The just elected Cathaoirleach an Bhardasaigh Oileán Chiarraí agus Corca Dhuibhne / Chair of the Castleisland / Corca Dhuibhne municipal District, Cllr. Fionnán Fitzgerald thanks his many colleagues friends and supporters for the honour bestowed on him.
In the piece below, Cathaoirleach Fitzgerald outlines the issues of outstanding importance to him as he embarks on his year in office.
“Mo Chairde go léir, is onóir fíor-mhór domsa inniu an suíochán seo, Cathaoirleach an Bhardasaigh Oileán Chiarraí agus Corca Dhuibhne, a thógaint. Tógaim é ar son gach duine a thug cabhair domsa I ngach slí i rith mo shaol.
I feel humbled, privileged and honoured to be elected as Chair of The Castleisland Corca Dhuibhne Municipal District.
A large number of people have helped bring me to this day, my family, my community, the people of Castleisland to whom I owe a huge debt of honour.
My canvassing team who stood with me just over two years ago now.
Thanks to the GAA Community
I pay special thanks to the GAA community, my own club Ballymacelligott of whom I am lucky to be secretary, the County Board, the Tralee District Board and St. Kieran’s District Board and all the clubs between.
The GAA Community is a noble and forthright community who do good and give good for their community at a rate comparable to an organisation ran by people who are paid to do a job.
I have learned so much in my various roles within the GAA over the years that has helped and aided me enormously in my role now as a Kerry County Councillor.
The Public Servant
Since a child I have always been fascinated by the role of ‘The Public Servant.’ To forego public ambition and give oneself to service of people is a noble and exalted way of life. It is more than a job – it is a service.
I have been familiar with the teaching profession but neighbours and friends have been workers in Kerry County Council. I have regularly been struck with the similarities between teachers and Kerry County Council workers.
You need only look around the room here!!!! They look like teachers, they talk like teachers and they sound like teachers!!!!
Putting it on Record
I put on record here the huge help they all have been to us, many new councillors, over the past two years.
They have gone over, above and beyond in helping us and the people we represent.
My childhood view of ‘The Public Servant’ has only increased since being elected to Kerry County Council.
My thanks to all the councillors who have supported me today in electing me to this position. I respect ye all and always try to work a politics of consensus rather than a politics of division.
If we keep our eye on the issue, our focus on the problem, our eye on the ball as it were rather than ‘the man’ or ‘the player’ I think we will all come the better of it.
Issues that Need Focussing
We will, each of us, when this term of office is over, be able to say that we have contributed to Castleisland and Corca Dhuibhne over our time.
Whatever happens in the election after that, we will still be able to say that we, as a group, have developed and improved our area while we were together as a Municipal District.
There are many issues out there that need focussing on, that need representation, that need improvement.
I would like to highlight just a few that I would like to see progression on over the next year.
The issue of water and regular supply of water has become a huge problem in our area.
Water Issues after Mid-Night
A person rang me at half twelve the other night, in floods of tears that the house had no running water.
In the house that night were small children and an elderly person suffering with cancer.
We need to focus on the Health and Safety aspect of the problem as well as coming to improve namely, the water mains at Farranfore.
Farmers have offered me tanks and materials to hold fresh water in the case of a burst water pipe.
A Noble Gesture from Farmers
This is a noble gesture on the part of our farming community and I would expect nothing less.
But I am calling on Kerry County Council to provide tankards or tanks to be placed in public designated areas to allow people like that person who rang me to be able to at least get access to fresh water to allow for basic hygiene and cleanliness especially as we are still in a pandemic mode.
We need the current staff involved in repairing burst pipes to remain at their posts with Kerry County Council.
They know their job, they know the areas, we can ring them, they have our mobile numbers, they take calls far into the night.
Areas in Need of Improvement
I call for their contracts to remain exactly as they are with us in Kerry County Council.
The road infrastructure around the Glenageenty area needs improvement. It is a countywide facility and needs road infrastructure to match this fantastic resource.
The extension of the River Walk at Castleisland to me is a project that the people of the town and beyond are crying out for.
It is needed for recreational purposes, for the mental and physical health of us all.
Glounsharoon is an Issue
The viewing point at Glensharoon is an issue that benefits all and will tempt the tourist and traveller to ‘turn left’ for Castleisland.
Turning left coming from Limerick should be something we aspire to as councillors in this electoral area.
Application for funding to find a suitable setting to celebrate the story and legend that is Con Houlihan is now something that further focus needs to be centred on.
Con Houlihan, rugby, music, heritage, the castle, the History of this fabulous market town are things that need to be recognised and honoured.
Not just for Tourists
Not just for tourism purposes – which of course is vital. But also as a place to mark who we are as a people, as a community, where we come from, to educate our youth and to bed them in the values of the noble people of Castleisland and surrounds.
If we can achieve that over our time we will have laid down a marker, a standard bearer for future generations of Castleisland to which they will look to as the norm which they should aspire to.
The Importance of Mental Health
Mental Health is something that is close to my heart as a teacher.
I see regularly how important it is to maintain it and improve it. It is the same as physical health – it is something that you train for, you exercise for regularly.
The more you train and exercise your mental health – the better for yourself and those around you. The stigma around mental health exercises is something that is still real – we feel awkward
around it, we giggle at it, we recognise it but it is still not something that is part of common vocabulary.
A Bit of Head-Space
We say very easily that ‘my tendon is torn’, ‘that player has a hamstring injury’ but we do not yet say enough ‘I need a bit of headspace’ or ‘Can I call you back, my head is overloaded.’
There is nothing wrong with exercising your mental health or giving your person 60 seconds to check in with yourself and focus on how you are.
If a player can give two training sessions and a game – regularly every seven days – then why should mental health not get some time and be comfortable with it.
To that end I would like if my fellow councillors here, staff and media would allow one minute of silence and peace to recognise the importance of mental health, to help us focus on the strength within ourselves and to show that we are willing publicly to exercise mental health.”
The following are the results of the elections at the three Municipal District meetings.
Cllr. Johnnie Wall (FF) was elected Mayor of Tralee.
Cllr. Mikey Sheehy (FF) was elected as Deputy Mayor of Tralee. Cllr. Fionnán Fitzgerald (FF) was elected Cathaoirleach of the Castleisland-Corca Dhuibhne Municipal District.
Cllr. Michael O’Shea (FF) was elected as Leas-Cathaoirleach.
Cllr. Mike Kennelly (FG) was elected Cathaoirleach of the Listowel Municipal District and Cllr. Aoife Thornton (FG) was elected as Leas-Cathaoirleach
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