Fianna Fail Cllr Donal Coyle has been formally elected as the new Mayor of the Letterkenny-Milford Municipal District.
The Fanad native celebrated receiving the ‘great honour’ today as he takes over the role from Independent Cllr John O’Donnell. Cllr Liam Blaney (Fianna Fáil) was elected to the role of Deputy Mayor, taking over from Cllr Kevin Bradley (Independent).
Cllr Coyle donned the mayoral chain with delight as he looked forward to representing all of the people in the whole electoral area and focusing on key issues in the challenging year ahead.
The Letterkenny-Milford AGM took place against a sombre backdrop, as today marks the first anniversary of the tragic death of the late Cllr Manus Kelly.
Councillors observed a minute of silence in memory of their late friend and colleague.
“This is a tough day,” Cllr Coyle acknowledged.
Cllr Coyle shared the sentiments of all members as they kept Cllr Kelly’s family and his father, Cllr Donal Kelly, in their thoughts and prayers.
“He would have been a great asset to this council,” Cllr Coyle said of Cllr Kelly.
Looking ahead to his 2020/21 term, Cllr Coyle said he looks forward to sharing the honour of being first citizen with his family. Cllr Coyle was joined by his wife Kathleen, children, brothers, sisters, nephews and in-laws for the special occasion.
Cllr Coyle, a retired school principal, was first elected to the county council in May 2019 with 1,192. His association with politics goes back more than 45 years.
Education, business, tourism, the Irish language, MICA redress and infrastructure are among the key issues which Cllr Coyle said he will focus on in the year ahead.
‘Things can only get better’ is Cllr Coyle’s outlook for the area after the Covid-19 lockdown.
Cllr Coyle called on people to think positivity, cooperate and foster diversity as Letterkenny grows.
“There is a light at the end of the tunnel, Letterkenny is open for business and we as a council need to lead by example and send out that positive message that the town and county and every other little village and town is open for business.
“Though it’s slow, I have no doubt that with the resilience of people and the cooperation of the general public thigs can only get better.”
As Letterkenny expands towards city status, Cllr Coyle said there is great value in its diverse population.
“We are living in a community with a lot of diversity and we have to look a that as being positive for the town and the county. People of other nationalities in the town add to the town, we can learn from them and we should make it as easy as we can for people to integrate because a city has diversity – we have diversity in this town and we should cherish that.”
Cllr Coyle added that the council also has a duty to serve the rural population of Letterkenny-Milford.
He added that he wishes to work with the local Chamber of Commerce and tourism to lead by example and face upcoming challenges.
In Letterkenny, Cllr Coyle said this year he will focus on having key projects completed in his term, such as the completion of the Joe Bonnar Road, the commencement of works on the Four Lane carriageway, sewage works in Bonagee and Woodlands, and a large push towards the construction of a bridge over the River Swilly, which he describes as “the most important bit of infrastructure that this town needs.”
Cllr Coyle’s nomination as Mayor was formally proposed by Cllr Ciaran Brogan seconded by Cllr Liam Blaney.