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John Kennedy New Incoming Mayor Of North Tipperary

New Mayor J.Kennedy (Labour) with Family Friends.

Labour Party Councillor John Kennedy, Thurles, Co. Tipperary is the new incoming Mayor of North Tipperary for 2010/2011.

Mr Kennedy took over from Councillor Denis Ryan,Fine Gael, Roscrea, at the Annual Meeting of North Tipperary County Council which was held in the Tipperary Institute on Monday 28th June last. His term will run from 28th June 2010 until the next Annual Meeting  which will be held in June 2011.

Speaking at the Annual Meeting Mayor Kennedy stated:

“We all know that we are currently going through difficulty times and that the recession is impacting on everyone – families, householders and businesses alike.  This creates a greater demand for services while at the same time the resources of the County Council are restricted and the same level of funding is not available to provide these services.  During my term as Mayor one of my priorities will be to focus the attention of the Council on doing anything that can be done to create and maintain employment in North Tipperary.  We have often debated in the past the need for job creation and called on agencies such as the I.D.A., Enterprise Ireland and Shannon Development to ensure that the needs of North Tipperary are met.  I will during the coming year be renewing these calls and ensuring that the voice of North Tipperary is heard and that the message goes out that North Tipperary is open for business.  In addition we must do everything we can to support our existing indigenous industries and to encourage their further development.  There is a challenge to us all to support our own local businesses in every way we can.

The demand for our services continues to grow because of the recession and the numbers on the housing waiting lists are a concern to us all.  At the same time the capital funding for the building programme has been seriously reduced.  We are all aware of the numbers of vacant houses that have been constructed and which are lying idle across the County.  I am therefore calling on the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government to provide a special allocation to allow the Council to purchase these houses for the purposes of taking people off the waiting list.  This would have a two-fold benefit in that it would meet housing need quickly without having to go through the protracted procedure of land acquisition and house construction and it would help alleviate the financial positions of developers who are left with these houses on their hands.

While on the question of housing and householders it is appropriate that I also highlight another area which is of huge concern to me and which has also been referred to at previous Council meetings.  This is the huge stress and pressure that is on individuals because of their level of debt, whether it be mortgage related or personal borrowing.  This borrowing was taken out at a time when the financial position of borrowers was completely different.  While acknowledging the need for individuals to take responsibility for their borrowing there is a need for financial institutions to work with borrowers to achieve workable solutions to the spiraling debt problems based on their current resources and changed circumstances.  Debt is a cause of stress to so many and this stress is being added to by the approach being taken by many of the institutions.  I am sending out a call to financial institutions to work with people and not to increase the pressure that is already such a burden on so many.

The fourth area that I would consider is a priority is ensuring that resources are available at the end of year – both staffing and financial – to deal with the types of situations that arose at the end of 2009/beginning of 2010 as a result weather conditions.  We need to be able to ensure that people can travel safely on our roads and that the good work that is done each year through our Roadworks Programmes is not undone by the effects of rain, ice and snow.  We need to ensure that roads are treated when and where required.  We need to ensure that public water supplies are maintained in severe weather conditions.  We need to ensure that problems which arise are dealt with, quickly and effectively.  Special funding needs to be put in place to ensure that this can be achieved.

While all areas of North Tipperary will be of importance to me during the coming year, I must mention one particular project which is close to my heart.  During the next twelve months I would dearly love to see further progress on the Thurles Ring Road and to see actual commencement of work on the ground for this project which is so important to the people of Thurles.

As Mayor, I will work with everyone in the interests of North Tipperary and it is my intention to ensure that there is honest and open debate in the Council Chamber where everyone has equal opportunity to air their views.  We are all elected to serve the people of North Tipperary and we can best serve them by working together for a common goal rather than through political point-scoring.

I also look forward to working with the Manager and staff.  We are all aware of the good work that continues to be done by the dedicated staff at all levels throughout the Council while at the same time the limited resources available and the moratorium on recruitment has made it more difficult to maintain current levels of services.  As area members we appreciate particularly the work done by the outdoor staff, often in very difficult conditions.  We also will have a new County Manager from August. I know that you the members will do what you can to help him settle back in his native County and I look forward to working with him in the future.

There is no doubt we are going through difficult times.  We will be facing into adopting a budget at a time when resources do not meet demands and we will have difficult decisions to make however I am confident that we can work together to overcome our difficulties and to use our resources for the benefit of our communities.  We have a county that we can be proud of and it is our task to make sure that we remain the Premier County.”

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