With a little over a week to go until polling day in the local elections, one outgoing member of Mayo County Council has expressed regret at not putting his name forward again.
As he addressed a meeting of Ballina Municipal District for the final time today, Councillor Gerry Ginty said: “I deeply regret not running. I feel I've let the people of Ballina down by not running.”
Confirming that he will miss being a public representative, Councillor Ginty nevertheless made the point that once he leaves he won't interfere with the work of the council.
With regard to his constituents, he said the people who voted for him did not do so to get something done but rather for him to be a voice for those who do not have a voice, and for fairness and respect for everyone.
“I have endeavoured to be fair to everyone but because of the strong views I hold, I've made a few enemies and ruffled a few feathers over the years. If I have hurt people I apologise for that personal hurt, but not for saying what had to be said.”
Reflecting on the system of local government currently in place, he said he bemoaned the fact that town councils were abolished, to an extent. It would be very important to the different regions if municipal districts had the power to strike a rate, as town councils had. That would make them 'real councils'.
Outlying areas, neglected by Mayo County Council for a long time, benefited from the change to municipal districts, but the bigger towns have suffered. “There should be a system whereby money generated in this area is spent in this area,” he argued. “Ballina people generally feel the town has lost out with the new system (of local government).”
Glancing around the council chamber at Ballina Civic Offices, Councillor Ginty reflected on the fact that he was probably the only person to attend meetings in three different buildings in the town, and one more time he thanked the people of Ballina who voted him in down through the years.
“It was an honour to have served and represented the people,” he concluded.