Cllr Mark Wall was selected as the new Cathaoirleach of Athy Town Council at its AGM last Wednesday night. The Labour councillor is the son of sitting Labour TD for Kildare South, Jack Wall.
Cllr Wall said the town’s councillors are awaiting word on the proposed reforms of the local authority system, which could see the abolition of local councils around the country.
“We are aware of an imminent announcement regarding local government reform, which is to be made in a number of weeks. Our hope is that Athy Town Council, in whatever form, gets new powers for housing and healthcare,” he said.
Back in July 2010, the Local Government Efficiency Board recommended a series of cost-saving and revenue-raising proposals, which it said would save more than €500m. Among them was the abolition of town councils with the creation of municipal.
In addition, Athy’s new Cathaoirleach hopes to progress the long-awaited Southern Distributor Route for the town. “There will be further news on this project in the coming weeks,” he said.
He also plans to focus on recreational facilities in the town by identifying grounds and playing facilities that can be used for local organisations; the tourism potential of festivals going forward; and the development of social housing initiatives such as the 20 units in Woodstock and 43 units in Coneyboro. Asked about the high rate of unemployment in the town, he said Kildare Leader and the council are concentrating on upskilling and retraining programmes.