Breaking: Andrew McGuinness elected Chair of Kilkenny County Council

Takes over from fellow Fianna Fail councillor Peter 'Chap' Cleere

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

Andrew McGuinness

Cllr Andrew Mcguinness

Councillor Andrew McGuinness has been elected the new Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council.

He was elected at the annual meeting of Kilkenny County Council, which took place at the Watergate Theatre this afternoon, with social distancing observed. Two councillors participated via video link.

He was proposed by Cllr Pat Fitzpatrick (FF), and seconded by Cllr Martin Brett (FG). He takes over the role from fellow Fianna Fail councillor Peter 'Chap' Cleere.

Members of Cllr McGuinness' family, including his mother Margaret and father local TD John McGuinness attended the meeting, as did his partner Carol and two children Jack and Phoebe.

Cllr McGuinness said tough decisions would have to be made in the weeks and months ahead, but those decisions would have to be made with compassion for the sacrifices made in ever home and business in Kilkenny.

"There is a newfound and determination to improve and progress and do better," he said.

"There is a new fire in the bellies of our communities, and you can see it in our business community as they open their doors and welcome us back."

He said some costs would need to be cut, and some projects might have to be put aside for now. However, he also said there was much to look forward to, including the imminent opening of the new Butler Gallery and Ferrybank Neighbourhood Park. Work on the Abbey Quarter is well under way, and the skatepark - "one of the first projects I campaigned for in local politics  is something I greatly look forward to opening".

The new cathaoirleach said he would continue to work from his office on O' Loughlin Road, and said his door would 'always be open'.

OTHER AREAS

Cathaoirligh of the council's various Municipal Districts have also been elected during the day. Cllr Michael McCarthy is the new chair of the Castlecomer Municipal District, while Cllr Eamon Aylward is the chair of the Piltown Municipal District.