Cllr.Gerry O'Connor P.C.
Cathaoirleach Meath County Council/Peace Commissioner
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Cathaoirleach's Diary Week 12
9/8/2017 2:28:55 PM
Week 12 as Cathaoirleach began with a meeting in Navan on Monday with our Roads Department to sign contracts for Bridge work repairs in the County and to open Tender Documents for County wide road works.

On Tuesday afternoon I met with Lidl and handed over the results of an on-line petition in support of their planning application for a new store in Dunshaughlin, to the planning Department. Almost 500 people signed the petition in support of the application.

On Wednesday on s...poke at the launch of the "Make it Meath Royal Rally 2017" in CityNorth Hotel. Meath Macra na Feirme and Meath County Council have come together to host the annual Macra na Feirme Young Farmers Conference (The Rally) in County Meath for the first time in history. The weekend in October will include the Macra na feirme Annual conference, Farm walks, the National Final of the Beef and Sheep Stock judging Competition and the announcement of Macra Club of the Year, as well as plenty of entertainment each day and night in the Hotel. For more information please visit www.royalrally2017.com

Back in the Community Centre (the day job) it was great to see the students of Dunshaughlin Community College back in the Centre and I was delighted to see the many new and not so new friends returning...we missed them over the Summer. Our "Teen Fit" and Futsal sessions begin next week.

On Thursday I was delighted to attend the EGM of Young Fine Gael in Navan to see the election of a new Chairmen. Congratulations to Ross Kelly, I wish him every success in his term. Minister Damien English also attended and was presented with YFG's detailed Budget submission. YFG play a vital role in Fine Gael and I would encourage anyone under 35 , who would like to get involved in local or national politics and make a difference to please contact me for details.

On Friday evening I met with four Constituents who needed "witnessing" by me as Peace Commissioner.

I Saturday I visited two constituents regarding planning and adaptation grants applications.

So that's that for week 12...ciao for now. Gerry

Cathaoirleach's Diary weeks 10 & 11
9/8/2017 2:26:51 PM

Week 10 and 11 as Cathaoirleach...apologies for the doubling up but time ran away from me the last couple of weeks.

I attended the very moving 75th anniversary of a young Polish Pilot, Flight Officer Boleslaw Josef Sawiak, who lost his life when his Spitfire crash-landed in neighbouring Ratoath following an aerial battle with a German Junker on Sunday August 23rd 1942. The event was in Ratoath Community Centre and hats off to Leo Cummins and his team, Ratoath Heritage Group and all involved. The event was very tastefully done with MC Theresa Lowe, wreaths laid by Minister Regina Doherty and the Polish Ambassador Mr. Ryszard Sarkowiczin.

Well done also to Leo Cummins and his team for launching "Ratoath News and Views". We are now working on issue 158 of Dunshaughlin News&Views which was started back in 2010 by Ann Mc Loughlin-O'Connor and Anne Tuite who edited and published up to Issue 100 and is now published by Dunshaughlin Community Centre.

I spent three afternoons in my new Office in MCC Headquarters with various meetings with Planning, Transport and Environment and Finance regarding upcoming issues for the full Council.

As Councillor I dealt with three planning issues, four housing representations and one Housing adaptation Grant application.

As Peace Commissioner I witnessed several HSE and LmEtb documents on behalf of Constituents from Dunshaughlin, Ratoath, Kilmessan and Navan. Theresa Lowe's name appears again in this update with Frank McNamara (her Hubby) needing a document witnessed for their son JJ who is travelling to Study in London.(please see JJ's Kickstarter campaign to fund his new CD and his studies in London- at

https://www.kickstarter.com/…/9…/new-piano-cd-by-jj-mcnamara

"Young Irish Virtuoso Pianist to make CD to fund studies
JJ McNamara is a young Irish virtuoso pianist. Although only 18 he has already made his National Concert Hall debut in Dublin. Blessed with incredible fingers, McNamara is destined to become one of the greats. A child prodigy, JJ's development has been a joy to watch - please view the video which shows JJ's progress as a pianist from aged 9 to today.
This CD recording, which will be recorded at Park House Studios in County Meath on a beautiful new Steinway piano supplied by Jeffers Pianos of Cork, is being made by JJ to help fund his studies in London with Martin Roscoe, the legendary British pianist.
Included in the recording will be the magnificent Rachmaninoff Second Piano Sonata (revised version). Also the wonderful Liszt transcription of Gounod's waltz from his opera "Faust".
In addition to his super finger work, JJ has a depth of musical understanding. This CD promises to become a "must have" in any classical CD collection."

