Saturday 19 October 2019

Margaret held her seat since ‘80

Paul Deering

Cllr Margaret Gormley was always a poll topper in the local elections, a testimony to her popularity and hard work on behalf of the people of South Sligo.

The Gormley family connection with Sligo County Council goes back to 1942, when Margaret's late father Willie was first elected to the Council. Margaret was co-opted onto the Council in 1980 and successfully contested every subsequent election. She had the honour of being elected Cathaoirleach in 2004.

She was an independent councillor and while there was speculation during the course of her long career that various parties had approached her about joining she remained steadfast as an independent voice. When elected, Cllr Gormley and Cllr Declan Bree were the only independent councillors and they were later joined by others.

Along with Sinn Fein's Sean MacManus, Cllr Gormley and Cllr Bree they had formed a sort of an alliance, stepping in to second motions from each other when the main parties of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour had pulled ranks on their members. 

Cllr Gormley always showed a deep and genuine interest and respect for the people of South Sligo whom she represented. At times, it was a frustrating process but she never lost the cool in the chamber so matter how many times bad news came her way such as in the lack of progress on one of her main objectives, the upgrading of the N17. It was so obvious her deep concern for South Sligo.

The decimation of rural communities be it through lack of infrastructure or the withdrawal of services such as post offices and garda stations was both heartbreaking and frustrating for Cllr Gormley. She never shirked in raising issues on behalf of her constituents and the state of the county's class three roads was another bugbear of Margaret's. She was always respectful of Standing Orders and everyone couldn't but warm to her. She was a true, genuine representative of the people of South Sligo. 

Because of a lack of resources, Cllr Gormley often had to accept no as an answer from officials but I am sure it was often with a heavy heart such news was delivered to her. In any event, officials knew if the job wasn't done the matter would be raised again by Margaret either with another motion or under minutes arising from the previous meeting!

Sligo Champion