The handing over of the chains of municipal council power was a mere formality on Monday as Fianna Fáil Cllr Michael Whelan was voted in as cathaoirleach for the second time, two days after his party leader was named Taoiseach of a historic coalition.
Taking over from former chairman Cllr John Fleming, who held the role for two consecutive years, the Ballycullane man said it was a proud day for him and for his family.
Cllr Whelan thanked Cllr Fleming for his year in the chair,
He said: 'Even though the world has changed very much from where were a few months ago, there are still ongoing events that we should be excited about in the New Ross municipal. Although we can expect the tightening of belts at all levels from national to council level I will make sure the New Ross town and district gets it's fair share,' sounding a note of measured optimism.
He said some exciting projects are in the pipeline which will help with the growth of our town and district.
'The removal of the oil thanks on the entrance into town will improve the look at this entrance point but should also give the opportunity for some kind of development in this area. The High Hill project should be completed in the coming year and this will be a welcome improvement and attraction to that end of town. We will also have the link from the Greenway which I hope will bring New Ross many new exciting opportunities.
'We can also promote more along the Norman Way and help re-energise the tourism industry post Covid. We, in this district, are steeped in Norman heritage and have many attractions from Tintern to the Hook Head and back to the town of New Ross. We also have taken on the Port of New Ross in the last year and have plans to develop the Quay to bring in tours from Waterford initially, but who knows where that could grow to.'
Additional accommodation in the district and improved facilities should be developed, he added.
Housing, improved water/sewage infrastructure and the creation of jobs are among his priorities for the year.
'The town and village businesses have recently suffered an unforeseen and unprecedented blow I hope that we as a council are in the position to help them to come back bigger and better.'
Fine Gael Cllr Bridín Murphy from Clonroche was proposed by Independent Cllr Anthony Connick and seconded by Cllr Michael Sheehan in as vice chairperson at County Hall in Wexford where she was welcomed into her role, one which she is enthused about fulfilling.
Her five fellow councillors and the New Ross Municipal District executive congratulated her on her new position and wished her every success in the year ahead.
Cllr Murphy said: 'It is an honour to be elected as vice chair of the New Ross municipal district. Elected to the council last year I am grateful to my councillor colleagues in giving me this opportunity. Nominated by Cllr Anthony Connick and seconded my Cllr Michael Sheehan, I look forward to the working with Cllr Michael Whelan as chair in our recovery from Covid-19.'
Cllr Murphy said she is coming into the role during a positive time for New Ross.
'I guarantee that we will work collectively in facing the many challenges that lie ahead. This is a positive time for New Ross and as vice chair I will ensure that New Ross remains at the forefront of future development.'
New Ross Standard