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Minutes of Annual General Meeting 2023 of Clare County Council

Location:  Held in the Council Chamber, Áras Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis, Co. Clare and via MS Teams

On:      Friday 30th June 2023

Time:  3pm



Councillors M. Howard, J. Flynn, C. Colleran Molloy, P. Murphy, A. Norton, P. Daly,
T. O’Callaghan, J. Cooney, P. Hayes, P. Burke, A. O’Callaghan, T. O’Brien, J. Crowe, M. Begley, P.J. Ryan, P. McMahon, G. Flynn, D. McGettigan, P. O’Gorman, J. Killeen, P.J. Kelly, G. Keating, C. Murphy.


  • Mr. Pat Dowling, Chief Executive.
  • Ms. Ann Reynolds, Meetings Administrator.
  • Ms. Margaret O’Rourke, A/Staff Officer.
  • Ms. Anne Haugh, Director of Social Development.
  • Dr. Carmel Kirby, Director of Economic Development.
  • Ms. Noeleen Fitzgerald, Director of Finance and Support Services.
  • Ms. Siobhán McNulty, A/Director of Physical Development.
  • Mr. Jason Murphy, A/Director of Rural Development and Ukrainian Services.
  • Ms. Deirdre O’Shea, Head of Tourism.

Present via MS Teams:

Cllrs. S. Talty, J. Garrihy, B. Chambers.


Cllrs. L. Grant and I. Lynch.



The outgoing Cathaoirleach addressed the meeting and stated that it was a great honour to serve as Cathaoirleach for the last year and he acknowledged the support received from his fellow elected members during that time.

Cllr. O’Brien stated that he had the opportunity to meet many people around the county and beyond, he experienced many different occasions and represented the people of Clare abroad and he mentioned some highlights from his term as Cathaoirleach as follows:

  • Being part of a delegation representing and promoting County Clare at the Milwaukee Irish Fest in Wisconsin. The trip was the biggest international tourism promotion of County Clare in a few years and he felt that Clare will reap the benefits of the trip for years to come.
  • To see the commencement of works on the Killaloe Bypass project in 2022. The turning of the sod was a momentous day for Killaloe and Ballina, and it gave great encouragement for the future development of the area to have seen construction get underway.
  • Hosting a Mayoral Reception in May of this year. It was a privilege to recognise the outstanding contributions and achievements of so many deserving recipients on the day, in particular the achievements of women in sport from our county.
  • To see Clare County Council announced as Local Authority of the Year. It was a true and deserving an acknowledgement of the commitment and hard work of the staff and elected members of Clare County Council and it was an honour to collect the award on behalf of all involved.
  • KPMG Women’s Irish Open in Dromoland. It was a fun-filled weekend of sport and chat, with some admirable athletes displaying their talents.

Cllr. O’Brien thanked everyone who helped him along his journey as Cathaoirleach, his family, fellow elected members, staff of Clare County Council and the people he met along the way.  Cllr. O’Brien thanked the Leas Cathaoirleach, Cllr. A. Norton who supported him at every opportunity and was always ready and willing to step into the role.

Cllr. O’Brien stated that it has been an excellent year working closely with P. Dowling, the Chief Executive and felt that plenty has been achieved and will continue to be achieved under the guidance of Mr. Dowling and the wider staff.

Cllr. O’Brien continued that we must continue to support our communities, look for new ways to support local businesses, promote our local tourism assets, and ensure that Ennis continues to act as a driver for the economic and social development of the county.

Before getting into official proceedings, Cllr. O’Brien took the opportunity to honour Cllr. P.J. Kelly who has served the people of County Clare for the past 50 years and commended him on his continued dedication to public service for half a century, on this occasion, his 50th AGM.

Cllr. P.J. Kelly thanked the outgoing Cathaoirleach, Cllr. T. O’Brien for his work during the past twelve months and for his practical and forthright approach.  Cllr. Kelly thanked the local people who have elected him during the years and noted the changes that have occurred since he was first elected in 1974.  Cllr. Kelly thanked his wife and family for their ongoing support as well as his fellow Councillors and officials.

P. Dowling, Chief Executive on behalf of himself, staff and former staff thanked Cllr. Kelly for his service to County Clare and stated that it is a huge achievement to attain such long service and for giving time and ability to local communities.


The elected members present paid tributes to the outgoing Cathaoirleach, Cllr. T. O’Brien and complimented the manner which he carried out his duties and co-ordinated the meetings during the year. 

Item 1: Election of Cathaoirleach of the Council for the coming year.

The outgoing Cathaoirleach called for nominations for the post of Cathaoirleach for the forthcoming year.  Cllr. P. Burke proposed Cllr. J. Cooney for the position of Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council for the year 2023-2024, this proposal was seconded by Cllrs. P. Hayes and G. Flynn and agreed by all present. 

As there were no other nominations, Cllr. J. Cooney was declared elected as Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council for the coming year.

