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Michael Sheehan focusing on housing, renewal and the greenway as he is elected New Ross district chairperson

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Cllr Michael Sheehan, new cathaoirleach , with Cllr Michael Whelan and Mick McCormack town manager. Back; Cllr Pat Barden, Eamonn Hore district manager, Cllr John Fleming leas Cathaoirleach and Cllr Bridin Murphy. Photo; Mary Browne

Cllr Michael Sheehan, new cathaoirleach , with Cllr Michael Whelan and Mick McCormack town manager. Back; Cllr Pat Barden, Eamonn Hore district manager, Cllr John Fleming leas Cathaoirleach and Cllr Bridin Murphy. Photo; Mary Browne

27/6/2022 Cllr Michael Sheehan new cathaoirleach. Photo; Mary Browne

27/6/2022 Cllr Michael Sheehan new cathaoirleach. Photo; Mary Browne

The Standard reports on Cllr Sheehan's election in 2002.

The Standard reports on Cllr Sheehan's election in 2002.

27/6/2022 Cllr Michael Sheehan new cathaoirleach photographed with husband Edward Kavanagh. Back; George, Helena and Eddie Kavanagh and Trisha Stafford. Photo; Mary Browne

27/6/2022 Cllr Michael Sheehan new cathaoirleach photographed with husband Edward Kavanagh. Back; George, Helena and Eddie Kavanagh and Trisha Stafford. Photo; Mary Browne

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Cllr Michael Sheehan, new cathaoirleach , with Cllr Michael Whelan and Mick McCormack town manager. Back; Cllr Pat Barden, Eamonn Hore district manager, Cllr John Fleming leas Cathaoirleach and Cllr Bridin Murphy. Photo; Mary Browne

newrossstandard

Councillor Michael Sheehan has been elected as the new chairman of the New Ross Municipal District by his colleagues following the council’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Monday.

Twenty years on from first being elected to the role as a fresh-faced twenty-something, the Fianna Fáil councillor once more takes up the chains with his party colleague John Fleming elected to the role of vice-chair. 

While it was a momentous day for Cllr Sheehan the event was overshadowed for all those present by the recent bereavements suffered by two of their fellow members, the deaths of Margaret Connick and Myra Whelan casting a pall over proceedings.

“AGMs are a good time to take stock and look back to the achievements and look forward to the road ahead,” said Cllr Sheehan in his acceptance speech. “It is usually with a sense of excitement and enthusiasm about the future, this year is no different: except it is tempered with the fact that two of our members have lost a parent in the last week.

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“Let us once again express our condolences to Cllrs Connick and Whelan, their families and communities. May God hold them in His hands and feel His Almighty Grace when times are low. We will be there with them all.”

With the council moving into its fourth year, Cllr Sheehan stressed the importance of initiating new projects to “strengthen all the district” in the coming months,

“By this time next year, we will have opened the new fire station, the new ambulance station, and High Hill Park The Oil Tank Park will have started, the Norman Heritage Experience Building will on to the next stage of process, and there’ll be the construction of the Advanced factories in Butersland.”

Taking a nostalgic look back at his first tenure as cathaoirleach in 2002, Cllr Sheehan noted the that the the focus at the time was “enterprise, investment and confidence through the completion of the then Advance Factory, CCTV, urban renewal and moving tourism in New Ross forward”. With all those targets having since been achieved, Cllr Sheehan said the New Ross of today was almost unrecognisable” compared to that of 20 years ago. 

But, as he stressed, there is much more to work to be done. “New Ross has a renewed identify, let’s build on it. New Ross has a renewed sense of purpose, let’s direct that. New Ross has a renewed sense of confidence, let’s harness it. In 2002, we were often seen as the laggard, twenty years later, the leader.

“We can not rest on our laurels, we must lead from them,” he said.

Outlining his goals for the coming year the new cathaoirleach identified town centre planning as an area in which progress could be made. With funding secured to improve the town centre he said that by this next year a plan will have been adopted for the implementation of the town centre plan. The development of a Quay Street plaza, removal of derelict buildings, and the acquisition of the Court House are all instrumental to this plan said Cllr Sheehan.

Investment and capital development are also high on his agenda with works at Brennan’s Lane and the Shambles set to start and a statue of Michael O’Hanrahan “central to the whole development”. Another long-awaited amenity is the South East Greenway and Cllr Sheehan said that it offered the opportunity to channel new business opportunities throughout the New Ross District. 

Developing a new hotel in the town centre was also high on his agenda, and he said 2023 promised to bring a “renewed focus on the commercial developments we want, where we want them and the economic backup to make them happen. We will work closely with land and site owners for their proposals, but not at any cost”.

In terms of community and social support Cllr Sheehan said at least two villages in the district would benefit from the town and village renewal scheme in the coming months, and said he continue to seek the minister’s approval to return St Josephs back to the community in the form of a enterprise centre with a community education.

Of course, housing remains a huge issue nationwide and the cathaoirleach said every effort would be made to meet demands in the district.

“We will see the first major housing scheme in almost 10 years and, with the social housing meeting in September, we have the chance to put our housing plan into action with our views for our community,” he said. “By next year, we will seek to increase our building programme and numbers to meet the demand of our people, We will by the autumn, have a response to outline the progress of the Mercy Convent apartments and Cluid Housing for their plans on Hewitsland and other initiatives.

“With the advent of town centre renewal, the removal of dereliction and restoring units to housing, we should be bold: that’s why with your help, we should turn Harvey’s old building John Street into a downtown housing unit as a pilot project. In addition, the council will also work to develop a special bespoke housing scheme design with groups dealing with people with additional needs so that the New Ross will truly be an area for all.

“If we can achieve most of this, it will show what we can do when we all pull together with one vision. The county’s motto is Exemplar Hibernia- an example to the nation. But New Ross is Nova Rospontis -  the New Bridge. And what a bridge to the next decade.”


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