Words: Kilkenny Observer
Photos: Pat Shortall
Last Friday night saw the election of former army man Joe Malone to the role of first citizen of Kilkenny city. A packed city hall was made up of family and friends as Mayor Malone was handed the chain of office from outgoing mayor Councillor David Fitzgerald. Councillor Malone was proposed to the position by Cllr Andrew McGuinness (FF) and seconded by Cllr Martin Brett (FG). Joes election as Mayor of Kilkenny, marks his second term to receive this honour having served as mayor previously in 2015-2016.
DAVID SAYS THANKS
Speaking to the attendance as his year of office came to an end, Councillor Fitzgerald thanked the Councillors who gave him the opportunity of being Mayor.
The Patrick Street auctioneer also thanked the officials who supported the Mayoralty, the media including all in the Kilkenny Observer.
David continued “I wish to thank my co-workers, my wife, family and friends. Finally, I want to thank the people of Kilkenny for including me in their events, launches and community. I very much appreciate the courtesy shown to me throughout the year.”
Mr Fitzgerald wished the new Mayor well and pledged his support to him during his term in office.
There was quite a lot of praise in the air for both outgoing and incoming Mayors. Here is a sample of what Green Part Councillor Maria Dollard had to say: “I commend the exemplary way that Cllr David Fitzgerald conducted the business of the Chair during his term of office. He exemplified himself in his ability to allow everyone time to speak on all issues. I particularly want to thank him for his reception for the Kilkenny Special Olympics Athletes. Councillor Dollard congratulated Joe Malone on his election as Mayor. “I have known Joe long before his time in politics through his work with youth in Kilkenny and I know how passionate he is about the issues he stands up on. He is authentic to the core.”
Independent councillor Eugene McGuinness spoke in a similar vein thanking David for a most successful year: “As someone who knows a little about the Mayoralty considering I sat in my kitchen in O’Loughlin road as a young lad and watched proudly as my father walked through the door wearing that same chain on more than one occasion. There have been many excellent Mayors and I would have no hesitation in suggesting that Cllr David Fitzgerald deserves his name on that list. David has indeed set the bar very high. For the incoming Mayor Eugene wished Joe Malone well for the coming year. “I know it’s a proud moment for you and your family, so I would say you are indeed a “man of the people” and what better tribute could I give”.
Proposing Cllr Malone for the position of Mayor, Cllr Andrew McGuinness said:
“Joe is a fantastic public representative, rooted in the community, with a wealth of experience, having served on this council since 2009, Mayor of Kilkenny in 2015, and a champion of issues ranging from anti-drugs and initiatives to mental health awareness.
Andrew remembered Joes mother who had passed since Joe was last Mayor.
MAYOR SETS OUT GOALS
As is usual on such occasions Joe Malone set out his goals for the coming year. These included the opening of the new pedestrian bridge on Cootes Lane, and a Memorial Handball Statue. Mayor Malone said he would put a lot of energy into The Brewery Development and to promote, to the best of his ability a campaign to secure more job announcements for the City. Joe also spoke of the Butts regeneration project and the new secondary and primary schools. Having given thirty years’ service to the Irish Army the Mayor extended a special welcome to his old comrades from UN vets and O.N.E. as well as extending a céad míle fáilte to members of the O’Loughlin Gaels GAA club. Joe also spoke about his strong Catholic faith as he welcomed members of the Medjuorge group. He also spoke about the great work being done in the two family resource centres in Kilkenny. He praised The Butts and Newpark Close communities for the incredible work that they continue to do and said they were a great example of community spirit in action. In conclusion Joe thanked his wife Josephine, son Jamie and all the people who support in his daily work as a public Representative.
Joe spoke about Mental health and in particular Teac Tom. An animated Mayor Malone addressed the issues of drugs in our City saying that our streets are awash with drugs. Joe called for real action and debate. Cllr Martin Brett (FG) was elected as the new Deputy Mayor of Kilkenny.