As he let go of the mayoral chains of Ennis, Cllr Paul Murphy reflected on the “fond memories” from his twelve months in the role and is now “looking forward” to regaining his seat away from the top table in the Council Chamber.
“From the off it was all very exciting. Last August we had the Fleadh and to see the crowds from Ennis with good weather, great music and to see everything run so smoothly, all the local agencies like the Guards, the Council, everybody not that they had done anything wrong the first year but they certainly learned from that, it ran from clock work last year down to the camping sites in Clarecastle and all around the place, everything went off brilliantly there so that was a great start to my year”.
One regular feature from Cllr Murphy’s tenure was the amount of awards he had to receive on behalf of the town, a positive complaint certainly. “All the Tidy Towns awards albeit the top award still slipped by us but to get the friendliest place in Ireland award, the cleanest town from IBAL, that was fantastic considering we’ve had big issues with them over the last few years on how they adjudicated the town. All the festivals locally, the Trad Fest, the Street Fest is coming up again, it’s been brilliant I have to say from start to finish. Just yesterday (Thursday) I signed the strategic plan for Ennis going forward for the next twenty odd years so that’s a big thing that’s going to be happening and it’s been great. The support from my colleagues and the staff in the Council over the last twelve months has been second to none”.
With the position only lasting for twelve months, the Clarecastle man feels one cannot achieve too much as Mayor. “From my point of view coming into it last year people said ‘what are your goals’. It’s very hard to set goals, twelve months is a very short time in local politics, personally I believe it’s a cog that’s constantly turning and it’s to the members of the Council and the staff to be, it’s about looking at the longer term goals for Ennis, I do think that with the 2040 Strategic Plan to try and get economic activity improving in the town, if we can get going to try and get more industry and jobs in Ennis that would be good going forward. It’s up to us being the elected members and the staff aswell of course the Executive to make it happen and I’ve no doubt that will happen going forward”.
Although he will be back in his normal seat in the Council chamber, the Fine Gael councillor will now serve as Deputy Mayor. This has become regular procedure in the Ennis Municipal District as Paul follows in the footsteps of Cllr Ann Norton who was his predecessor as Mayor and Deputy Mayor. He’s thankful to Norton for the help she gave and is more than happy to do the same for Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy.
“It was good to be able if I was in doubt to be able to pick up the phone to Ann to say how did you tease this one out or whatever. Call it a bit of backup to Clare, we get on well, we live not too far away from each other so I look forward to giving her the support that she deserves”.
His first priority as an elected member of the Council is to represent the people in his constituency, he feels being Mayor can restrict the amount of issues one can bring to the floor. “You do get more of a chance to open your mouth, not that you’re trying to create noise but when you’re in the Chair you’re trying to be impartial and trying to give everyone sitting in front of you the chance to air their views and by the time it comes back to you most of it has been said already anyway and if there’s one thing I hate it’s repetition, I’m looking forward to being down in the main chamber there”.