A former mayor of Clonmel expressed his sadness at the ‘demise of the local authority’, when he made an emotional and unusual public contribution to Clonmel Borough Council’s final AGM in the Town Hall last week.
Eighty-nine-year old Tom Carroll, who was mayor of Clonmel from 1978-1979 and member of the Labour Party, was present for the AGM, during which Cllr Pat English was elected the new mayor of Clonmel.
In a suprise move during the meeting, Mr Carroll asked outgoing mayor Cllr Billy Shoer, if he could speak publicly. Council members were consulted and did not oppose and a microphone was handed to Mr Carroll, who was present with is daughter.
“This is a very sad occasion,” he said. “This reminds me of a wake, it is the demise of the local authority,” he added.
Mr Carroll, who is said to have been a great adviser and mentor to younger local politicians over the years when they were starting out, gave a word-perfect rendition of ‘A Psalm of Life’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, part of which went: ‘Lives of great men all remind us/We can make our lives sublime/And, departing, leave behind us/Footprints on the sands of time’.
“This corporation helped me leave my footprints on this town,” he said emotionally. Mr Carroll said that Clonmel had been good to him, and had given him a wife and a home.
“But Clonmel came before politics, everything was for the good of Clonmel. I thank the people of Clonmel and the corporation. This is very sad.”
Mr Carroll is a retired soldier and was present at a public meeting in Hearn’s Hotel in 2011, protesting against the closure of Kickham Barracks.