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01/08/2021

History made as Cllr Marie Murphy is elected Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council

History made as Cllr Marie Murphy  is elected Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council

The 'dream team' of Cllr Murphy and Cllr Siobhan Ambrose now assume the top positions on the local authority.

History was made on Tipperary County Council  this morning  in Borrisoleigh following the unanimous election of Fine Gael Councillor Marie Murphy as Cathaoirleach of the local authority for the coming year - she becomes the first person from the parish of Cloheen to take on the role as head of the council.

And, she will be joined at the top table by Fianna Fail Councillor, and former Cathaoirleach, Siobhan Ambrose, as Leas Cathaoirleach for the year ahead - the second time that ladies hold the top two positions on the local authority with Cllr Ambrose as Cathaoirleach in 2016, and former Cllr Louise McLoughlin as Leas Cathaoirleach. Following their election, they were described as being the 'dream team' by Cllr Micheal Anglim.

A member of the local authority since 2009 when she was elected to South Tipperary County Council, Cllr Marie Murphy was described as the meeting as being a very hard working councillor who has a very broad vision for the sustainability of Tipperary.

She was proposed for the position by party colleagues Councillor Michael Fitzgerald and seconded by Cllr Ger Darcy, both of whom were lavish in thair praise for Cllr Murphy and of her work ethic. 

Cllr Murphy said that she was deeply privileged to have been elected as the first Cathaoirleach from the Cahir electoral area. In paying tribute to the outgoing Cathaoirleach Cllr Michael Smith and Leas Cathaoirleach, Cllr Mary Hanna Hourigan, Cllr Murphy said that she had just one guiding principle from which to work - respect. She wanted to see respect for the members, officials and the public and this will be the guiding principle of her term of office, she said.

Councillor Marie Murphy

Cllr Murphy added that her new role will not impact on her work in the Cahir area, and she pointed to the importance of the N24 upgrade  project for the towns of Tipperary and Carrick-on-Suir, and the villages of Bansha and Kilsheelan. The County Development Plan too will be a priority, she said, as this will be the 'bible' for Tipperary for the coming years and it is very important to get it right.

Cllr Murphy, who was joined for this very special occasion by family members and friends in the chamber, referenced a decade she spent away from Ireland and said that while it was a very positive experience, she wanted to see a situation where Ireland did not have to export its youth in the years to come.

Chief Executive Officer, Mr Joe MacGrath described Cllr Murphy was being an extremely hard worker and he congratulated her and looked forward to working very closely with her for the coming year. He was joined in the vote of congratulations by members of the council who were equally as gushing in their praise of the new Cathaoirleach.

Councillor Siobhan Ambrose was elected Leas Cathaoirleach having been proposed by party colleagues Cllr Roger Kennedy and seconded by Cllr Micheal Anglim. A member of the council since 2004, she previously held the position of Cathaoirleach in 2016, she is also currently Mayor of Clonmel and is a former Chairperson of the Clonmel Borough Council. She was congrautaled by all the members on her election and takes over from Cllr Mary Hanna Hourigan.

Above: Cllr Siobhan Ambrose

Outgoing Cathaoirleach, Cllr Michael Smith said that he was honoured to follow in the footsteps of his father, former Minister Michael Smith, and his uncle, former Cllr Dan Smith as the head of the organisation.

It had been a very difficult year, he said, and he paid tribute to the magnificent response of the local authority to the pandemic in "ensuring that we kept the show on the road."

Cllr Smith said that a lot of work had been achieved during the year and he was especially grateful to the members for the respect which was evident during the course of the special meeting on the mother and baby homes - it was, he said, a very important meeting and he wished the committee well with their future deliberations.

The council had overseen the distribution of €12.4million in restart grants to 4,273 businesses in Tipperary, while the Local Enterprise Office also played a key role in the online trading grants - all of these helped to keep businesses open, he said.

Members of the council as well as Chief Executive Officer Mr Joe MacGrath, paid tribute to Councillor Smith on what was described as being a very successful term of office in a very unique year which saw most of the business of the council being undertaken virtually - a massive challenge for the Cathaoirleach to run the meetings efficiently with up to seventy people logged on at times. This was a point emphasised by the CEO when he addressed the meeting and paid tribute to Cllr Smith.

The two recent civic receptions for the Tipperary senior football team and jockey Rachael Blackmore were described by members as being real highlights of the year and events which signified the success of The Premier County on a global scale with the events having been streamed. 

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