Tuesday 2 September 2014

The Last hurrah for Town Council

Kevin Hughes

Published 21/05/2014 | 05:36

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Sheila Courtney and Cllr Paddy Courtney, wife and son of the late Cllr Michael Courtney; unveiling the plaque to dedicate the Hahah in Killarney to the memory of the late Cllr Michael Courtney with, from left; Councillors Tom Doherty, Sean Counihan, John O’Donoghue, Sean O’Grady and Michael Gleeson in Killarney on Saturday. RIGHT: Cllr Michael Gleeson chairing the last ever Killarney Town Council meeting in the Town Chambers with fellow councillors Tom Doherty and Sean Counihan on Monday evening.

KILLARNEY Town Council may be scrapped come June 1 but don't think of using the town's crest in its absence - it remains the property of THE local authority.

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It was the last matter dealt with during the last ever meeting of Killarney Town Council.

Held in council chambers on Monday night, councillors had sought clarity on exactly what would happen to the distinct purple crest.

Town Clerk Michael O'Leary had sought legal advice on the matter. Town Manager John Breen confirmed it could be used in an ambassadorial role by a twinning committee of three elected representatives under the new municipal authority.

Cllr Sean Counihan reminded councillors that the crest was merely on loan until the town council was reinstated - sometime in the future. It was one note of optimism on a somewhat sad evening as one of the country's most vibrant town councils signed off.

From 'tacky' and 'plastic' Killarney to Tidy Towns winner, Killarney has undergone monumental changes, largely driven a local authority with a tourism focus that has helped the town develop into a European market leader.

Of course, the council had its critics, many turned off by what they saw as petty bickering for the sake of sound bytes.

Despite this, the urban authority deserved huge praise. A largely self-sufficient body, it has helped develop a town that is the envy of many worldwide - and that's despite the fact that it lost several key industries in recent decades.

Monday's meeting had been called to tie up loose ends, to sign off and take the credit for projects that have been long-term town council goals.

These included the procurement of new public burial grounds and the handing over of Aras Pádraig to the town council from the Franciscan Friars.

In the end neither had been finalised on time but there were guarantees from the council executive that this was a mere formality over the coming days.

The town clerk confirmed too that there would be investment in the capital budget for the Aras Pádraig, to reverse any deterioration since it was last used.

It's somewhat ironic, therefore, that the building's last public use was for the last ever town council elections. That day in 2009 is a distant memory and town council meetings will soon be a distant memory too.

The last word on the night was aptly left to 'father of the chamber' Sean O'Grady who said it had been a privilege and honour to have served Killarney for 40 years.

"I'm quite sure that Killarney people will make the best of what they have," he added.

Let's hope so, they've no choice.

Goodbye Killarney town council and thanks for the memories.


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