Gorey Councillor Joe Sullivan of Fianna Fáil will continue in his role as Cathaoirleach of Gorey Kilmuckridge Municipal District after he was voted in at an AGM held at Wexford's County Hall yesterday (Monday).
Cllr Sullivan has held the role since the election of Senator Malcolm Byrne to the Dáil, and he welcomed the honour to do so again.
The role of Vice-Chairperson has gone to Fine Gael Cllr Oliver Walsh from Blackwater, and he takes the position from Fianna Fáil Councillor Pip Breen. It is hoped that the two councillors working together will mirror that of the new government formed at the weekend, which sees the partnership of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil along with the Green Party.
Cllr Walsh previously served in the Enniscorthy district before last year's changing of the boundaries before the local election which saw him elected in the Kilmuckridge district along with Cllr Pip Breen, Councillor Mary Farrell and Councillor Willie Kavanagh.
Speaking to Joe Sullivan, he said that the council can look forward to a busy year, especially with trying to work with businesses as they re-open after lockdown.
'The big concern, and this is what the council must do, is to give businesses some initiatives to keep them from closing down. There is word out there that some businesses may not be re-opening and so we have to work with those businesses and do everything we can with regard to rates and grants, to get them over the hump so they'll be able to build up to where they were prior to the build up to the outbreak of Covid-19.
'The last few months have had an unnatural feel about them because of the restrictions. What we could and could not do as a council has been restricted to some degree. Everybody has been challenged and we have never been in a situation like this before in the current social and economic climate. It's something we will have to learn as we go along but life will return to normal and must return to normal,' he said.
As our society re-opens so too does the local Municipal District Chamber, and Cllr Sullivan said that he would work cross-party and inclusively as the chairperson such as he has with the working group focusing on opening up the district.
Speaking about upcoming projects, he said that the focus for Gorey for the coming year will be on Gorey Town Park and the redevelopment of Esmonde Street.
While in Courtown, Cllr Sullivan said that redevelopment works will be key such as the demolition of the old Bayview Hotel, and the provision of a new hotel.
As part of this, he highlighted that support could be needed for amenities in Courtown also.
Reflecting on the tough few months that has led to this moment, Cllr Sullivan thanked his community saying: 'I sympathise with anyone who lost anyone who has lost a loved one to Covid-19. The frontline workers and the people must be thanked but the real local heroes are those in voluntary organisations'.