Clonmel’s newest and final mayor, Cllr Pat English, said he is saddened that his term of office will be the last, but will endeavour to have the decision to abolish Clonmel Borough Council overturned, with the help of his colleagues.
Cllr English is the second Workers and Unemployed Action Group (WUAG) member to be elected First Citizen of the town in as many years, taking the chains from Cllr Billy Shoer. But his term signifies the end of Clonmel’s historic borough status since 1608, and the office of mayor, under environment minister Phil Hogan’s local government reform.
Despite efforts made to prevent the abolition of Clonmel Borough Council and the four other boroughs in the country, and commitments to continue this fight, it was widely recognised at the Council’s AGM last week, that such an occasion will never again happen in the beautiful Clonmel Town Hall.
Cllr English, a native of Barron Park, Clonmel, defeated Fine Gael’s Joe Leahy on the night, garnering support from two independents, Cllr Gabrielle Egan who was later elected deputy mayor, and Cllr Niall Dennehy. He was also supported by his four WUAG colleagues.
Cllr English said that while he is sad that the Borough Council will be abolished after the 2014 local elections, he will stand fast on the promises he made at the last elections, and outlined a number of key things that he will focus on for the duration of this historic mayoralty: redevelopment of former Kickham Barracks; development of Ballingarrane Industrial Estate; redevelopment of Denis Burke Park; enhancement of Suir Island; new playground for the town; and regeneration of the town centre. Cllr English was nominated by outgoing mayor Cllr Billy Shoer who said he hopes Mayor English will follow up on the campaign to save the Borough, led by him and colleagues last year adding it is ‘something very worth fighting for’. He was seconded by Cllr Brian O’Donnell.