By Dan Walsh at Enniscorthy Council Chamber
History was made in the Presentation Centre this afternoon at the annual general meeting of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council where Cllr Aidan Browne (Fianna Fáil) was elected Cathaoirleach even though he wasn’t in the chamber!
Cllr Browne was appearing by zoom when his name was proposed by Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy, who told the meeting that Cllr Browne came from a long family tradition in politics – Sean Browne (grand-uncle), John Browne (uncle) and current Minister James Browne (first cousin) – he was elected at the first attempt in 2019, works hard and was committed to his role. Cllr Kathleen Codd-Nolan (seconded), there was no other nomination and Cllr Browne was deemed elected, although since he wasn’t present ‘in person’ there was no formal handing over of the chain by outgoing Cathaoirleach, Cllr Cathal Byrne, but he was given a round of applause. There were many voices offering ‘congratulations’
Cllr Browne thanked his fellow councillors and officials for their support and outlined a number of issues that he wishes the Council can progress during his term in office. “Enniscorthy is a great place to live,” he said, but he also outlined other parts of the district, especially Ferns and Bunclody, and he promised to “work hard for the town” and hoped “we, all six of us can work together.”
Matters in the chamber were less cordial when the nomination for Leas-Cathaoirleach topped the agenda. Cllr Kathleen Codd proposed Cllr Cathal Byrne (Fine Gael) and Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy seconded. No other name was proposed, and Cllr Byrne was duly elected as understudy to Cllr Browne and the pair promised to work closely together during the coming year.
Cllr Jackser Owens objected. “There are six councillors, and each councillor should have an opportunity to fill the position but for years now Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have excluded the Independents. It is wrong, it is greed, it is about power. Every councillor should have an opportunity to be Chair or Vice-Chair of the Council,” he concluded.
The meeting concluded after members agreed to maintain the usual practice of holding the monthly meetings on the third Monday of every month at 3pm.