Councillor Tom Fortune is Cathaoirleach for the third time
Greystones Municipal District meeting
Cllr Tom Fortune was elected as Cathaoirleach for the first year of the coming five-year term of Greystones Municipal District.
This is his third time to wear the chains of office, having been elected chair five years ago, and on one occasion in the time of Greystones Town Council.
At last week's AGM he welcomed newcomers to the district council, Cllr Lourda Scott and Cllr Mags Crean, and congratulated all of those who were re-elected.
'I think we will work well together,' said Cllr Fortune. I think the role of the district is very important and I don't think that it is given the regard that it should be. It is great to have Killadreenan, Newcastle and Delgany in the district.'
He said that the district council does need more power. 'The function needs to get better respect,' he said. 'We represent the 25,000 plus people of the district. We need to do our best and for the county.'
Cllr Fortune said that he anticipates a very hard 12 months. 'The issue of the fishermen has to be sorted,' he said. 'All the flopping around has to stop. It's only fair and just they have proper facilities. It was always the intention when they started but they now seem to have been excluded.
'My understanding is that there are four or five people, not just one person who is a fisherman effected.
'They should have access to the north pier. I know Greystones as well as anyone. I've lived around here all my life, and have more family in Greystones even than Kilcoole. It has always been a fishing village. Other harbours can facilitate it, I don't see why not here. I'll be looking to get the fishermen around the table with the right people.'
Cllr Fortune said that Greystones has an excellent district engineer in Ruairi O'Hanlon. 'We all work very well with him. He is very black and white - I like that in people. I look forward to working for the betterment of the district with him.'
Cllr Fortune said that he wants to see the completion of the footpath on Sea Road in Kilcoole. 'The amount of cars using that road is phenomenal, it's extremely dangerous,' he said.
'I want to see at long last derelict sites addressed,' he said. 'We're told the economy is booming but still faced with looking at monstrosities of things undone,' he said.
'There is a serious planning issue in Kilcoole village which shouldn't be allowed to proceed. I hope that gets sorted to everyone's satisfaction.'
HE believes there should be more of an input to the county council's corporate policy group from the district. 'All the district chairs should be on that CPG,' said Cllr Fortune. '32 of us go into a room and have an agenda in front of us without our inputs. We're told what's going in with various committees. It should be more hands on and would give the districts more clout.'
He said that parking in Greystones needs to be looked at, and more attention needs to be paid to Killadreenan and Kilpedder.
The bus service requires attention, said Cllr Fortune, particularly regarding gaps in service to Newcastle and Kilcoole.
'The perennial one that keeps coming up is the debate regarding the toilet in the harbour area, or lack thereof,' said Cllr Fortune. 'I'd like to see that issue get the attention it deserves.
'They are just a number of areas I'm interested in, and will work to drive them along. In the process I'll probably drive a few people a bit bonkers! I will work hard, and facilitate everyone. We can work as a group for the betterment of the district.'
District manager Michael Nicholson congratulated Cllr Fortune, and all those who have been elected. 'It's no mean feat to put your name forward,' he said. Mr Nicholson commiserated with former councillor Nicola Lawless and thanked former councillor Grainne McLoughlin, who did not run, for her years of service.
'You have the full cooperation of all the staff of the district,' he told Cllr Fortune.