It was history in the making last Friday in Longford when Cllr Larry Bannon (FG) became mayor of the county at local authority headquarters.
Cllr Bannon, who is the brother of Deputy James Bannon has been in the local political arena for the last 10 years, and is one of two brothers who have become the first to both serve as county mayor, as prior to his election to Dáil Eireann, Deputy James Bannon also served his tenure as first citizen of the county.
Cllr Peggy Nolan (FG) who proposed Cllr Bannon for mayor, said that he was “a kind, considerate and passionate councillor who holds Longford very dear”. Following his election, Mayor Bannon said that it was an historical day for his family. “James was here before me, so I am the second to serve and it is an honour for me,” he added. “Today is a day tinged with sadness because Paddy Belton is no longer here with us; I sat beside him and he always gave me advice, help and support.”
The new county mayor then went on to speak about the economic climate and his determination to secure business investment and jobs in this county.
“Despite the difficult economic climate, we have achieved a lot in Co Longford; we have new fire stations, schools and a €500,000 investment in Granard Library,” Cllr Bannon continued. “In the coming year, jobs will be a priority, and I am hopeful that we can attract business and investment. I want to see more money allocated for roads and infrastructure.”
Meanwhile, tributes poured in for outgoing mayor, Cllr Céan Farrell (FG) who was presented with a Michael Casey bog oak piece by County Manager, Tim Caffrey.
“I want to thank you Séan for what was a great year,” he said, adding that there had been a wonderful working relationship between everyone concerned.
“It was a year of great highs and real sadness,” Cllr Farrell said.
“It was a huge honour to be mayor of this county and a great privilege to be at the Longford Association’s Dinner Dance in New York. Abbeyshrule winning the national Tidy Towns awards was a wonderful occasion for me, and being chair of the Gathering Sub Committee has been very heartening and a rewarding experience. It was also an honour for me to speak at the unveiling of the Séan MacEoin monument in Ballinalee just a few weeks ago.”
The outgoing Mayor then went on to thank all those who had supported him on his political journey so far, and paid tribute to his fellow councillors, whom he said, “worked very hard for the betterment of the communities they serve”.