Sunday 15 December 2019

Keith follows father's footsteps as chairman

New chairman of Wexford Co. Council, Cllr. Keith Doyle, and vice-chairman Cllr. Willie Fitzharris
New chairman of Wexford Co. Council, Cllr. Keith Doyle, and vice-chairman Cllr. Willie Fitzharris
Tom Enright, CE, Wexford Co Council (left) and Cllr. Keith Doyle (right), new chairman, make a special presentation to outgoing chairman, Cllr. John Hegarty

Anna Hayes

Wexford County Council's new Cathaoirleach has indicated his intention to forego his chairman's expenses, asking that they, instead, be used to benefit projects in his home district of Enniscorthy.

Cllr Keith Doyle was following in his late father Andy's footsteps when he took over as council chairman from Cllr John Hegarty, remarking that in almost 25 years of political life, the new role would be the pinnacle of his career. He was proposed by his party colleague Cllr Barbara Anne Murphy who remarked upon the Doyle family's long history of local politics.

Cllr Doyle was seconded by his district colleague, Fine Gael's Cllr Paddy Kavanagh who remarked that while it would be good to have someone from Enniscorthy in the chair, he knew that Cllr Doyle would be fair to everyone.

Following the vote, Cllr Doyle remarked that those taking on a role in politics were either mad or following in a family tradition! He said that when he started out on the Town Council he never expected to end up with the Cathaoirleach's chains.

He said that he did not want to outline a 'wish list' other than to push the progression of major projects around the county.

Messages of congratulations poured in from councillors around the room, with many remarking upon the councillor's proud family history in politics.

Cllr George Lawlor noted upon the colour of Cllr Doyle's tie (red), wondering if it was a nod to times past, while Cllr Paddy Kavanagh pointed out that the new Cathaoirleach's shirt had blue in it, but said that, knowing Cllr Doyle, they were probably lucky to see him in a suit at all!

Outgoing Cathaoirleach, Cllr John Hegarty acknowledged his successor's ability to make difficult decisions, remarking that he had seen him acting as a GAA umpire where he had made some controversial calls!

The Fianna Fáil members of the chamber said they would miss Cllr Doyle's wit on their side of the room but believed he would bring fresh energy to the role.

Cllr Johnny Mythen wished his district colleague the best in his new role: 'You are always genuine. You might lost the head every now and then but that's ok too!'

Cllr Willie Fitzharris, whose own political future is under scrutiny should boundary changes occur, was elected Leas Cathaoirleach following a vote between him and Cllr Davy Hynes.

Earlier in the meeting, Cllr John Hegarty thanked those gathered for supporting him in his year as Cathaoirleach, saying it had been a massive honour and privilege and insisting that it had been a team achievement, saying that 'great things happen when people work together.'

He said that at the beginning of his term as chairperson, he'd been keen to focus on a few key areas. He felt that the council had done everything they could in terms of jobs, remarking that the Hatch Lab in Gorey was providing high quality jobs and opportunities for skilled workers to stay in the county.

He thanked his family, pointing out that with a new baby in the family since February, he would be around to help out more now that his tenure was up.

He admitted that challenges remained but the county and its council had the desire to be better. He believed that positivity and focus were key to getting things done.

'All of us look better when Wexford is doing well, and that happens when we all work together. The county hasn't been lost, bankrupted or destroyed in the last year so I happily pass my responsibilities to the next chairman,' he remarked.

Tributes were paid to Cllr Hegarty and also to Cllr Barbara Anne Murphy, the outgoing Leas Cathaoirleach.

Wexford People

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