RECENTLY appointed Mayor of Clare, Councillor Cathal Crowe (FF) described himself as a boy who entered the “big world of politics” 15 years ago.
First elected to Clare County Council in 2004, the then 21-year-old secured the highest percentage of first preference votes in the Killaloe electoral area, despite not owning a suit, still living at home with his parents and driving around in a ‘little blue moped’.
“I bought a PlayStation 2 out of my first council paycheque,” smiled the popular councillor to a round of a laughter in the council chamber.
“I had an abundance of idealism and a hunger to aim for better things for my local community.
“Fifteen years later my idealism and desire to impact my locality has not abated,” said Cllr Crowe.
The 36-year-old father of three, who said it is “humbling” to be elected as the first person of the Banner County, becomes the second youngest councillor to hold the position as Mayor of Clare.
Coincidentally, the youngest ever person to wear the mayoral chains is fellow Meelick man, Michael Brennan, who held the office in 1921 during the height of the War of Independence.
During his 12-month term as Mayor, Crowe now hopes to tackle many modern-day battles facing people throughout his beloved county.
One such “huge challenge” is the need to address the “alarmingly long” list of people waiting for social housing.
The Meelick native also hopes to work with fellow elected members to ensure that Ennis General Hospital is upgraded to a much-sought-after ‘Model 3 hospital’ status whilst also continuing to plan for the future ahead of the expected closure of Roche’s in Clarecastle and the ‘uncertainty’ of Moneypoint.
A strong advocate for working closely with his Limerick counterparts, the Westbury resident said he is looking forward to the continued expansion of the University of Limerick campus into Clare including the “exciting prospect” of Ireland’s newest town in Garraun.
Making reference to a ‘new County Clare’, one that is welcoming to migrants, the national school teacher welcomed the Mundu family into the council chambers.
Cllr Crowe, who had previously taught at Meelick National School, said he first met Anna as an eight-year-old girl when she was staying in Knockalisheen Accommodation Centre as a refugee from the ‘war-ravaged’ Democratic Republic of Congo.
Cathal Crowe takes over the role from outgoing Mayor of Clare, Michael Begley (IND), who had held the position for the previous 12 months.