(Pictured above: The new Stranorlar Municipal District members at their first annual general meeting in Lifford on Wednesday. Back row (l-r): Cllr Liam Doherty (Sinn Féin), Cllr Martin Harley (Fine Gael) and Cllr Gerry Crawford (Fianna Fáil). Front the new Leas-Cathaoirleach, Cllr Frank McBrearty (Independent), the new Cathaoirleach, Cllr Gary Doherty (Sinn Fein) and Cllr Patrick McGowan (Fianna Fail).
Donegal’s first ever Municipal District meeting was held on Wednesday morning and Sinn Fein councillor Gary Doherty made history.
The Castlefin man was elected the first ever Cathaoirlerach (chairman) of the newly established Stranorlar Municipal District.
Indeed it is believed he could be one of the first in the country to be elevated to the new position which came into effect following last Friday’s county council annual general meeting in Lifford.
At the meeting at council headquarters in Lifford the six councillors in the district divided out the positions for the year ahead. Cllr Frank McBrearty was elected Leas-Cathaoirleach (vice-chairman); Coiste na Gaeilge committee: Gary Doherty and Frank McBrearty; Donegal Heritage Forum: Gary Doherty; LATCH: Gerry Crawford, Gary Doherty and Frank McBrearty; Finn Valley Leisure Centre committee: Liam Doherty, Patrick McGowan, Frank McBrearty and Martin Harley.
Councillors met prior to the actual meeting to decide the jobs and in the spirit of co-operation divided them out in an inclusive manner. This also means these will be divided up again throughout the term of the body. The positions of Cathaoirleach and Leas-Cathaoirleach for the coming years will be as follows: 2015-2016 Independent (Fianna Fail); 2016-2017 Fianna Fail (Fine Gael); 2017-2018 Fine Gael (Fianna Fail) and 2018-2019 Fianna Fail (Sinn Fein).
Various speakers praised the new spirit of co-operation and hoped it would augur well for the work head.
Cllr Doherty said he was honoured to take the position saying it was a very proud day for him and while they were heading into the unknown under the new legislation governing the Municipal Districts, he was confident by working together as they always had he didn’t anticipate any fall outs.
“We all want to work towards the same goal for the people of the Stranorlar Municipal District and we’re all good at putting on the team jersey and that’s what I’d like to see happening for the year of the year,” he said.
He welcomed all councillors back and in particular new party colleague, Cllr Liam Doherty who was at such a meeting for the first time.
Leas-Cathaoirleach, Raphoe’s Cllr Frank McBrearty said the deal done would make it a more workable council and was looking forward to working with everyone.
“The political representation in the Municipal District reflects what the public actually wanted and I think the message for the public representatives who have been given a mandate by the people is that people want them to work together and get the best deal possible for them,” he said.
Lifford’s Cllr Gerry Crawford, Cllr Martin Harley, Cllr Patrick McGowan and Cllr Liam Doherty also registered their thanks for all the council officials for their ongoing support over the years and pledged to continue the inclusive nature of the new agreement between all groups.
“If we don’t look after our area no one else will so it’s up to us,” said Cllr McGowan.
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