*Mayor of the Ennis Municipal District, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) with her husband Tony. Photograph: Eamon Ward

ELECTED as Mayor of the Ennis Municipal District for the third time, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) was ‘incredibly privileged’ and emotional as she took ownership of the mayoral chains for the next twelve months.

Quin native Clare was elected as Mayor of the Ennis MD at Thursday’s AGM when she received the backing of her fellow elected representatives. First elected to Clare County Council in 2014, she has held the post for each of the three terms she has been on the local authority. She succeeds her party colleague, Cllr Pat Daly (FF).

Newly elected Cllr Antoinette Baker Bashua (FF) proposed Clare as Mayor, “I’ve got to know her as a colleague and friend over last several months, my journey into politics was quite swift, I decided to enter 12 months ago, I spoke to Clare Colleran Molloy, she was so generous with her time and information, she will make a great mayor”.

Seconding the nomination, Cllr Tom O’Callaghan (FF) commented, “it is a fantastic achievement to enter your third term, I wish you luck in your role. At all times we’ve been very respectful, you are a very hard worker”. Cllr Daly stated, “you have a lot of experience, you have ten years of politics put down, I remember when you were elected with great celebrating in West County, you’ve shown the ability”.

Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy. Photograph: Eamon Ward

Chief Executive of Clare County Council, Pat Dowling in a new departure attended the AGM of the Ennis MD but was not present for the AGMs of any other Municipal District in the county. He noted that Cllr Colleran Molloy was taking over “for the start of the first chapter” of a new phase within the Council and for the county town. He said it was “a great opportunity” for the new Mayor and that she would have the “full support of all my staff and office”.

Addressing the meeting, Cllr Colleran Molloy said it was “a pleasure” to be joined by the Chief Executive who “rushed down from Dublin where you were involved in business for the county, I’m delighted you could make it”. She paid tribute to the “excellent staff” in the Council “working behind the scenes who make us look so good”.

With family and friends seated in the public gallery, Clare said she was very thankful for their presence. “It is an incredible privilege for me to be elected Mayor of Ennis, it is the largest town in Munster and sixth largest in Ireland, I’ve been elected Mayor for the third time”. She becomes the first councillor to have served as Ennis MD Mayor for a third time.

Singling out her husband Tony Molloy, “a wonderful man and my best friend,” Clare became emotional. “I’ve been lucky to have two husbands in this life, my first Carl died in 2001”. She looked towards her family members, siblings, nieces and nephews and said, “having you here is incredibly emotional”.

Mary Naughton Foley’s efforts as Clare’s campaign manager for the local elections were also praised, “she is such an incredible woman in terms of support and organisational skills, without her I don’t know how the election campaign would run, she told me where to be and not what to say”.

Acknowledging her fellow elected representatives, Clare admitted, “I am so glad that we now have a second female in Ennis representing Fianna Fáil, we still haven’t decreased the number of female councillors in Ennis but it needs to improve going forward”. She continued, “I would like to congratulate all newly elected councillors. Tom O’Callaghan, I congratulate you on your election for the first time, I heartily congratulate Mary and Paul on re-election in spite of particularly challenges faced by us, I congratulate Pat Daly for 25 years of service and his recent appointment as Economic Dev SPC Chair”.

Recalling that her own election campaign began on March 8th in Kilnamona, Clare was able to “remember vividly” the engagement on the doors with Nicholas Rynne and Michael McTigue, most notably their second stop, “the gentleman at the door actually thanked me for coming to the door to ask for a vote. He was of course referencing the fragility of democracy and the hard work both by the candidates and the voters required to preserve it”.

Questioning from young canvassers, Grace Hanley (16) and Zoe Colleran (16) were among the “happier times” during a “gruelling campaign,” she recounted. “They are two young women who have been energised on getting to understand how democracy how it has its say every five years”.

On why she decided to seek re-election, Clare outlined, “I do not want to say upon reflection in later years that I ‘woulda, coulda or shoulda’, it was something my late husband Carl said on past choices not taken. It is often said women have to work ten times harder in politics so we need to work together”.

Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy. Photograph: Eamon Ward

She continued, “the whole process of Irish democracy starts here at the local level, it is really democracy at its truest and purest form where the personal vote is most important”. She said, “We are seven of twenty eight councillors that stand elected the people that voted us to this position expect action, they expect us to collaborate and mindful consensus decision does not mean everyone agrees or that some have changed ideas and perspective. There are exciting times ahead, we’ve so much to look forward to, upgraded realm works and new civic spaces, a town bus service which will be in situ of Q1 2025, the cultural quarter in our new library, work is underway for the Ennis local transport plan, we have key active travel projects which include initiating works on Tulla Rd allowing safe travel for students from the motorway right to the centre of town to cause people to be less reliant on cars. We all love Ennis and our great Banner County”.

First-time councillor, Baker Bashua was elected as Deputy Mayor of the Ennis MD. “She is only in the Chamber a few weeks, this is her first Ennis MD meeting, she is like a woman that has been around here for forty years,” remarked Cllr Daly when proposing his party colleague.

Cllr Antoinette Baker Bashua and Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy. Photograph: Eamon Ward

Seconding the proposal, Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) said, “it gives me great privilege and honour to second that proposal. I am only getting to know Antoinette but going by the feedback, I am hearing that she has been around and is well respected, she will be an able deputy”.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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