If Longford’s new Cathaoireach has his way, the next 12 months will have little bearing on party politics.
Cllr Mark Casey said it was his intention to ensure each member of Longford’s new look 18 member council pulled together for the betterment of the county.
“It is up to every councillor to wear the Longford jersey,” he said, as he received his seal of office from Chief Executive Officer Tim Caffrey.
The Independent councillor admitted he was well aware of the many issues facing Longford households, but said the time had come for people to put on a united front.
Housing woes, deteriorating road conditions and dealing with the likes of litter and anti-social behaviour were ills that would not go away, he said.
But equally, there were many positives he stressed which needed to be championed between now and 2015.
“No other county has had as many Tidy Towns (winners) as we have had and it is so important that we talk ourselves up,” he told his fellow councillors.
“We also have a huge diverse industry which we can use to try and entice more industry into our area.”
Besides the rallying nature of Cllr Casey’s acceptance speech, there were also key and specific objectives attached.
Among them included a desire to extend the regional canal walkway from Westmeath to Longford, opening a Shannon Wilderness Park, developing tourism and setting up a commemorative 1916 committee.
“It is up to every Longford councillor to put on the Longford jersey,” he said, as he turned his attention to the county’s lack of inward investment.
“Of the 78 IDA projects last year, 55 went to Dublin and not one came to Longford.”
Newly installed Leas Cathaoirleach, Cllr Seamus Butler agreed.
“We have a myriad of problems i n Longford, but we have a huge number of assets too. We have one of the finest inland parks in the country and an 18 hole golf course within the town limits.
“These are the sort of assets we have to build on, but we are going to have to do it for ourselves,” he said.
“If we, as a council, work together we can make a real difference over the next five years.”