At last week’s town council meeting Cllr Maribel Wood, addressing the chamber for the final time as mayor, spoke at length of her year in office.
“For me, becoming mayor of this historic town 12 months ago was very new and challenging. From the outset I had to get used to public speaking, chairing meetings, being the centre of attention, speaking to groups, to the public and the media, but now I can say that it was an honour and a privilege.
“To say that some of the events over the past year were challenging for this Council would be an understatement. Never before did it loose two of its sitting members and again tonight we remember our former colleagues, Cllr Michael Browne and Cllr Martin Browne. Indeed for four months prior to my appointment as mayor, I deputised for Cllr Michael Browne as he fought his illness with dignity and in doing so I garnered some insight into what life was all about and what to expect for the year ahead.
“When I proposed earlier last year that we extend an invitation to Queen Elizabeth I did so in the hope that if it was realised it would have important historical and economic consequences for Cashel far into the future. Its success and the worldwide media coverage that we received is evidenced in the increased visitor numbers, especially English people, over the past year, with the latest figures showing an increase of up to 14% at the Rock for the first five months to the end of May. I understand that the exhibition presently in Dublin Castle and highlighting the Queens Irish visit will be arriving in Cashel for a three week period soon.
“Hosting the annual meeting of the European Charter at a time of serious economic recession was a daunting task but due to months of trojan work behind the scenes, a wonderful community spirit, and of course the magnificent weather, it was recognised as a major success and I doubt if it will ever be surpassed. For me it was a great occasion, an opportunity to showcase Cashel at its best, to meet people from far and near and to work with community groups, the backbone of everything that is good about the town and its hinterland.
“Over the past year I had the honour of hosting a number of civic receptions and of welcoming visitors to the town and the chamber and I am indeed very grateful to the local organisations and those who invited me to attend their functions.
Indeed my best memories from a most eventful year will relate to meeting and talking with Cashel people of all ages and in their own familiar surroundings and leaving them with the realisation that they the citizens were the most important people, the chain of office was theirs and not mine and the democratically elected council was their voice.
“Finally, I want to take this opportunity to thank you the elected members; our Manager; our Town Clerk; Mairead Ryan and all the office staff; our Town Engineer and his staff, for their help and for working close with me during the year. They were always respectful of my position, pleasant and very helpful.
“From the outset I decided to enjoy the experience, to be myself, to do it my way, but in doing so to represent this Council and the citizens of Cashel to the best of my ability and with dignity, and I hope I achieved that”.