Independent Lowry councillor Michael O’Meara has been elected as cathaoirleach of Nenagh Municipal District Council.
A farmer and award winning beekeeper from Lorrha, Cllr O’Meara is a former Mayor of North Tipperary County Council.
He was proposed as cathaoirelach at Nenagh MDC annual general meeting last Thursday by Cllr Hughie McGrath and seconded by outgoing cathaoirleach Cllr Seamus Morris.
Cllr O’Meara becomes the third Independent councillor in a row to hold the role of cathaoirleach in the current district administration as Independent councillors hold the majority on the council.
Cllr O’Meara paid tribute to Cllr Morris in his acceptance speech, saying he would be a “hard act to follow”.
Remarking how the role of a councillor had changed, Cllr O’Meara said that at one time, it revolved around looking after roads.
“But our remit is now much larger,” he said.
The cathaoirleach said that the pandemic had opened up new challenges, but hopefully we were coming to the end of it.
Commenting on the effects of Covid-19, he said that young people had come to the fore and it must have been “most difficult to be locked up for 18 months”.
However, he also said the council had responded and had embraced the fallout from Covid-19 positively by doing its best to aid the retail, hospitality and tourism sectors. He hoped the various grant schemes now available would keep business alive.
Cllr O’Meara also said that the council would have to help those businesses in the future and would need to adopt a listening approach.
While he had not been a fan of the amalgamation of North and South Tipperary County Councils, he said the municipal districts had been a “shining light”, whereas, the full council meetings were “unwieldy”.
He said Nenagh MDC was “possibly the best” district council in Tipperary.
“All you have to do is look at the different projects from the historical quarter to the purchase of Streame and Lisbunny business parks.
“These are all welcome and will continue to transform the town into being one of the best in the country,” said the cathaoirleach.
Turning to his own patch, Cllr O’Meara said the €4m investment in Borrisokane’s main street, despite causing huge upheaval, had been a flagship project.
He also welcomed the fact that 18 council houses were to be built in Borrisokane.
He said there was now a need to look at a regeneration project for Cloughjordan.
Great credit was due to the council for its developments in Newport, he said.
Following his election, Cllr O’Meara was congratulated by his fellow councillors.
Cllr Ger Darcy, who was elected as leas-chathaoirleach, said Cllr O’Meara would have a busy year.
“We have a lot of projects in the pipeline. There is a lot of money coming our way and it is important that we use it to the best of our ability,” he said.
Cllr Darcy was proposed for the position by Cllr John "Rocky" McGrath and seconded by Cllr John Carroll.
District administrator Rosemary Joyce, on behalf of the district staff, said they were looking forward to working with him.
Tipperary chief executive Joe MacGrath recalled Cllr O’Meara’s time as mayor in 2012 and said: “I know you will give the same commitment you gave then.”
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