Wexford town elects first rural-based mayor
WEXFORD has has elected its first Mayor from outside the town.
Independent Ger Carthy, from Our Lady's Island, was elected as mayor on a vote of 6-4, as was another rural councillor Jim Moore, who was elected deputy mayor.
'History is being made here tonight with the election of the first rural-based councillor as mayor of Wexford and it is a great honour for me to be part of that history,' Cllr. Carthy said in his acceptance speech following Monday night's vote at the Wexford Arts Centre.
Cllr. Carthy, at 37 one of the town's youngest mayors, said his priorities will include employment creation, tackling zero hours contracts and reducing the rates burden on the small businesses and shops, which are the backbone of the Wexford economy.
He said he believed there was a problem of communication between the council and the public.
'While there are very sound reasons for all the initiatives carried out by the Council the public often have difficulty understanding how money can be found for things which they might see as unimportant while no money can be found for improving a dangerous bend near their home, fixing potholes, improving street lighting or upgrading footpaths or indeed providing adequate housing, all things which are very important in their daily lives.'
Talking about local business, he said the local authority's support for festivals and shopping events over the past year has been a good start on the road to rebuilding the retail sector 'but we must try to find some way of easing the rates burden on small shops and businesses and this has to be an initiative that will not provide a bonanza for multi-nationals but is constructed in such a way as to provide tangible support for small traders.'
Another suggestion was that of providing free all day parking in the town for workers from rural areas. Cllr. Carthy said rural areas make up the greater part of the council area and public representatives must never forget that.
'We must use every resource at the council's disposal to keep rural villages alive and for my part I will be using this office to fight as best I can to ensure the future of every rural post office still open in the district and to ensure that there is adequate Garda cover for the rural areas.' Cllr. Carthy said one of the most important pieces of infrastructure in the county is Rosslare Europort which is facing big changes in the immediate future. 'Whatever decisions are taken I want the protection of employees in the port front and centre of any negotiations coupled with the creation of jobs in the wider local economy to be at the top of my agenda.' Ger is the son of the late Leo Carthy who served as a county councillor for 49 years.
Outgoing Mayor Cllr. George Lawlor, who won praise for his tenure as mayor, that while we continue to face difficult times economically and politically and while 'Wexford has not been spared from the harsh realities of recession, there is.. light on the horizon.. and as elected representatives it is our duty to bring the concerns, hopes and aspirations of the people to the table.'