The following is the address by Cllr. Niall Kelleher, Fianna Fáil on his elevation to the position of Cathaoirleach of Killarney Municipal District at the annual meeting earlier today.
“Being elected Mayor of the Killarney Municipal District is a great privilege and honour. I am immensely proud to be taking on this new role and I can say that it is very humbling. Three years into my first term as an elected representative, I believe I now have the knowledge to be able to approach the role from a different perspective.
New Chain of Office
I welcome the new chain of office which is representative of the entire municipal district and it’s important because the town of Killarney and the hinterland, stretching to our other towns of Castleisland, my own native Rathmore and the wider communities, co-exist and are very much interlinked in our daily lives, whether through sport, through music, through work or through socialising.
I want to be a mayor that is representative of this wider community and to further promote inclusivity and dialogue among all groups, both commercial and voluntary.
Castleisland Chamber Alliance
I look forward to working with groups such as the Chamber of Tourism and Commerce in Killarney, the Chamber in Castleisland, Rathmore Community Council and with the many community, voluntary and sporting organisations in the towns and villages of the Killarney Municipal District.
This is important as it’s only through dialogue and sharing each other’s experiences and motivations that we all move forward together, working for the greater good of our community as a whole.
Special and Unique District
We have a special and unique district and I believe we are the well placed to achieve many things but we need to constantly strive to build on this and make our community the best place to grow up in, to be educated in, to work in, to do business in and to grow old in.
I have a number of priorities as mayor which I hope to make progress on during my term in office. Parking and traffic management in Killarney is a major issue and we need to develop extra parking spaces. The Upper Lewis Road junction leading on the bypass road, along with a number of other junctions such as Madam’s Hill, Coolcaslagh and Pike Hill all need to be made safer and I look forward to working with my colleagues to bring that about.
Of Unique Importance
Buildings like the Aras Phádraig and the Pretty Polly site are of unique importance to the town and I want to ensure that these sites are developed and life brought back into them and creating employment for our town.
My own town of Rathmore needs major development to one make it brighter, both during the day in its appearance and at night and we need a vastly upgraded public lighting system there to entice business back onto our Main Street and to reopen some of the units closed during the recession.
Castleisland’s Vacant Units
Castleisland has many similar difficulties in that there are many vacant units. We need to introduce a rates incentive scheme for non-competing new businesses and proactively deal with the long-term parking difficulties on the Main Street as well as the lack of a proper infrastructure to allow safe turning around at the top of the town.
I have been in favour of broadcasting our meetings on the Internet and as we haven’t been able to deliver this, for a variety of reasons, I’m hoping to bring our meetings into the heart of communities we represent. Instead of meeting in the same place all the time, I believe we should also go out into the community and meet the people, by hosting at least one meeting in our three towns and also for example at our airport where we can sit down with the stakeholders to see how we can help to promote this vitally important asset in our municipal district.
Not Afraid to Work Hard
I’m not afraid to work hard and I’m passionate about the work I do. I am never afraid to speak my mind but I won’t speak for the sake of it and if I feel it’s for the betterment of the people and the area we live in, I shall continue speaking out for the people and raising their concerns.
Coming from a business background, I find it very hard sometimes to deal with the over-the-top bureaucracy which an organisation such as this can sometimes experience. I accept that we have to work within boundaries, however, but I just hope we can work smarter and faster to get the job done which has to be to everyone’s aspiration.
The Year Ahead
In the year ahead I pledge to work with all the elected members and the executive in the best interests of the people of the Killarney Municipal District to ensure our communities can go from strength to strength.
I would finally like to thank my family as without their support and patience, serving in elected office would not be possible. I truly appreciate the support they have given me, not just today but over the years.
Many thanks again to you all.”
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