POLITICAL differences and traditional animosities were set aside at this week's meeting of Mallow Town Council as former mayor Willie O'Regan formally retired from the authority.
The Sinn Fein representative stood down from the seat he took in 2004 and will be replaced on the authority by party colleague Melissa Mullane.
Cllr O'Regan said it was not a decision he had taken lightly and admitted it was with "a certain degree of regret". However, he said the decision had been "very much influenced" by the decision to abolish town councils next year.
"The proposed new format of the municipal council will increase the size of the constituency and will put me in a position where I feel I would not be able to carry out the duties required of me," said Cllr O'Regan.
"I feel very strongly that this will take away the opportunity for me to represent the people of Mallow as I have done for the past two terms on this council," he added.
Roundly praising both council staff and his fellow councillors, Cllr O'Regan paid special tribute to the people of Mallow. "When I came into this chamber I had only one wish that when I walked away from it I could put my hands up and say I did my best. I feel, without being bigheaded, that I have done that," he added.
Town manager Tom Stritch said Cllr O'Regan had been a wonderful representative for the people of Mallow.
"You have been extremely diligent and very knowledgeable about every subject you spoke on and your input in this chamber and contributions to this council will be greatly missed," he said.
Cllr Dan Joe Fitzgerald (FF) summed up the sentiments expressed by other councillors when he said Cllr O'Regan would be a great loss to the council. "We had our differences here and there but everything you spoke about and did was for the benefit of the people of Mallow," he said.