Caffrey to retire as Council Chief Executive in March

Councillors pay tribute as Tim Caffrey's retirement is confirmed

Longford County Council chief executive Tim Caffrey has announced his intention to retire in March.

Cathaoirleach, Gerry Warnock confirmed the news to elected members at last week’s council meeting.

He said he had received notification of the Council CEO’s intentions in accordance with Section 145 of the Local Government Act 2001.

The Dublin native took over the role in 2006, assuming the mantle from predecessor Michael Killeen.

In his role as Cathaoirleach, Cllr Warnock paid a glowing tribute to Mr Caffrey’s decade long time in charge.

Cllr Warnock said Mr Caffrey’s steely resolve in fighting off the effects of Ireland’s post Celtic Tiger collapse was instrumental in Longford's gradual recovery.

He mentioned two key projects that Mr Caffrey was involved in - Center Parcs and the county's ongoing regen-eration plan.

“Without any stretch of the imagination Center Parcs was a massive coup for Longford,” he said, in direct reference to the planned 375 acre Longford Forest in Ballymahon.

“Any politician would love to claim credit for that but we have to take our hats off to Tim and his executive team who managed to bring that about.

“The other is a (regeneration) project which is particularly close to my heart and initiated in conjunction with the executive which I believe will be the biggest project this council will ever or has ever embarked on.

“This will set the blueprint for the entire economic regeneration of the entire county over the next five to ten years.”

Cllr Seamus Butler followed suit. He said Mr Caffrey’s influence would stand up to the most rigorous of scrutiny.

“I always found Tim extremely constructive. If you came with a good idea he would give you every support he possibly could.

“He was open and transparent in everything in that respect and his legacy will live on.

“He will be the man who was known to have brought the single biggest tourism investment project in Ireland to the county of Longford and that is some legacy.”

There were equally warm words from Cllr Luie McEntire, Cllr Gerald Farrell and Cllr Paraic Brady.

Cllr John Browne indirectly referred to the increased pressures on Mr Caffrey as a result of a Standards in Public Office (SIPO) inquiry into his conduct as Council CEO.

Stopping short of referring specifically to the report, Cllr Browne empathised with the predicament he now faced.

“I know it has been a difficult last 12 months, but I wish you well,” he told Mr Caffrey.

Taking his time to respond, Mr Caffrey said he had been left greatly humbled by what he had heard.

He said he had made many friends over the past ten years, including deceased former elected members Paddy Belton and Gerry Brady together with his wife, Elizabeth.

But it was the sense of enthusiasm and hard-working nature of the management setup he was leaving behind which he said, excited him most.

“You know, without saying, how much I love Longford and I have loved working with the staff and different councils,” he told elected members.

“I do think this is a county that is on the way up.

“The management structure that’s in place, those kinds of people are fantastic people, totally committed to Longford and have achieved so much in a very short space of time.

“That is the standard they have set for themselves over the next five to ten years and I am really looking forward to watching everything that’s going on.

“I will miss you but I will never forget you,” he concluded.