A HISTORIC first meeting of the Claremorris/Swinford Municipal District was held in Mayo County Council's Claremorris offices this morning (Wednesday).
A third of the council's elected members – 10 councillors – sit on the local area authority and they sent a clear message to the executive that they'll be looking for a third of the resources come budget time for an area that extends from Shrule in south Mayo to Sraheen, just outside Foxford.
Swinford electoral area had previously been split into three sections and fell between the Castlebar, Ballina and Claremorris MDs. Realigned for the recent local elections, all the Swinford area councillors will now sit on the new Claremorris-Swinford MD.
Claremorris-based Councillor Tom Connolly was elected cathaoirleach of the MD. The Fine Gael member defeated Fianna Fáil's John Caulfield in a vote, 6-4.
Along with his own vote, five members voted in favour of Connolly – his FG party colleagues Michael Burke, John Cribben, Neil Cruise and Patsy O'Brien and Sinn Féin's Gerry Murray.
Caulfield has support from his FF colleagues Damien Ryan and Michael Smyth and Independent member Richard Finn.
The position of leas-chathaoirleach was also decided by a similar vote in favour of FG's Patsy O'Brien, again defeating Kilkelly-based Councillor Caulfield 6-4.