Tuesday 12 December 2017

End of the road in sight

Sligo Borough Council is preparing for its last ever meeting next month.
Sligo Borough Council is preparing for its last ever meeting next month.

Harry Keaney

FOUR HUNDRED years of Sligo history are about come to an end. On May Day, Sligo Borough Council will meet for the last time.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, a subcommittee of councillors will discuss how to mark the historic occasion.

Longest-serving borough councillor Declan Bree said May 1st was going to be very sad day for the entire community.

He added: "It's terrible to see urban local self-government being destroyed. It wouldn't happen anywhere else in Europe."

No definite plans have yet been made for the council's last meeting.

But a number of ideas have already been mooted.

They include a lecture on the history of the borough council, an Open Day in the Town Hall and possibly a repetition of the display that marked the 400th anniversary of the beginning of the council.

Mayor Marcella McGarry said she envisaged the first part of the council's final May 1st meeting will deal with the business before it.

She added: "Then there will be an element of handing over of the mace or whatever we decide on.

"Everybody will probably say something about the ending of the council."

She too agreed it would be a sad day.

"It's 400 years of history. All of a sudden we will not have that anymore," she said.

She was of the opinion there should be events over a few days to mark the end of the borough council.

And she suggested that former mayors and Freemen of the Borough, for example, should be a part of it all.

Other groups that had a close association with the borough council, such as Feis Shligigh and Feis Ceoil should have "an integral part" in the events.

"We should bring in all those elements.

"It's important they are all part of it," Clr. McGarry said.

And although she will be the last Mayor of the borough council, she feels the office of mayor should be retained for the county.

She said: "Wherever you go, the position of Mayor is always held with esteem and respect.

"It's only when you are Mayor you realise how the people of Sligo respect and appreciate the office of Mayor.

"I would have attended more than 500 functions as mayor."

The borough council has its roots in a decision taken on March 30th 1612.

That's when James I, by Royal Charter, bestowed on Sligo the status of a Corporate town.

The charter stated: 'There shall be one body corporate and politic consisting of one Provost and twelve free burgesses.'

The new body was granted the 'power and authority to return two discreet and fit men to serve and attend in every Parliament.'

Roger Jones was appointed the first Provost of the Borough, and the Corporation was granted powers to make bye-laws and impose fines.

It was also empowered to appoint two 'Sergeants at Mace'.

Around 1620 the Corporation was granted a 'Charter of the Staple', the right to hold a public mart.

The Municipal Reform Act of 1842 divided the town into east, west and north wards.

Sligo Champion

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