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Chain Reaction: Councillors split on Chains of Office

Dolores Minogue
Dolores Minogue photographed at the Fair Green in Ardee in 2016. Photo Credit: Adrian Crawley.
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This article originally appeared on ThisIsArdee.ie

Future cathaoirleach’s of the Ardee Municipal District committee will don a Chain of Office – just as their counterparts in Dundalk and Drogheda do – but only after a vote held by councillors ended split down the middle.

The issue of adopting chains of office was addressed at last week’s January meeting of the Ardee Municipal District committee and the decision to press ahead with the making of a new chain was made after chair Dolores Minogue cast the deciding vote. The vote among all six present councillors ended with three voting for the chains and three opting against.

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As cathaoirleach, Minogue cast the deciding vote in favour of the chains after councillors Colm Markey, Pearse McGeough and Tom Cunningham all voted against bringing in a chain to be worn by the chairperson at events and functions going forward.

The cathaoirleach of Louth County Council, currently Paul Bell, has their own chain of office as does the Mayor of Drogheda. Now, the respective chairs of Dundalk and Ardee Municipal committees are to get their own. Having been raised at the Corporate Policy Group, it was put to each Municipal committee to decide whether to take one for their area.

“We have one for the county, Dundalk are getting the chain and Drogheda have the chain. We become third class citizens if we don’t take this,” Minogue argued in the meeting. “We need to be recognised as equal with Dundalk and Drogheda. I support the chain and have done since day one. We are selling ourselves short by not having one.

“The town chain goes back 100 years – with the old Ardee Town Council – it’s the history of it too,” Minogue later told ThisIsArdee.ie. “It makes total sense.”

While Jim Tenanty agreed, saying it was “the way forward”, Sinn Fein councillor Pearse McGeough was adamant in his opposition to the proposal.

“I would have the opposite view of Jim. The funding will have to come from some pot. I think the money could be better spent than on a chain for some individual around this table” he said. “It’s a complete waste of time. I see no benefit from it. There’s people out there enduring horrendous crisis in their lives at this moment time.”

His sentiments were echoed by Sinn Fein colleague Tom Cunningham who added, “Personally, I don’t see how the change makes you better. I don’t see how it belittles us by not having one. I don’t see the point.”

The cost of the chain will run to just over €1,000, it was confirmed by council officials at the meeting. The final design of the chain has yet to be fully approved but it will feature the Louth County Council coat of arms.

“I have no particular interest to have a chain. I do appreciate that we don’t want to be leaving ourselves behind everyone else,” Colm Markey added.

“I have one concern in that we represent the whole of Mid-Louth. We’ve moved on from simply being Ardee Town Council to be essentially a Mid-Louth Municipal District that includes Ardee,” he said. However, council officials confirmed the chain would be engraved based on the name of the municipal district and would not include ‘Mid-Louth’.

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