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*Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF). Photograph: Eamon Ward

QUIN NATIVE, CLLR Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) has been elected as the Mayor of the Ennis Municipal District for the second time.

At Friday’s Annual General Meeting of the Ennis MD, Cllr Colleran Molloy was proposed and seconded into the role by her party colleagues, Cllr Pat Daly (FF) and Cllr Mark Nestor (FF).

Elected to Clare County Council in 2014 after she edged out fellow parishioner, Ger O’Halloran (FG) to win the final seat for the MD on a marathon twentieth count. Five years later, she was the fourth of seven candidates elected, increasing more than doubling her first preference vote from 584 to 1,184.

During her eight years on the local authority, she has served as Cathaoirleach (Mayor) of Clare County Council (2020) and Mayor of the Ennis Municipal District (2018). She is also a board member at Limerick Clare Education Training (LCETB), Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) and the Ennis 2040 DAC.

Addressing the AGM, Clare said, “It is my great honour to serve a second term as Mayor of the Ennis Municipal District. This is especially so in a post COVID pandemic environment where my duties won’t mean being housebound which is the anthesis of what a Mayor is and is what I experienced as Cathaoirleach and Mayor of Clare”.

When planning her speech, the Latin phrase ‘Tempus fugit’ meaning time flies kept entering her mind as she reflected on her eight years as an elected member of the Council. She acknowledged the unwavering support from her family as she nodded to her husband Tony in the gallery along with her siblings Enda and Loretto.

Much has changed in the four years since she last wore the Ennis mayoral chains. “We’ve experienced great loss in our communities and in our families, I would like to take this moment to pay respect to my mum Dolly, my father in law Raymond, my dear sister in law, my brother in law John and my dear friend Margaret McMahon, they’ve all passed during this difficult and challenging period for us all”.

“It is a coveted role. As I did the last time serving as Mayor of the MD, I will exert every ounce of energy to serve people that put me in my seat,” Colleran Molloy stated.

Now based in Ballybeg, she admitted to being excited by the “extraordinary visionary plans for Ennis” and referred to Ennis 2040 as “a proactive policy” and “a plan that isn’t for stagnation but sets out a vibrancy for our county town. It is a document referred to by Ministers and when Ministers refer to documents, the funds will follow”.

Ennis’ reputation as a friendly, welcoming and clean town will “continue to excel,” she predicted. “Huge improvements” will be visible at The Height, Barrack St, O’Connell St and Bank Place, “it will be superb,” she outlined while praising the professionalism of staff in the MD.

Reference was made by the new Mayor to a survey conducted in the MD where 75 percent of respondents supporting pedestrianisation in the county town, “COVID has given us learning curve to accelerate the pedestrianisation of our county town,” she commented.

When putting forward the proposal, Cllr Daly recalled that his colleague had already been Mayor of the town and county “and is a barrister thrown in”. Cllr Nestor noted, “she has a number of project she hopes to get over the line, she has left a leaflet from the Ennis 2040 Plan beside me, hopefully it will be a successful and positive year”.

Outgoing Mayor, Cllr Ann Norton (IND) reflected, “We came into Clare County Council at the same time, we’ve worked extremely well together over the last eight years. We have done a huge amount of things together to make sure the people of our county and town get what they deserve. I know you coming in as Mayor of Ennis will do exceptional work”.

Touching on the impact of COVID-19 was important, Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) believed, “you spoke so eloquently and warmly of the impact of COVID on your family and our community”. He added, “you discussed various chapters in the book of Ennis and you will be the author in the next chapter. All families throughout the Ennis MD suffered, it was important you acknowledged that in an emotional speech”.

Cllr Mary Howard (FG) was elected to the role of Deputy Mayor for the next twelve months. She said of the new Mayor, “you will be a wonderful first citizen of Ennis, you love what you do and it shows”. Howard recalled that in her tenure as Mayor of Clare “I never got to leave the county, COVID has been tough on us all, we’re the walking wounded”.

A love of Ennis was highlighted by Mary, “I’m hugely proud of where I come from, we’ve an amazing town with wonderful people, we have hearts as big as ourselves. It’s the best place to live in and we want to make it better”.

Female involvement in politics must increase, she added, “We sit in a Chamber of 28 of which there are four women, it is appalling when you consider it is fifty percent of our population”.

In proposing Cllr Howard, Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) singled out her experience and “endless energy”. He acknowledged, “you were robbed of serving the role of Cathaoirleach properly during COVID. If Clare Colleran Molloy needs to call on Mary, she will be there for you and will step in the role with bells and whistles”. Cllr Flynn seconded the proposal of “an excellent candidate”. He said, “I’ve served with her since 2009 and have seen in that time how she is able to bring people together and energise them”. Mayor Colleran Molloy remarked, “I know we will work well together”.

 

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