Hayes revelling in his new role on the council
Elected to Cork County Council at the first time of asking in May, Mallow businessman and Chamber president Pat Hayes has told The Corkman he was revelling in his new role on the local authority.
Having topped the poll in the poll in the Mallow LEA with 1,806 first preference votes, the Fianna Fail councillor was elected chair of the northern area committee, appointment that Cllr Hayes admitted had come as something of a "pleasant surprise" to him.
"I think that as Mallow is at the heart of the northern division combined with the fact that I topped the poll in the LEA, it was appropriate that I took the chair of the committee in the first year of the council term," Cllr Hayes told The Corkman.
"That said, I must admit it did come as bit of pleasant surprise," he grinned.
He said that, while it is still relatively early days, he has so far thoroughly enjoyed his time on the council.
"It was all that I expected - and more. There is a lot of work to be done, but there is great satisfaction to be had addressing the various challenges the role has thrown up and the fact that I am in a position to be able to work on behalf of the people that I represent," said Cllr Hayes.
"It will take a bit more time to bed in and become familiar with the way the council works, but I am confident that I and my council colleagues can achieve some great things over the next five years.
He said one of the key challenges will be the looming spectre of Brexit and the impact this could have on the local business community, a sector he is all too familiar with given his role as the president of Mallow Chamber.
"That is a big worry. But, I would hope that if Britain were to crash out (of the EU) we could avail of the opportunities that might create for bigger towns like Mallow and Fermoy to facilitate businesses that might want to relocate to Ireland," said Cllr Hayes.
"Of course, that dovetails nicely with the work that we are already doing in the Chamber to attract new business to Mallow and the surrounding area, creating employment for people who want to live and work in their local area."
Cllr Hayes said he would also be advocating for the creation of a dedicated Blackwater Valley tourist trail incorporating towns and villages across the region, the construction of new homes to address the regions housing crisis and improvements to the locals roads infrastructure.
Chief the latter would be progressing the much needed Mallow Northern Relief Road.
"We have been trying for a number of years to get this project moving and finally there has been some progress made with the commencement of the tendering process for the design of the road. I am confident road will be delivered within five to six-years. Key to ensuring that happens is keeping up the pressure on the powers that be through the council," he said.