Housing need is priority for county’s new first citizen

Newly elected cathaoirleach of Meath County Council, Nick Killian has outlined housing as one of his main priorities for the year ahead. The independent Ratoath councillor was elected at the annual general meeting of Meath County Council on Monday morning, with Fianna Fáil's Cllr Mike Bray elected leas-cathaoirleach.

Cllr Killian thanked his fellow members for placing their trust in him to lead the council as the "Royal County's first citizen for the year ahead" and paid tribute to outgoing cathaoirleach, Sean Drew who he said led the council "politely, efficiently and effectively" over the past 12 months.

He spoke passionately about how the impact of the housing crisis is felt in every family across Meath and commented that "right now the government's housing plan is not meeting the needs of our people".

He appealed to local ministers, TDs and senators to use their influence to get more funding for housing in Meath so they could build new homes that are genuinely affordable to rent or purchase, and be allowed to purchase zoned land.

Cllr Killian also spoke on the proposed downgrading of the Emergency Department in Navan Hospital which he said was "unacceptable" and urged local TDs and Senators to fulfil promises they made at recent protests in Navan in "full support of what the people of the county want and not hide behind medical words of the HSE".

Cllr Sarah O'Reilly, who was nominated by Fine Gael but unsuccessful, congratulated Cllr Killian but spoke of her disappointment that no female was listed to fill the role during this council's term.

Cllr Bray said he looked forward to working with Cllr Killian. He thanked his fiancee, Maureen, and parents for their support and also remembered his deputy campaign manager Billy Growney who recently passed away.

Cllr Bray said he would focus on young people and people with young families, citing housing as a priority. He also said a respite house for people with disabilities in the county was something he would be working on.