And in between all that ...As Venue Co-ordinator for the FAI Summer Soccer Camp in Dunshaughlin Community I welcomed over 150 boys and girls for the week long camp. This was our biggest camp to date (This is my eleventh year as VC) and I have to congratulate the parents of the participants...I have never met such a great bunch of well mannered , polite, good humoured and tidy kids.

Finished the week off with a three hour stint "Bag-packing" in Supervalu, to raise funds for the forthcoming "Harvest Festival"-22nd-24th September(please visit). Guess who popped up with her shopping...Theresa Lowe...think I'm being stalked lol. Over €1700 was raised on the day-well done Dunfest and well done the Dunshaughlin Community who supported the bag pack.

So that's the latest update....Ciou for now. Gerry

Cathaoirleach's Diary Week 9
8/18/2017 2:32:57 PM
Week 9 as Cathaoirleach was a quiet one on the public appearances side and it gave me a chance to catch up following the few days off the previous week.

I was delighted to attend the opening and cut the ribbon for a new Business in Dunshaughlin "The Bed Angel". Its one to watch...a great idea from Fiona Kealy and Janet Clarke ( www.thebedangel.com)

Following up on the recent "Town Hall" meeting, I met with the Planning, Environment and Roads Departments to discuss the issues r...aised in Dunshaughlin and requested that they be included in discussions on the new County Development Plan.

I also met our local engineers and opened Tenders for Roads etc. for the Ratoath Municipal District.

I have been a Peace Commissioner for almost two years now , and this time of year it can get busy as Teachers, Nurses etc. need witnesses for their various documents. I dealt with 8 such cases as well as two planning issues and a travel document.

Obviously as well as being Cathaoirleach , I am still a County Councillor and need to keep that work up to date. I am currently working with 9 housing issues, three planning applications (advice and Representations) and several issues with Buses. I am also working on three Housing adaptation grant applications.

Yes, a quiet week....
 
Cathaoirleach's Diary Week 8
8/9/2017 2:50:20 PM
Week 8 as Cathaoirleach began with the official ceremonies in Ypres, Belgium for the commemoration of Lance Corporal Francis Ledwidge's death 100 years ago. We travelled to Hooge Crater and Hill 60/62 first and then on to Artillery Woods cemetery. Over 250 guests were at the ceremony, the Francis Ledwidge Committee in Slane,Oglaigh Naisunta Na hEireann, In Flanders Museum Committee and Meath County Council were all represented. Members of the Ledwidge family, Mairead McGuinne...ss MEP, Thomas Byrne T.D.,The Irish Ambassador to Belgium Eamonn McAodha, Burgomeister Jan Durnez and Dermot Bulger also attended. I laid a wreath as Cathaoirleach at the grave. It was a beautiful ceremony. Afterwards, I presented gifts from MCC to the Burgomeister and Gilbert Ossieur (In Flanders Museum). The trip finished on Tuesday with a visit to the offices of the Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels and a briefing and Q&A session with Brigadier Phillip Brennan (Military Representative of Ireland to the EUMC), Colonel Joseph McDonagh and Lieutenant Colonel Tom McGrath.On Saturday I attended the Guth Gafa international Documentary Film Festival in Kells where I met with the Festival Co-Directors David Rane and Neasa Ni Chianain. Meath County Council was the lead sponsor of the Festival.
Cathaoirleach's Diary Week 1
8/4/2017 1:45:47 PM

Busy first week as Cathaoirleach...Thursday afternoon..welcomed Charity cycle to Dunshaughlin and then off to the launch of "Viking Voyage" at Tayto park. Thursday night represented Meath County Council at the retirement Dinner for Peter Kierans, retired CEO LMETB. Saturday Night I was invited to speak at the Annual Kell's Heritage Art Group Annual exhibition. Early start this morning and then off to Chair a meeting with the Meath T.D's on housing.

Cathaoirleach's Diary
8/4/2017 1:43:25 PM

A lot of people have asked me what is Cathaoirleach! So....

