18 November 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By Veronica Corr

History was made at Monday’s meeting of Carrickmacross Town Council when Mayor Noel Keelan had the once in a lifetime privilege of welcoming his fellow councillors to the new civic building on the Convent Lands.
Mayor Keelan hailed the event as an historic occasion, adding that it was the first time that the council had ever sat in a building it owned. The Mayor even likened the experience to “coming home for the first time”.
There was also a nod to the founding fathers of local government who established town councils under the 1898 Act of Parliament.
Many councillors remembered the days when the council offices were located in Carrickmacross Courthouse, before it rented the Old Fever Hospital in 1998.
The Mayor was also keen to point out that the new facility would be a one-stop shop for the public, because it will house Carrickmacross Town Council, Monaghan County Council’s Area Office and the Carrickmacross Branch Library.
Sinn Fein’s Matt Carthy paid tribute to former members and those who made provision in the budget over the past 10—15 years for the civic amenity, adding that it had maintained a rates freeze over the past few years.
Cllr. Carthy observed that it was quite ironic that Carrickmacross Town Council finally had somewhere to call their own, just as this government was looking into either stripping local authorities of all their powers, or abolishing them altogether.
Carrickmacross was the second town in the county and he felt that it would be a lot worse off if it didn’t have a resident democratic structure.
He also made the point that the new civic offices were actually located outside the town boundary, which means that Carrickmacross Town Council will have to pay rates to Monaghan County Council.
Therefore, he suggested that the administrative boundaries take into account where the council was operating from, adding that the issue should be impressed upon Minister Phil Hogan personally.
Fianna Fail Cllr. Padraig McNally agreed that it was important to mark the momentous day. He added that he had always been a strong advocate of library services, welcoming the fact that the local branch was moving to the new premises.
He also felt that the council owed it to the staff of the present and future to provide a modern work environment, adding that he saw the wisdom in pooling staff resources between town and county.
He was impressed by the fact that the facility was built without the council having to borrow money. He also paid tribute to Michael Fitzpatrick, the driving force behind the project.
However, Cllr. McNally cautioned that Carrickmacross Town Council might not get to reap the full fruits of their labour, as he predicted that they could be a thing of the past in 10 years, as amalgamations were happening in bigger councils.
Full story in The Northern Standard

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