Frank is our new mayor
From Wexford's first rural mayor came Wexford's first farming mayor as Cllr Ger Carthy handed over the rope and chains to new mayor Cllr Frank Staples last week.
'I am deeply honoured to be elected mayor of this historic borough,' Cllr Staples said in his acceptance speech following last week's 5-4 vote at the Wexford Arts Centre. Cllr Tony Dempsey was elected as deputy mayor following a 5-4 vote.
The proud Mayglass-Ballymore man began his term of office by thanking his wife Trish, seven sons, friends, family and everyone who showed their support to him. He also thanked his aunts Eva (88) and Janie (90) for their support, along with his sister Mary who was unable to make it on the night.
Cllr Staples (58) outlined his main priorities for the coming year, of which he said mental health is a key focus.
'We have a mental health crisis at the moment and the mental health services are struggling to deal with it. We need a dedicated 24/7 mental health facility to facilitate people in crisis.
'We have a situation at the moment where people in desperate need of help are being turned away from hospitals because of lack of services.'
Cllr Staples said that from his own experience, he has learned that sometimes the little things can help.
'Speaking from experience, sometimes it's the little things that count.
'So, don't be afraid to ask, call or send someone a text if you know they are going through tough times, because you may be the person they open up to if you reach out to them.'
'If you take nothing else from this evening but that you can make a positive impact on other people's mental health, it will be worthwhile.'
Cllr Staples said his other priorities include job creation and advancing projects such as the development of Min Ryan People's Park, Trinity Wharf Development and the Technological University for the South East. He also spoke about the Local Economic and Community Plan, which he said is 'crucial' for growth in the Southeast.
A tribute was also paid by Cllr Staples to his friend and colleague the late Cllr Fergie Kehoe.
'A lot has been said about Fergie and I suppose if I was to pay him a compliment, it was hard not to be his friend, because once Fergie got to know you he would be your friend.'
Outgoing mayor Cllr Ger Carthy received unanimous praise from his colleagues for his year in office, with many paying reference to the more difficult tasks he has taken on over the past 12 months.
All of the councillors paid their best wishes to the new mayor, including Cllr George Lawlor, who joked that he was Wexford's first farming mayor.
Following the election of deputy mayor Tony Dempsey, Cllr Staples said that he was delighted to have him on board.
'I look forward to working for Wexford Borough and District with you in 2016 and 2017.'