independent

Sunday 22 October 2017

Family man Walsh takes the top job

COUNTY COUNCIL ELECTS A NEW CHAIRMAN

CONOR CULLEN

OLIVER WALSH has been elected as the new chairman of Wexford County Council.

The 36-year-old Fine Gael councillor, from Inch, Blackwater, was elected unopposed at the council's AGM on Monday of this week.

He was proposed for the position by party colleague Cllr Kathleen Codd-Nolan, who described him as 'a man of outstanding character'.

'He is decent, honest, gentle - with a steely core - and a great family man. He is intelligent, dependable and has a good sense of humour,' said Cllr Codd-Nolan.

She said that while Cllr Walsh doesn't take himself too seriously, he 'always takes the job or representing the people of Blackwater and this county very seriously'.

Cllr Walsh, having taken the chains of office from outgoing chairman Michael Kinsella, said he was 'deeply honoured and humbled' to be elected chairman of Wexford County Council.

'It is a position I accept with a great sense of pride and responsibility,' said Cllr Walsh. He said he remains committed to working, with his council colleagues, towards the betterment of Co Wexford.

However, Cllr Walsh - who seldom speaks at public meetings - also had a warning for his colleagues.

'I'm not one for big political speeches or playing to the gallery and I won't tolerate any of it when I'm in the chair,' he said.

Cllr Walsh's family was there to see him take the chair in County Hall. He is married to Elaine and they have two children; Isabell (3) and Jack (2).

His proud mother Annie was also there on what was a very special occasion for the entire Walsh family.

Oliver Walsh's late father John served on Wexford County Council for almost four years until his untimely death in 1998.

The new chairman was co-opted onto the county council in 2001 - when then TD Ivan Yates had to vacate his council seat - and he was subsequently reelected in 2004 and 2009. A past pupil of Blackwater NS and Kilmuckridge VS, he farms in Blackwater.

Fine Gael's Denis Kennedy (67), from Palace East, Clonroche, was elected unopposed as the new vice chairman of Wexford County Council. A member of the council since 1999, he has previously served as chairman.

Both Cllr Walsh and Cllr Kennedy were congratulated on their elevation to their new positions by all parties and both Independent members. Tributes were also paid by the members and County Manager Eddie Breen to the outgoing chairman, Cllr Kinsella, and outgoing vice chairman Paddy Kavanagh.

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