"Cathaoirleach is the Irish word for Chairperson. The Chairperson of the County Council is an elected Member of the Council (County Councillor). At the Annual General Meeting of the Council each year the elected Members elect from amongst their number a person to be the Cathaoirleach for the succeeding twelve month period.

The holder of the office of Cathaoirleach of the County Council is deemed to be the First Citiz...en of the County. The Cathaoirleach presides over the Meetings of the County Council. In addition to that, the Cathaoirleach attends Ceremonial Functions and Official Opening Ceremonies. The Cathaoirleach is also the person who accords Civic Honours."

Hope that helps.

Thank you for all the good wishes as I start my year as Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council. I am extremely proud and honoured to be given this opportunity.


Cathaoirleach's Diary Week 2
8/4/2017 1:39:43 PM

Week 2 as Cathaoirleach started with Chairing a meeting with our Ministers and Oireachtas members in the Council Chamber on Monday for an update on Housing in Meath. Then on Wednesday I was given a tour of our new HQ in Buvinda House, then off to get an official photo taken. On Saturday I attended a State event in Slane to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the death of Lance Corporal Francis Ledwidge. As Cathairoirleach I was honoured to give the opening welcome and lay a wreath on behalf of Meath County Council.

Cathaoirleach's Diary Week 3
8/4/2017 1:35:12 PM
Week 3 as Cathaoirleach included getting some preparatory work done for a meeting with a Chinese delegation in my new Office in Buvinda House, then met the delegation with our Director of Services, Economic Development, Kevin. The meeting I would hope will lead to better cooperation between Meath and Zhejiang Provence. I would like to thank John V Farrelly, Meath Chambers Chairman for organising the meeting. Then off to the 16th International Mobility Conference function in T...eelings Brewery, hosted by Childvision, The National Education Centre for Blind Children, a big thank you to Brian and Ruth for a wonderful evening. On Friday night I spoke and presented certificates , long service medals and commerative medals to the Meath Civil Defence volunteers. Delighted that so many from Dunshaughlin were recognised. On Sunday spent a few hours on Laytown-Bettystown beaches, where the 15th National Sand sculpting event was taking place and I was delighted to be asked to present the prizes to the winners. Cllr Paddy Meade, Cathaoirleach of the Laytown-Bettystown MD was my wing man for the day. Great well organised event by a dedicated Committee and the standard was extremely impressive.
Cathaoirleach's Diary Week 4
8/4/2017 1:31:24 PM
Week 4 as Cathaoirleach began with a full day of meetings in Navan.(had to take a days holidays from work but still opened up at 6am till 8am). First up at Buvinda HQ was a meeting with our Senior Planners to discuss the upcoming workshops on the County Development Plan. I outlined what I would like to be included including in the plans: park and ride facilities for our Towns in South East Meath, Railway extended to Navan but servicing both Dunshaughlin and Ratoath catchment ...areas (not where it is currently planned for a station ,1.5 miles from Dunshaughlin on the wrong side of Town)..obviously this will depend of central government funding but we should have it as an objective in the plan, Community Facilities, identifying land needed for both Primary and Secondary Schools in advance of population increase, Regional Hospital objectives for Meath, Road infrastructure and Bus connectivity and much more.
Then off to Navan County Hall to Chair a Corporate Policy Group meeting followed by Chairing a Protocol meeting. In the afternoon I Chaired a Statutory full Council Meeting which finished at 6pm. We received a presentation from Barry Kenny and John Reville, Iarnrod Eireann regarding their future Capital plans. Many Councillors as I did , queried aspects of the plans regarding Meath. On Tuesday I said a few words on behalf of Meath County Council at the opening of the International Baseball Event in Ashbourne with teams from Ireland, Belgium, Spain, The Netherlands, USA and a Presidential Nine team competing over six days. Thank you Cllr Sean Smith and Cllr Alan Tobin for the invitation. Great event and appropriate that it began on July 4th-Independance Day. I went back again on Thursday to give a hand with the car parking etc. Launched the Library Summer Stars Reading Scheme in the library in Ashbourne. On Sunday I attended the National Day of Commemoration in The Royal Hospital Kilmainham in honour of all those Irishmen and Irishwomen who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations. I had a brief chat with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar afterwards regarding some ideas I had mentioned to him recently on the housing crisis. He informed me that he had had his first Housing meeting and had shared the ideas I mentioned. Happy with that.

