Time to reflect on an important year and pass on the chains of office
Tonight’s Bray Municipal District meeting marked my last meeting as Cathaoirleach of Bray MD. It has been an honour and a privilege to represent the District and work with the community, the officials, and my fellow Councillors.
I would like to pay tribute to the many individuals community groups in the district who work consistently to make
Bray, Enniskerry & Kilmacanogue better places to live. From our Tidy Towns Groups, Family Resource Centres, Community Hall Committees, Sporting Clubs and Youth Groups. These unsung heroes put themselves forward to take on leadership roles, give their time and are committed to the work they do. I have had the privilege to meet and collaborate with these individuals and groups and see first hand the impact they are having.
Taking real action and working in meaningful way is of the upmost importance to me and I have focused on these areas over the last year, tackling issues that have been highlighted for many years and putting action in place to progress them.
For me, highlighting issues publicly and with the Council is important, but without doing anything concrete and getting stuck in to find a solution, the reality is that nothing will change and these issues facing the community will continue for the community.
I believe that community must always be at the centre of what we do and as such any actions we take as public representatives must have the community front and centre, not personal political gain, or exposure.
Some of the key successes for me during my term have been.
· The progress gathered on the development of a long overdue skate park for Bray which our community have been calling for this for years. The establishment of a working group with Bray Skateboard association as key stakeholders has led to the identification of a possible site. I am thrilled that Bray MD officials have taken this on board and are now preparing technical drawings to proceed to a part 8.
· The development of a Concept drawings for the Ballywaltrim Playing Fields and greater engagement with the clubs in this area. The growth & development of Ardmore Rovers and Fergal Ógs in particular has been stalled and access to grant funding limited due to issues with the structure of the management here. The recent developments at the Bog Meadow have shown what can be achieved and I look forward to working with the officials to progress this further.
· Establishing a united front in terms of our efforts to call for a full time Fire Service in Bray. This has been an issue identified by many Councillors in the past, but this is the first time that there has been a united voice on the subject. Together we are better able to deal with this issue. We are not there yet in any way, but it has been positive to have a collective voice and interaction on this subject.
· Welcoming over one hundred students from our twinned town of Dublin, California to our town on holidays and watching their band play on our famous bandstand. Welcoming guest from Wurzburg, Germany to Bray, our longest established twinning which originally started with St. Killian’s Community School. These twinning arrangements provide for the sharing of and learning about each other’s culture, student exchanges to develop language skills as is the case with Wurzburg & Bègles, France, and economic benefits from a tourism point of view. They also provide friendship and understanding which is so important in the world we live in today.
· I was delighted also to take part in the CPR training held by Bray Fire Service staff, and subsequently get agreement on a motion and then secure funding for defibrillators and training equipment to be used by the staff. This important work being carried out by Bray Fire Service staff will save lives in our community.
· Working with the community on issues relating to their areas has been wonderful. Such as securing funding for the Dargle Riverside Park, Fáilte Park Residents, the development of a master plan for the Peoples Park, replacement of paths at Ledwidge Crescent & Fairyhill and dangerous road crossings at Sidmonton Park. There is much more to do, and I will continue to ensure that the communities voices are heard.
The highlight of my term in office was the raising of the first ever Pride Flags on the seafront on behalf of Bray Municipal District. This was a historical moment, and it was wonderful to share it with LGBTQ+ members of our community, Bray for Love and Bray Youth LGBTQ+ youth group. This was more than just the raising of flags, it was a statement to all our community, uniting in our belief that each of us has a right be ourselves, to be included and to be loved.
Before we moved on to the formalities of the AGM this evening I thanked sincerely the officials at Bray MD for their support, Lorraine Gallagher, Linda Healy, Liam Bourke, Garvan Hickey, David Forde and all the office and outdoor staff in Bray MD. Their support has been incredible. Their commitment to this District is without doubt and I feel incredibly lucky that we have them working with all of us in Bray MD. I also thanked my fellow councillors for their assistance and cooperation over the last year and for the opportunity to represent Bray MD.
At this evening MD meeting we formally adopted the meeting schedule for the year and voted in the incoming Cathaoirleach and Leas Cathaoirleach.
It is important that the individuals in these roles are solution focused, willing to listen and work with other elected representatives, take the time to understand the complexity of delivering local authority services and the budgetary challenges, are willing to take difficult decisions that are for the benefit of the rather community and take on board the views of the community.
On that basis I was delighted to support Cllr. Erika Doyle as Cathaoirleach and to support and propose Cllr. Melanie Corrigan as Leas Cathaoirleach. I wish both Councillors ever success for the year ahead and will support them in any way I can.