McCabe takes over as town's new mayor

Story by Paul Neilan

Thursday, 30th June, 2011 9:30am

McCabe takes over as town's new mayor

New Navan Mayor Cllr Anton McCabe (front, seated) with fellow cllrs (from left, back): Francis Deane, Padraig Fitzsimons, Shane Cassells, Suzanne Jamal, outgoing mayor Phil Brennan and deputy mayor Joe Reilly. Photo:Barry Cronin

There was a warm welcome from all sides for Navan's new mayor at the council's AGM on Tuesday of last week.

Labour councillor Anton McCabe was selected by the council to don the chain of office, taking over the role from outgoing mayor, independent cllr, Phil Brennan.

Cllr Brennan said he was lucky to be associated with so many successful projects during the year, including the Navan's Got The Xmas Factor Christmas campagin, which gave "Jedward their big break!", the Navan Sculpture Trail, the Shamrock Festival, which "attracted 20,000 to the town"; the transformation of the heart of the town, and the Bull Sculpture - "a masterpiece" - among others.

He acknowledged the efforts of the town council staff, elected members, praised the voluntary groups and schools, who worked with the council, and said that he looked forward to working with the new mayor.

After a round of applause for Cllr Brennan, independent councillor Francis Deane proposed Cllr MacCabe for mayor, a proposal seconded by Sinn Fein's Cllr Caoimhe Ní Shluain. Cllr McCabe was elected unopposed.

After initial difficulties with the handing over of the chain threatened to "brain" Cllr McCabe, causing much amusement to the gathered supporters and famiily, Cllr McCabe said he had been "greatly honoured" by his home town. He said it was a "great day" for Labour, referring to Trim, Kells and now Navan councils now being chaired by party colleagues alongside Labour stalwart Cllr Tommy Grimes chairing Meath VEC.

Thanking his supporters, family and friends, he paid tribute to Cllr Phil Brennan's "dedication" and his efficiency in chairing meetings, calling him an "excellent diplomat" for the town and promising to continue with projects initiated during Cllr Brennan's term.

Cllr McCabe stressed that Navan was in a good position for any upturn in the economy and said that between broadband, the M3 and other infrastructure, like sewerage and leisure facilities, the message from the council will be that "Navan is open for business".

He also looked forward to developments coming to fruition during his own term, such as phase one of the new 68-acre Navan town park development, improving Metges Lane, improvements to St Finian's Terrace, supporting sustainable transport and Navan Pride of Place.

His thanks to his wife, Margaret, for her support included an anecdote on "Sunday clobber" about when he dressed for the unveiling of the Bull Sculpture without getting her advice, and promptly turned up in two odd shoes!

He signed off to applause, praising the council's outdoor staff - "the town is alive" - and that he looked forward to working with all the members of the council towards improving the town.

Sinn Fein's Cllr Joe Reilly was elected unopposed as deputy mayor, and said it was a joy to work with Cllr McCabe, whose attitude is "every problem has a solution".

Cllr Reilly said it was good to see people at the AGM congratulating the mayor and hoped that the council could be seen as a forum for people's ideas.