A BALBRIGGAN town councillor who has spent the last year on tenterhooks to see if he would be allowed keep his seat as he transferred to the new State agency Solas from Fás has finally had it confirmed that he can continue to serve on Balbriggan Town Council.
Cllr Frank Snowe (NP) spent his last day in the Balbriggan Fas office on Friday, December 30th and prepared to take up his new job for Solas, which replaces Fas this year, in that organisation's Baldoyle offices. Cllr Snowe's future on Balbriggan Town Council has been under threat because of fears that Solas would be under the control of the Department of Social Protection and those working for it would be deemed civil servants who are not allowed to hold political office. But for now at least, that is not the case and Cllr Snowe has had it confirmed that he will be 'a public servant, not a civil servant' and will continue to hold the seat he won on the town council at the last local elections. Cllr Snowe said he was 'delighted' to be able to continue to serve the people of Balbriggan on the town council but he said he was also sad to be leaving the town's Fás office which he helped to set up 1998 when he 'came out from D'olier Street to Balbriggan with nothing but a briefcase' to begin building the service in the town. The future of the Fás office in Balbriggan is uncertain. Two of its three officers have been transferred to new posts leaving one officer and one clerical staff behind. The office could yet move, be subsumed into the local Social Protection office or be closed but there is no word from the State organisation on its future plans for the office as yet. Cllr Snowe's continued service on Balbriggan Town Council closes the door on the Green Party's reentry to representative politics in Fingal. Cllr Snowe was elected as a Green Party member but later left the party to serve as an independent. If he had to give up his seat, the Green Party would be allowed to co-opt one of their members in his place which could have provided the part with a new foothold in the count after losing all of its county council and Dáil seats in the region at the last local and General elections.