Green Party councillor Mark Dearey will not contest local elections in May
Tributes have flown in across the political divide to Cllr Mark Dearey after the Green Party councillor announced that he will not be contesting the 2019 local elections in May.
The Omeath resident and owner of the popular Spirit Store pub in Dundalk revealed his decision on Saturday when he tweeted: 'I won't be running in the Local Elections later this year. It's been a true honour to have served the people of the area this past 15 years.'
Among those who paid tribute to him were Fianna Fail TD Declan Breathnach who said he was sorry to hear that he would not be contesting the May elections. 'You served your town and county well and it was always a pleasure working with your constructive no nonsense approach in the interests of making Louth and Dundalk a better place for all.'
Drogheda Labour Cllr Pio Smith described Mark as a 'great councillor, with good values, a sense of honour and a deep commitment to his community' while Fine Gael Cllr Dolores Minogue said he was 'a voice of reason on many occasion' at County Council meetings.
David Healey Green Party councillor for Fingal said: 'It's a pity to lose such an effective councillor, not just on Louth issues but also other topics such as nuclear and public banking. But looking forward to seeing how else you put your skills to use!'
Dublin FG TD Noel Rock said he 'always thought you served your area and your party with distinction. Plus your venue is class. Wish you the very best with the future!'
Speaking to The Argus on Monday, Cllr Dearey thanked all those who had supported him and voted for him over the years.
He hoped that they wouldn't feel let down by his decision not to stand .
'For a whole range of reasons I have decided to make way for the next wave of young green councillors.'
Having first got involved in politics due to his concern about climate change, as well as being one of the local residents who took legal action against the expansion of Sellafield, he said that he was confident that the Green party's agency was well established and many of the issues he had campaigned for were now policy.
He had never thought of his role as public representative as a lifetime commitment to politics and, having served three times as a county and town councillor, he had decided to step down so can he could spend more time with his family and business.
He had, he admitted, found public life 'very demanding' and he was at a stage in his life where he wanted to be able to put his family and business first.
Being involved in local government 'is not easy' and he felt it would be good to stand aside so some 'fresh blood' could come onto the council.
He paid tribute to his party colleague, Cllr Marianne Butler, who will be standing for Dundalk South in the forthcoming local elections and he said that candidates to contest Dundalk/Carlingford and Ardee will be announced in the coming weeks.
Cllr Dearey also revealed that the expectation for councillors to constantly report what they were doing on social media had also played into his decision.
He was, however 'absolutely sure' that he was doing the right thing. But he won't be resting on his laurels just yet, as he working on a submission on the Draft Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy which he feels will be of enormous benefit to Dundalk.
His decision not to contest the election means that three of the councillors elected in the Dundalk Carlingford electoral area last time will not be seeking re-election. Veteran Fianna Fail Cllr Peter Savage confirmed that he is standing down while Sinn Fein's Jim Loughran retired in 2016.