Newly reinstated Granard Municipal District Cathaoirleach PJ Reilly believes north Longford is on the cusp of a major upturn in its economic and societal fortunes.
The Abbeylara native used his maiden speech to advertise the virtues of a region which is steadily re-establishing itself from years of fiscal uncertainty.
“It is a great honour for me to be elected Cathaoirleach of Granard Municipal District,” he said in front of his fellow member and a small gathering of local constituents.
The long serving public representative said there was plenty for the wider public to admire and be proud about.
The district's numerous lakes, unspoilt scenery and rapidly developing tourism potential were just some to come in for particular mention.
Cllr Reilly's reinstallation as Cathaoirleach was made all pertinent given the venue for the AGM was in the Fianna Fáil politician's home parish.
During his acceptance speech, Cllr Reilly underlined the importance municipal districts play in the workings of local democracy.
Evidence of this, he said, was in the numerous projects which had come on stream since their inception three years ago.
“I think we, the six councillors that sit on Granard Municipal District have your best interests at heart and work well as a team,” he said.
“We have a lot to be proud of here in north Longford despite the fact Center Parcs is coming to Ballymahon.”
Given the surroundings he found himself in last Tuesday, Cllr Reilly took time to praise the volunteering efforts which had gone in to making Abbeylara's state of the art parish centre a reality.
“Fr Michael Campbell, our parish priest here played a huge, huge effort to get it built,” he said
They were sentiments, Director of Services John Brannigan underlined as he told of the continued committment Longford County Council had to the area.
Just as there were uplifting messages of what locals could look forward to, there were spatterings of impromptu humour also.
Indicating that the afternoon's proceedings were not akin to more robust local authority meetings, Cllr Reilly quipped to those watching on from the floor: “You are not going to see a row today I'm afraid.”
Not to be outdone, Cllr Paraic Brady pointed to the absence of Dromard Cllrs Luie McEntire and John Duffy, inferring their absences might have been linked to the “tough battles” their club side had endured with Abbeylara over the years.
The meeting, which was observed by a number of local residents, saw Fine Gael's Micheál Carrigy elected to the position of Leas Cathaoirleach.