Former Mayor of Navan, Cllr Anton McCabe, passing the chain of office to Cllr Caoimhe Ní Shluain last week.
Cllr Caoimhe Ní Shluain was elected Mayor of Navan at a meeting of Navan Town Council last week, making her the youngest town mayor in Ireland and only the second female mayor of Navan Town Council.
She was proposed by her Sinn Fein colleague, Cllr Joe Reilly, and seconded by outgoing mayor, Cllr Anton McCabe of the Labour Party.
She said that to become the youngest mayor of Navan was a fantastic honour and privilege not only for herself, but for her family and friends.
Paying tribute to the outgoing mayor, Cllr Anton McCabe, Cllr Ní Shluain admitted she was young and had only been on the local authority for a year, but said she would "do my best in everything that I do and am asking all of you for your support and co-operation. At the end of the day, we are a team and, in my time here, I have been impressed by the unity of councillors on many issues".
She said her election as the youngest ever mayor marked a change in the political structure in Navan, which was all the more profound as she was only the second female mayor of Navan. "No longer can it be tolerable for women and young people to be disenfranchised from not only this local authority, but politics in general. Take a look around, and this is by no means a slight against any of my fellow councillors, but given that 51 per cent of the population are female, and with a substantial young population, it is incredible that we have only two female councillors," she added.
She said there was immense pressure on young people today and the figures of tragedy associated with that are startling. "None of us on our own have all the answers, but by reaching out, engaging with young people and, more importantly, listening to them, we can educate ourselves as to their needs. Hopefully, today signals the beginning of a closer working relationship between youth organisations and this council."
Cllr Ní Shluan said they would face many challenges over the next year, but their focus must be on finding solutions for the challenges faced by the county by including and involving as many people as possible and "by working together for the betterment of this fantastic county of ours".
Cllr Joe Reilly said the new mayor was the future of politics in the town and she was a credit to her family, her party and her town.
Cllr Suzanne Jamal said she was so happy to see a female in the chair and great to see a young person taking the chain of office. Cllr Padraig Fitzsimons wished her the best and said he knew she'd be as fair as the previous mayor.
Cllr Shane Cassells complimented her on her speech and said it set the tone for a successful year to come.
Elected deputy mayor was independent councillor Francis Deane on the proposal of Cllr McCabe and seconded by Cllr Brennan.
Outgoing mayor Cllr McCabe listed the Navan Town Pride of Place competition, the Christmas festive lighting scheme, the opening of the Is Feidir Linn play area at Andy Brennan Park and the 100th anniversary of St Finian's Terrace among the highlights of his year in office.
Securing land for the new Meath River Rescue HQ and Navan Boxing Club was another highlight as was the visit by President Michael D Higgins to open the Is Feidir Linn park, he added.
"Something that was very close to my heart was the inveiling of 'On The Great Wide Open' sculpture on the Kells Road roundabout, which certainly has resulted in people talking in a very positive manner about Navan Town Council," he added. "In particular, we recognised the men, past and present, who have dedicated their working lives to the mining industry in Navan."