Cathaoirleach, Cllr. J. Cooney addressed the meeting and thanked Cllrs. P. Burke, P. Hayes and G. Flynn for nominating him for the position of Cathaoirleach.  Cathaoirleach, Cllr. J. Cooney thanked his family, friends and invited guests for attending the meeting and for supporting him on his journey as a Councillor to date. 

Cathaoirleach, Cllr. J. Cooney referred to the many challenges facing the Council and referred to the day to day running of the Council and the passing of the annual budget which are two big issues with implications and consequences for all citizens.  Cathaoirleach Cooney believed that all participants in the Council Chamber have the same goals and ambitions for our county and must be united to do the best for the county as a team. 

Cathaoirleach, Cllr. J. Cooney stated that he is looking forward to continue working for the people of the Killaloe Municipal District and the county and bring a number of issues to the forefront. He stated that he has several goals which he would like to achieve over the next 12 months and that he will be leading the calls for more improvements right across the county which will include:

improvements to infrastructure throughout rural communities in County Clare. While progress has been made to develop our rural towns and villages, the Cathaoirleach stated that he would like to see further improvements and developments over the next 12 months and years to come to make our rural communities attractive places to work, live and visit.

seeing progress on the development of Holy Island (Inis Cealtra Visitor Centre) is vital. This visitor experience is crucial to the further development and the tourism offering of East Clare and the Mid-West region.

seeing progress on the Killaloe Bridge Crossing and Bypass Project. The sod has been turned and works are ongoing, we need to see these works fast tracked to provide this long overdue project for the people of County Clare.

Overall, across the county, Cathaoirleach Cooney stated that he will lead the calls for further developments throughout our communities. We all have a part to play in promoting County Clare as an attractive place to live, work, and to visit all year round.

Cathaoirleach, Cllr. J. Cooney stated that he looks forward to working closely with the Chief Executive, his fellow elected members and all the staff of Clare County Council on these objectives.

The Cathaoirleach took the opportunity to commend Cllr. Tony O’Brien for his work as Cathaoirleach and stated that it has been a privilege to watch him grow in the role over the past 12 months and that he has represented our county with pride and honour at every event, launch, meeting and at everything else he attended as Cathaoirleach.

Cathaoirleach Cooney stated that he also looks forward to working with the Leas Cathaoirleach who will be elected shortly and working closely with them.

Finally, he thanked his elected member colleagues for electing him to the position of Cathaoirleach of County Clare and stated that it is a great privilege and honour for him, his family and his friends.


The members present congratulated Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Joe Cooney on his appointment as Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, wished him well and committed their support during his term.  The elected members commended the power sharing arrangement that has been in place for the benefit of the county.

Item 2: Election of Leas Cathaoirleach of Council for coming year.

The Cathaoirleach, Cllr. J. Cooney called for nominations for the position of Leas Cathaoirleach.

Cllr. J. Garrihy proposed Cllr. G. Keating for the position of Leas Cathaoirleach and this was seconded by Cllr. P.J. Kelly and agreed by all present.

As there were no other nominations for the post the Cathaoirleach declared Cllr. G. Keating elected as Leas Cathaoirleach for the coming year.

Cllr. G. Keating addressed the meeting and thanked his fellow Councillors for the honour to work as Leas Cathaoirleach and that it is an honour for his family, his parish, his club and the people of West Clare.  He thanked the Chief Executive, staff and media and stated that he looked forward to serving the county for the next twelve months.


The Chief Executive, Pat Dowling, acknowledged the former Cathaoirleach, Cllr. T. O’Brien and stated that his commitment to the office was unique and that he was always available to engage with people.  Mr. Dowling referred to Cllr. O’Briens role as a negotiator and facilitator who was always focused on the outcome and problem solving.  Mr. Dowling also acknowledged the shared leadership that exists in Clare. 


Mr. Dowling congratulated Cathaoirleach, Cllr. J. Cooney and Leas Cathaoirleach, Cllr. G. Keating and assured them of his and the Council staff full support and commitment for the year ahead. 


The Chief Executive also acknowledged the appointment of Cllr. P. Daly as Mayor of Ennis Municipal District, Cllr. I. Lynch as Cathaoirleach of West Clare Municipal District, Cllr. D. McGettigan as Cathaoirleach of Shannon Municipal District and Cllr. T. O’Brien as Cathaoirleach of Killaloe Municipal District.

Item 3: Schedule of Ordinary Meetings for next twelve months.

The Schedule of Meetings was circulated with the agenda and was proposed by Cllr. T. O’Brien, seconded by Cllr. P.J. Ryan and agreed by the members present. 

Item 4: Approval for payment of the Cathaoirleach and Leas Cathaoirleach allowances for the forthcoming year.

Approval for payment of the Cathaoirleach and Leas Cathaoirleach allowances for the forthcoming year was proposed by Cllr. A. Norton, seconded by Cllr. M. Begley and agreed by the members present.



The meeting then concluded.

Signed: ____________________________
                    Riarthóir Cruinnithe

Signed: _____________________________

Date:    _____________________________

Page last reviewed: 10/07/23

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