John Cribbin elected new cathaoirleach of Claremorris/Swinford municipal district

Ballyhaunis Councillor John Cribbin of Fine Gael is the new cathaoirleach of Claremorris/Swinford Municipal District, taking over from his party colleague Councillor Neil Cruise.

The election took place this afternoon in Swinford Cultural Centre.

Accepting the position, Councillor Cribben said he didn't come with a shopping list or wish list but was hoping to see councillors continuing to work together going forward.

He pointed out to his colleagues that they had come through five of the most difficult years in the history of the state, all of which was beyond their control.

Those difficulties started with Brexit, which impacted every sector of society, continued with the Covid-19 pandemic, from which some people have not fully recovered, and went from that into the war in Ukraine, with the consequences of that being felt by every man, woman and child through an increased cost of living.

However, Councillor Cribbin said he would prefer to focus on the positives, and there are many in what is the largest municipal district in the county and one of the largest in the country.

“We have seven large-ish towns with some of the finest infrastructure, services and facilities, serving a population of 45,000 people. Our duty to them is to deliver basic services,” the new cathaoirleach said.

He added that they were fortunate in the Claremorris/Swinford MD to have excellent staff and a willingness to work together as councillors for the best of everyone.

“Let's build on the positives and let's continue working together to deliver the basic services we are elected to do.”

Councillor Michael Burke, who was elected leas cathaoirleach, said he had no doubt Councillor Cribbin would do a great job as cathaoirleach.

He hoped it would be a busy year as normality starts to return a little bit.

The leas cathaoirleach did raise the issue of the chairman of the Claremorris/Swinford MD not having anything such as a mayoral chain or medal to signifty the role when at functions.

“It's something we should look at for recognition for the chairman of the MD,” he said. “We seem to be on the hind quarter when it comes to certain things.”

Joanne Grehan, director of services, and Padraic Flanagan, head of the MD, both congratulated Councillor Cribbin and Councillor Burke on their elections.

Ms. Grehan assured them of the full support of the team, while Mr. Flanagan said they were fortunate to have the staff and councillors that they have.

Both officials also praised Councillor Cruise following his year in office, as did the other members of Claremorris/Swinford MD.

In wishing Councillors Cribbin and Burke all the best for the year ahead, many of the other councillors said that not alone was theirs the biggest MD in the county, but it was probably the best as well – and a large reason for that was their ability to work together collectively, members and staff.

The Fine Gael party has an agreement in place with Sinn Féin Councillor Gerry Murray for the rotation of key roles on the municipal district committee.