History made as Joe Murphy elected Cathaoirleach

Orla Leyden elected Leas Cathaoirleach

History was made on Monday last as Fianna Fáil Councillor Joe Murphy followed in his brother, Senator Eugene Murphy’s footsteps when he was elected as the new Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council. Cllr. Murphy will replace the outgoing Cathaoirleach Laurence Fallon.

Cllr. Murphy, who was proposed by Cllr. John Cummins and seconded by Cllr. Tom Crosby saw off fellow nominee, Cllr. Nigel Dineen, by eleven votes to six with one abstention from Cllr. Valerie Byrne.

The 55-year-old postman and farmer was first co-opted to Roscommon County Council in 2016 when brother Eugene was elected to Dáil Éireann, winning reelection in the Boyle Municipal District in 2019.

Describing himself as “a proud Roscommon person”, the new Cathaoirleach told Monday’s AGM of the local authority that he would continue to work tirelessly to promote Roscommon and all the county had to offer.

“It is my honour to stand here before you today as the newly elected Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council. When I was co-opted to Roscommon County Council in 2016 and again elected by the people of the Boyle Electoral Area in 2019, I made a promise both to myself and to them to work tirelessly in an effort to assist them and to promote all Roscommon had to offer. I believe that my new role will only assist me further in my efforts,” he said.

Cllr. Murphy thanked outgoing Cathaoireach Laurence Fallon and Leas Cathaoirleach Marty McDermott for “holding firm during a difficult period in our history when everything changed”.

He added that while the Covid pandemic has changed the way we work and socialise, the reopening of society would offer County Roscommon new opportunities.

“As the world opens up, now more than ever, everything will be local. We need to make the most of this opportunity by rediscovering all our county has to offer – everything from our great restaurants, our amazing amenities to our wonderful suppliers and shops,” he said.

He added that as a small farmer, he understood the contribution agriculture makes to the rural economy and that it was “vital that the traditional family farm is protected”.

On local jobs, Cllr. Murphy said it was important that the ‘Just Transition’ programme delivered sustainable solutions to areas affected by Bord na Móna closures and that he looked forward to meeting with the IDA to hear their “vision and plans for Roscommon in the near future”.

He highlighted the local authority’s efforts in developing industrial hubs throughout the county and said it was important for local representatives to continue to raise the issue of financial and postal services with local Oireachtas members.

He encouraged members of the public to actively engage with litter picks throughout the county and commended the young people of the county for their resilience during this “trying pandemic period”.

Cllr. Murphy thanked his original campaign team including Director of Elections Claire Hoare, An Post colleagues and manager Peter Hanley, neighbours, friends and family including his mother, wife Nicola and two sons.

“Today, I am very happy to be joined by my wonderful mother, and my siblings, some of whom are joining us via live stream. I’d also like to remember my later father, whom I’m sure would have been very proud to see a second one of his children elected as Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council.

“To conclude, my heartfelt thanks to Nicola, Conor and Oisin, without their continued support none of this would be possible,” he said.

Cllr. Murphy’s fellow Fianna Fáil Councillor, Orla Leyden, was elected as the new Leas Cathaoirleach, succeeding Cllr. Marty McDermott in the role.

Cllr. Leyden defeated Cllr. Donal Kilduff also by eleven votes to six, with Cllr. Byrne once again absteining.