All change and no change at the same time : the chronicle.ie

All change and no change at the same time

| April 18, 2014

They are about to be no more, but you would never guess that Wexford Borough Council is on its death bed. The members are still displaying tremendous energy, passion and interest in just about everything for a group whose death will be announced before the end of May.

Indeed such was the passion, and sometimes anger, on display at the April meeting that some of the members could be in danger of hastening their personal demise if they don’t lighten up a bit.

No doubt the forthcoming local elections and the greater challenge which will be faced by some in trying to win a seat on the enlarged Council is playing no small part in their anxiety.

It was my first time at a Borough Council meeting since 1988, it used to be called the Corporation then, but they are a lot more posh these days.

There are only two survivors, well three if your count reporter Maria Pepper, from that time, Padge Reck and Paddy Nolan. Both are to bow out of politics next month.

Many of the others who were sitting around the table at that time are still in the chamber, but they now exist only as images hanging on the walls in their robes of Office.

The Council has of course moved to its new ‘home’ in Spawell Road from the Municipal Building, so the chamber is different, so too are the high-tech electronic blinds which the Mayor ordered to be closed before proceedings began. Whether it was to shut out the light or just to show that as an all powerful first citizen he could bring darkness where there was none, I don’t know.

Then there is the bottled water. There was no water back in the day, but I often remember the Mayor’s Parlour being opened up to quench the thirst after meetings. But it wasn’t bottled water we enjoyed.

And then there was the sight of the Co. Manager tapping away as his I pad during the meeting. It’s sort of difficult to believe now but back then we all existed without mobile devices of any kind.

But there are some things that never change. There was a lot of debate, for example, about car parking on match days around Wexford Park, an issue that has remained constant over the decades.

And when councillor Joe Ryan asked the Borough Engineer when window frames at Sean McBride Place would be replaced I could have closed my eyes and imagined it was the late Jimmy O’Mahoney asked about door frames in Bishopswater.

Ah yes, it’s all change in a way and no change at all at the same time. However, when Big Phil Hogan presides at the funeral service for virtually all urban authorities next month things will certainly change and that piece of local democracy which is closest to the people will cease to exist.

Sure it will save money, and at a time of very scarce resources the country needs to save every penny it can, but it will be sad all the same to see a little piece of Wexford history disappearing under Big Phil’s overcoat.

 

 

Category: News