Cathaoirleach's Diary week 5
8/4/2017 1:25:01 PM
Week 5 as Cathaoirleach included a Ratoath Municipal District meeting, followed by a briefing for newly elected Mayors and Chairs with Senator John Dolan in Government Buildings on Social Inclusion and in particular "Disability inclusion". Following that I had a meeting with Minister Regina Doherty in her offices regarding the Community Service Programme. Thank you Alan Boyce for arranging this. I then met CEO Jackie Maguire with Minister Helen McEntee for a brief discussion ...regarding Active Age initiatives. As a FG Councillor I took part in a briefing and question and answer workshop with Minister Eoghan Murphy, Minister Damien English and Minister John Paul Phelan on housing and local government. The week finished with an invitation to the French Embassy to celebrate Bastille Day. A lovely occasion where I was able to meet up with Alan Dukes, Senator James Reilly and the British Ambassador Robin Barnett. The Ambassador expressed an interest in visiting Meath and I would be delighted to welcome him when the occasion arises.In between all of that I was able to fit in a "Town Hall" meeting in Dunshaughlin and my Son Roberts Nineteenth Birthday.
Cathaoirleach's Diary Week 6
8/4/2017 1:21:52 PM
Week 6 as Cathaoirleach began with a meeting on Monday 17th in Ballivor with Ballivor Tidy Towns and Cllr Noel French. This was followed later that evening with... the launch of the Meath Partnership Pop Up event to highlight Leader funding opportunities for Communities. I was delighted to give the opening address. Then back home for birthday celebrations (mine). On Wednesday I chaired a statutory Council meeting for variations to the Navan and Kells Development plans followed by a workshop with Planning Consultants regarding Strategic Flood Risk Assessment. Then off to a public consultation in the Community Centre on a Lidl application in Dunshaughlin. Later that evening in Duleek I spoke at the Indaver Community Grant event where over €500k was awarded to local Community Groups. On Thursday I attended the Transportation and Infrastructure Special Policy Committee meeting in Buvinda House and then gave the opening address to local Aidan Murphy's event "Inside Out" in the Pastoral Centre. On Friday I met with a group of Franciscan Monks who are attending English Classes in Navan and gave them an overview of how our local Authority works and the role of the Cathaoirleach and Councillors. Thank you to Cllr Francis Deane for arranging. On Saturday I attended the 30th Anniversary of Dunshaughlin Civil Defence in the Knocks Park in Dunshaughlin. Another week under the belt...bring on week 7.
Cathaoirleach's Diary Week 7
8/4/2017 1:18:26 PM
Week 7 as Cathaoirleach was dominated by water issues in Ratoath and elsewhere .I spent the week as Chair liaising with the incident room in Meath County Council, updating FB with the regular updates from IW and dealing with constituents who couldn't get to water and delivering it to them.I called a meeting of all Councillors and TD's who were representing the areas affected in City North Hotel on Wednesday night and we agreed an all party letter to send to Minister Murphy ou...tlining our concerns and requesting the necessary funding to sort the problem out once and for all. On Friday I spoke at the Irish water event in Lough Bawn treatment plant , which had been upgraded due to an adverse EPA listing at a cost of €1.2 million. The plant supplies Oldcastle and Kells and its environs. That evening I along with my FG Councillor colleagues met with Minister Eoghan Murphy in Ashbourne for two hours discussing the Staleen water issue, recommending both short term and long term solutions and emphasising that it must be sorted sooner than the 18mths suggested by IW. On Saturday I led a delegation from Meath County Council, accompanied by the members of the Drogheda & Slane Branch of Oglaigh Naisiunta Na hEireann to Belgium to commemorate the 100 anniversary of the death of Lance Corporal Francis Ledwidge in Flanders in 1917.I laid a wreath at the Irish Peace Park in Mesen with the colour party provided by O.N.E. From Mesen we then travelled to Tyne Cot Cemetery where almost 12K soldiers are buried , many in unmarked graves. We then visited the Memorial Museum in Passendale. That evening we laid a wreath at the Menin Gate Ceremony in Ypres. The whole experience of the day was sobering, the evidence of Mans inhumanity to Man, and the sheer size of the death toll is unbelievable and so,so sad. The third battle of Ypres was the first time Chemical warfare was used in battle. Incidentally Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate , Theresa May and the Belgium Royal Family all visited the same sites last weekend but a day later.
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