Cllr Michael Collins sets out stall as cathaoirleach
A CHRISTMAS Market and a new-look St Patrick’s Day Parade for Newcastle West are on Cllr Michael Collins’ wish-list for the coming year, during which he will be cathaoirleach of the Newcastle West Municipal District.
The Desmond Castle, “the jewel in our crown”, he suggested would be a “great showcase” for a Christmas Market and he hoped to work closely with business and community groups to make it a reality. “I think it is a fantastic location,” he added.
He also intended working with groups in the town to ensure there was a good Patrick’s Day parade in the county town. “It shouldn’t be contentious. It shouldn’t be stressful. It shouldn’t be a last minute effort,” he said, and he plans to call a meeting shortly to begin that process.
There has been a lot of investment in the district, Cllr Collins pointed out, citing the purchase of land for the Newcastle West Regional Athletics Hub and the purchase of Fullers Folly for a tourist office as well as money ringfenced for the Great Southern Greenway.
The swimming pool in Newcastle West had been a contentious issue for councillors, Cllr Collins continued but he hoped that a report due shortly would bring clarity, “irrespective of what the decision will be”.
Another project which the new cathaoirleach hopes to advance is the nurturing of a special relationship between Newcastle West and the Polish town of Peplin, given the large Polish population in Newcastle West. The Municipal District should be represented on the planned trip to Poland later in the year, he said.
Cllr Collins said he was looking forward to the completion of a traffic plan for Abbeyfeale and the launch of the Newcastle West five-year strategic plan. Rural communities, he said, are still very much behind after the recession and trying to catch up and he will be working closely with them. “It is a very exciting time to be cathaoirleach,” he said.
, adding that the role had changed “quite drastically” from the chairmanship of the old electoral area. “It is something more prominent.”