Cllr Jerome Scanlan is the new cathaoirleach of Newcastle West area
REVITALISING Newcastle West and making it a “living town” will be a key priority of the new cathaoirleach of the Newcastle West Municipal District, Cllr Jerome Scanlan.
“I am looking forward to the year,” Cllr Scanlan said, after he had been voted unanimously into the position when the area’s six councillors met this Wednesday for the first time since the local elections.”
“In the year ahead, I would like to think we would start something for the renewal of Newcastle West,” he said. “We need to make it a living town. There are too many unoccupied properties that, in my opinion, could become residential
Afterwards, the Fine Gael poll-topper elaborated on his objective, pointing out that residential levels in the centre of Newcastle West had fallen drastically. “We need to have housing for people in the centre of the town, in the old streets like Maiden St and Bridge St,” he said.
“We also need to get the Director of Service and the council executive to buy into this. They have to buy into it, otherwise it won’t happen,” he said, arguing that the council management needed to take the lead on the issue as they had done in the city.
“The council took the lead role in revitalising the city centre, with the Hanging Gardens and so on. To date they have done a good job in the city. Something similar needs to done out here,” he said.
“Our villages are very significant as well, ”he added. “If it weren’t for the community and voluntary efforts we would be in a bad way.” Cllr Scanlan said he intended to make representations to Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan in his bid to renew and revitalise the county town, he said.
First-time councillor Tom Ruddle was elected as Leas-Cathaoirleach. He was also keen to see renewal in Newcastle West and would “try to drive on more progress in the town.”
But he added: “I would like to see us put out a positive spin about the town,” pointing out that there were a lot of good things happening there, including the Development Association. “I think that will work very well with the council,” he said.
Earlier, outgoing Cathaoirleach, John Sheahan said he had enjoyed his two terms of office as Cathaoirleach. “We had a job of work to do to get more recognition among our community groups” he said pointing out that it was a new title and position. Over the next five years, he added, they would be able to beef it up more.
He congratulated councillors on their election or re-election. “I am sure you are all biting at the bit to get down to business,” he said. Tributes were paid to Seamus Browne who failed to be re-elected for Sinn Fein.
“We lost an excellent and very hard-working councillor in Cllr Browne,” Cllr Scanlan said, describing him as a marvellous contributor to the LCDC. Cllr Liam Galvin also wished him well.