Carthy is first chairman of the new Rosslare Municipal District
History was made when Independent councillor Ger Carthy was elected as the first chairman of the newly-convened Rosslare Municipal District Council following the unanimous support of his four colleagues on the five-seater local authority.
At a meeting in the Slaney Room beside the CEO's office, the poll-topper was put forward by Fianna Fáil councillor and former schoolmate Lisa McDonald who said it was the intention that the chairmanship would be allocated to each member in order of election and in keeping with that principal, it gave her great pleasure, in any event, to propose Cllr. Carthy.
She said during his time on the Council, he had worked hard and done his best for his community, like his father Leo who served on the local authority for 49 years and was the first local politician that she was aware of as a child.
'I think Cllr. Carthy will make an excellent ambassador for the Rosslare District', she said.
He was seconded by Fine Gael man Cllr. Jim Moore who was later elected as Leas Cathaoirleach. Cllr. Moore said: 'Here we are in a new era of a new Rosslare District and the experience we have gained over the past five years will put us in a good position, as we embark on a new entity and work together to establish that', he said.
The new chairman was presented with chains of office which CEO Tom Enright explained are temporary ones with the permanent set on order and due to be completed in a few weeks time.
A new crest is also being designed to create a separate identity for the district and samples will be available to view at the next meeting.
The new Rosslare District also comes with a new set of officials. Head of Finance Annette O'Neill is Director of Services; Nóirín Cummins has been appointed District Manager and Mark Collins is the District Engineer.
Cllr. Carthy said he was honoured to be in a position to represent the people of the new Rosslare Rosslare. 'The re-drawing of boundaries gave rise to discussion and disquiet but regardless of our views, we must move on from today'.
'We must put all our efforts into improving the lives of families and individuals in the communities of Rosslare District, to help those communities grow and become more prosperous'.
Cllr. Carthy became emotional when he described it as a particularly proud moment for him personally, recalling his late father Leo who served as a public representative for almost 50 years before him.
The first meeting was attended by his mother Anne, his wife Anne Marie and their children Michael (9), Daniel (7) and Erin (3).
Promising to be a fair cathaoirleach of the Council, he said: 'I would like to continue that same public service that he gave for half a century.'
'At the end of the five years, I would like us to be able to say that we put politics aside and worked together for the people'.
Cllr. Carthy said the Rosslare District is the only one in the county that doesn't have an urban heart but comprises a group of villages and rural hinterlands. He plans to hold a number of outreach meetings in different areas of the district.
Among his ambitions are to see more funding for festivals in south Wexford, improved infrastructural development, the promotion of Johnstown Castle internationally and most crucially, the protection and promotion of Rosslare Europort which he described as ' a national asset in the heartland of this district'.
He noted that alll five councillors were born and reared in the Rosslare District and said: 'I think we are here for the right reasons'.
The CEO Tom Enright said it was very fitting for Cllr. Carthy to be elected as the first chairman of the new District given his experience as a former Mayor of the Borough.
Mr. Enright told him that he thought his father Leo would be looking down proudly on him today.
He thanked Annette O'Neill for overseeing the operation of the new district having previously been co-ordinator for Gorey and wished Nóirín Cummins well in her new role as District Manager.
He also welcomed new councillor Jim Codd to his first meeting.
'The district you represent has some particular challenges that we want to address', the CEO said.
The new chairman was congratulated by his Council colleagues with Cllr. Frank Staples describing him as 'a real rural man'and Cllr. McDonald saying he had 'a great feel for local politics which he was brought up on'.
Cllr. Codd said Leo Carthy was famous locally when he was growing up. Commenting that it was a time to 'be done with pacts', he added that he was delighted to hear that everyone would have the chance to be chairman during the term and that it would be spread out evenly.
'We have gone through tremendous changes in this local authority and this is another big challenge in delivering for people who are somewhat confused about these changes are taking place', said Cllr. Moore.
Director of Services Annette O'Neill suggested that the lack of an urban centre commanding greater attention will be a positive thing as the Council can show 'fair and impartial' across the district.
Ms. Cummins told the five councillors that she looked forward to working with them and achieving great things together.