disbanded”.
The official response from the executive that the position of chair of the town council can only be filled at the annual meeting did not satisfy Cllr Davitt.
“This has been the statutory position since 1856, but it wasn’t foreseen that a self-sustaining council would be disbanded in 2014. It is very unfair that some councillors did not get to represent the people as cathaoirleach, and some won’t be going on to represent people on the council [following the Local Elections],” he said, and was supported by Cllr Ken Glynn.
A diplomatic Cllr Pat Collins, who is currently serving as mayor, offered a solution by saying that members could still represent the council at an event that he himself could not attend.
“As current chair I appreciate where you are coming from - a lot of members have never held the position of cathaoirleach and it is a great honour. I have always been of the opinion that if I can’t attend a function the leas-cathaoirleach can attend [and wear the chain] in my place. If there is a special occasion and a member wants to use the chain I would have no difficulty with that.”
Cllr Ruth Illingworth said she understood that on any occasion when a councillor is representing the council at an event, they are entitled to wear the chain of office.
Cllr Davitt praised the mayor for his “very valiant gesture”.