The political future of Longford Town Mayor Cllr James Keogh is the subject of heightened speculation this evening after a local business group called for his immediate resignation.
Longford Chamber of Commerce President, Seamus Butler, speaking on behalf of its members, said Cllr Keogh’s position at the helm of Longford Town Council has become untenable following comments made by the Fine Gael representative at last week’s annual budget meeting.
He said Cllr Keogh’s outburst, in which he said he had no longer had confidence in the town, was both misleading and inappropriate.
“We understand Mayor Keogh has moved to Nottingham in the UK,” he said in a strongly worded statement sent to the Leader earlier today (Friday).
“It is therefore not surprising that he should state publically, he has no confidence in Longford. This is disgraceful comment to make as Longford’s first citizen and totally incompatible with his role as Mayor.”
Mr Butler, himself a former county councillor, was equally upset at comments made by Cllr Keogh in relation to the long awaited opening of the N4/N5 bypass later this year.
In a short, but forthright assessment of how the new carriageway will impact upon businesses locally, Mr Keogh claimed there would be no shoppers left in the county town as a result of its long awaited introduction.
Mr Butler, however, this afternoon hit back, branding Cllr Keogh’s outburst as an “appalling lack of leadership” and one which required the Longford publican to step down from his role as Mayor.
“There are many of us who believe in the future of Longford and strive daily to make it a better place. Furthermore, contrary to Mayor Keogh’s view, we believe the completion of the N4/N5 bypass will have very positive long term benefits for Longford Town.
“He should immediately resign as both Mayor and his seat on the Town Council and let someone who has the interests of Longford at heart replace him,” added Mr Butler.
The chamber president said the onus was now on the remaining eight Town Councillors to issue a vote of ‘no confidence’ in Cllr Keogh’s leadership.
“Should Mayor Keogh not resign immediately, of his own volition, then he should be removed from office by his fellow councillors. The Town Council will struggle to maintain any shred of credibility if they fail to take action in this respect,” Mr Butler added.
*For more on this story, see next Wednesday’s Longford Leader.