SPEECH BY CLLR. DAVID NAUGHTON, CATHAOIRLEACH OF LIMERICK COUNTY COUNCIL, AT HANDOVER OF MAYORAL CHAIN TO COUNCILLOR RICHARD BUTLER ON 30 JUNE 2010
“County Manager, My fellow elected representatives, a chairde go léir,
I would like to begin my acknowledging the support you have given me over the past 12 months during my term as Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council.
I also wish to thank the County Manager for the support he has shown me throughout the past 12 months, while I am of course deeply appreciative of valuable assistance provided to me by the staff of Limerick County Council.
This time 12 months ago, the newly convened Council sat down to lay out a 5-year roadmap for the development and management of County Limerick.
I am glad to see that many of the objectives we set out on that day are already well on the way to being achieved.
Admittedly while much of our 5-year programme remains a work in progress, I am especially delighted to see a solid plan in place to continue the upgrading of our infrastructure, the upgrading of existing and development of new community developments, and the continued support of community initiatives.
The year was marked by the commencement, continuation and completion of numerous infrastructure projects throughout the County - none more significant than the Limerick Tunnel.
This project has taken many years to plan and now that it has been completed, County Limerick and Limerick County Council can boast of having played a central role in delivering one of the largest infrastructure projects in this history of the State.
This project will bring significant economic and environmental benefits to Limerick City and County and the wider Mid-West region.
The Council is also overseeing the construction of the Nenagh to Limerick motorway, which despite some setbacks and delays, is making considerable progress.
I was particularly privileged to have been involved in the official opening of 6 million euro Kilmallock Area Office and Regional Library – Áras Mainchín Seoighe – in late November.
This landmark building was completed at a time when significant strain was being placed on local government resources and, therefore, I would like to compliment the entire project team for their efforts.
There is doubt that the centralising of principal services under one roof has enabled the Council to provide public services more efficiently and effectively in the Kilmallock Electoral Area.
Meanwhile, the investment in water and wastewater infrastructure continued with considerable progress being made on various water and sewerage schemes throughout the county.
On the issue of infrastructure, I wish to pay a special tribute to the Council’s maintenance workers as well as in-house staff during the past winter when flooding and a prolonged cold spell severely affected our transport network and water infrastructure.
In what was an unprecedented period of severe weather, many staff, particularly from the transportation and infrastructure section, worked flat out from mid-November to mid-January.
Severe flooding in areas along the lower River Shannon was followed by the coldest spell of weather to affect County Limerick in more than 45 years.
I witnessed at first hand the tremendous effort made to reconnect households and business to water supplies, and ensure the safety of members of the public when many of our roads were left in a treacherous condition due to ice and snow.
Despite the financial constraints it has encountered as a result of the economic downturn, the Council has successfully maintained its core objective of providing a quality service to local communities across County Limerick.
I have already referred to some of the Council’s programme of works. I am equally cognisant of the importance of providing supports to community and voluntary groups.
Limerick In Bloom, judging for which takes place next month, is a wonderful mechanism for engaging with local community groups and individuals, and in doing so enhancing the appearances of our towns and villages.
The Council’s active role in supporting local communities involved in the TidyTowns competition has further complemented these efforts.
The Council implemented a number of community schemes during the past year including the ‘Community Playground Grant Scheme‘ and the ‘Mini-Pitch Scheme’.
The County Limerick Sports Partnership also initiated a number of schemes aimed at increasing participation in sport and assisting the work of the county’s many sporting organisations.
It was a great honour for the Leas Cathaoirleach Councillor William O’Donnell and I to be able to represent Limerick County Council and the people of Limerick at a wide range of events throughout the year.
While the schedule of events was often quite hectic, I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
The coming year promises to be both challenging and exciting for Limerick County Council and its customers.
I am confident that with an excellent team of staff, a supportive Council, and continued good relations with local communities and other agencies, the Council’s work programmes will allow for the continued economic, social and cultural development of County Limerick and the delivery of improvements in the quality of life of customers.
I would like to congratulate the incoming Cathaoirleach, Councillor Richard Butler.
I wish you every success over the coming year Richard and I have no doubt that you will contribute greatly to the workings of this Council and, in turn, the wider community in County Limerick.
On behalf of outgoing Leas Cathaoirleach Councillor William O’Donnell and myself, I would also like to wish Councillor Michael Sheahan every success in his role as Leas Cathaoirleach.
I will look back on my term as Cathaoirleach with great affection and look forward to the day when I might once again be honoured with wearing the Mayoral chain.
Go raibh mile maith agaibh go léir.”
CLLR. DAVID NAUGHTON
CATHOIRLEACH OF LIMERICK COUNTY COUNCIL