Being county’s first citizen was ‘icing on the cake’: Keena

Cllr Frankie Keena welcomes his successor as cathaoirleach.

Outgoing cathaoirleach Cllr Frankie Keena instructed the annual assembly of Westmeath County Council on Monday that after serving as a public consultant since 1995 and a member of Westmeath County Council since 2004 it was “an amazing honour” to have been given the chance to chair Westmeath County Council for the previous yr.

“I’m so proud to be residing on this progressive county and to have been elected as its first citizen was the icing on the cake,” he stated.

Cllr Keena stated the primary couple of months of him time period coincided with a sure stage of lockdown restrictions nonetheless being in place resulting from COVID-19. He stated when the restrictions had been lifted, it was like “turning on a lightweight bulb” and the invites to all kinds of capabilities, occasions, official openings started flooding in from all around the county.

“I relished the alternatives to attend these actions as it’s actually the bread and butter of being a councillor to have the ability to witness firsthand the superb work carried out by our communities and to satisfy folks. Supporting communities is so near my coronary heart as a public consultant and it’s one thing that I’ll proceed to do.”

Wanting again at a few of key occasions of his time period, he referenced the elevating ceremony to mark the handover of Custume Barracks to the Irish Military a 100 years in the past; the opening of a Technological College in Athlone and the unfold of the Bike for Rent scheme to each ends of the county.

He additionally cited the launch of the All Eire Fleadh in Mullingar, of the City Centre First Initiative in Moate, the turning of the sod for the brand new greenway bridge in Athone and the official opening of Athlone’s greenway extension. “These 4 highly effective initiatives have the potential to spice up the financial system in Westmeath,” he added.

Cllr Keena stated the problem of housing remained central within the county with the demand for each personal and social housing remains to be rising.

On a constructive be aware, he highlighted that it’s anticipated that there will probably be 193 new native authority properties accomplished within the county this yr, with 124 in Mullingar, 39 in Athlone, 24 for Kinnegad and 6 for Delvin.

“The low level is that we’d like increasingly housing as quickly as attainable. My coronary heart goes out to the quite a few households who often contact me on the lookout for housing. The rising price of inflation is having a significant affect on new home builds,” he stated, citing the choice of a developer in Athlone to pause a 426 housing unit growth because of the rising prices of supplies.”

He stated he was wanting ahead to the free time away from the calls for of Cathaoirleach to observe up on a backlog of queries and most significantly to present extra time to his household.

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