Louth County Council Chief Executive Joan Martin said she hopes the the ascension of Togher-based councillor Colm Markey to the European Parliament in Brussels will make it easier for easier for the local authority, and others around the country, to access EU funding and support.
Cllr Markey will assume the role of Member of the European Parliament, replacing Mairead McGuinness in Brussels after she was named as the new EU Commissioner last month, after Phil Hogan’s resignation following the Golfgate scandal.
Markey has served on Louth County Council for 12 years and will now move to take over from McGuinness, a position she herself held for 17 years. Markey was McGuinness’ first named substitute to replace her as an MEP should the eventuality arise.
At the September meeting of Louth County Council held at St Gerard’s Hall in Dundalk, fellow councillors paid tribute to Cllr Markey and wished him well in his upcoming move to Brussels – including Cllr Liam Reilly of Fianna Fáil, Pearse McGeough of Sinn Féin and Labour’s Michelle Hall, as well as Cathaoirleach Dolores Minogue.
Chief Executive Joan Martin said it was a benefit to the local authority to have someone move straight from the council chamber to the European Parliament and added she hoped that his presence would aid future grant and support applications.
“I’ve known Colm for a long time, certainly since before he was a councillor,” she told the meeting. “We have spent a lot of time together on the LEADER programme. I have one big request for Colm as he heads off to Brussels and that is to get rid of all this bureaucracy around all these EU programmes.
“As someone with vast experience working on the LEADER programme, we hope you’ll be able to sort it out and make it a bit simpler for us all. We have no doubt, if we need something for Europe, we know who to ring. Don’t change your phone number!”
A Fine Gael selection convention will now take place to determine who will be co-opted onto Louth County Council and the Ardee Municipal District to replace Cllr Markey.