*Chief Executive of Clare County Council, Pat Dowling. Photograph: Eamon Ward

CHIEF EXECUTIVE of Clare County Council, Pat Dowling is to extend his contract by three years.

Appointed for a seven year term in September 2016 with the option of a three year extension, Dowling has informed the Department of Local Government and the Public Appointments Service that he wishes to avail of that extension.

Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Cllr Tony O’Brien (FF) on Monday informed elected representatives of the local authority that the Chief Executive “has notified me of his intention to extend the tenure of his contract”.

O’Brien added, “we are welcoming him for another three years” and his comment was followed by a round of applause from county councillors.

A native of Knockaderry in Co Limerick, Pat resides in Kilkee, his initial appointment was confirmed in June 2016 when he was announced as Tom Coughlan’s successor, the position comes with a salary of €133,072 per annum.

Prior to this, he was Deputy Chief Executive for Limerick City and County Council with responsibility for Social Development, whilst there he was assigned the task of managing the merger of the former Limerick City Council and Limerick County Council and in charting a new operating model in arriving at a unified authority for Limerick.

He joined Limerick Corporation in 1999 having previously worked in youth work, Macra na Feirme and rural development with Kildare Leader Company. The UL graduate previously completed an internship with the United Nations.

During his time with Clare County Council, Dowling was heavily involved in the success of the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open held in Lahinch, the adaptation of the Council’s management structure which included the roll-out of the first rural development directorate of any Council in Ireland, the Council being named local authority of the year on two occasions plus having a key role in multiple successful funding announcements for the county.

Also under Dowling’s watch, the County Council has voted to implement the highest charge of local property tax on a consistent basis. He has always stressed the importance of the Council maintaining a balanced budget and noted his pride at the local authority never recording a deficit during his tenure.

Pat is a father of six and turns 61 this year. He is the youngest brother of Michael J. Dowling, the president and chief executive officer of Northwell Health.

Under provisions of the Local Government Reform Act 2014, the position of County/City Manager was replaced by that of Chief Executive. The chief executive performs the executive functions of the county or city council and has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring the local authority operates smoothly and for carrying into effect policy decisions of the elected council.

He or she supervises, co-ordinates, manages and pays the employees and officers of the council. He or she also makes contracts on behalf of the council and affixes the official seal of the council on documents. The current legislation governing chief executives is Chapter 2 of Part 14 of the Local Government Act 2001, as substituted by the Local Government Reform Act 2014.

Clare County Council has responsibility for a population of over 118,000 people, with an annual budget of €118m.

Ennis based Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) expressed his best wishes to Dowling who he said “has performed significantly well for the county, its citizens and its businesses” with Cllr Pat Daly (FF) also wishing the Chief Executive well “as he takes on another three years”.

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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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