The outgoing Cathaoirleach of Donegal Council is planning to advocate for official acknowledgement of frontline workers during Covid-19.
Fianna Fáil Cllr Rena Donaghey today wrapped up a challenging year as Donegal’s first citizen, handing over the mayoral chain to Sinn Féin representative Jack Murray at today’s council AGM.
Looking back on the year of Covid, Cllr Donaghey said she won’t be sorry to see the back of Zoom meetings!
On more sobering topics, she paid tribute to every frontline worker who went above and beyond the call of duty during the pandemic.
She issued heartfelt condolences to families that have lost loved ones as a consequence of Covid-19.
In the months ahead, Cll Donaghey said she will put efforts into getting due recognition for those who made sacrifices for others.
She told the council: “While the clapping on doorsteps may no longer be a feature of these strange times, that does not mean that the work does not go unnoticed.
“I for one will be advocating for a proper national acknowledgment of the contribution of so many that stepped up during those times.
“I really do hope that the worst of it is now behind us as the tremendous work of the government is underway with the HSE vaccine rollout allows us to slowly return to life as it had been.”
Cllr Donaghey said her one regret was not being able to engage with people in-person across Donegal during her term as Cathaoirleach.
Cllr Donaghey also said that all political focus should be placed on Mica Redress in the year to come.
The issue, she said, is blighting the lives of thousands of families in Donegal.
“It is an issue causing untold street in families, and one I’m very glad that we as a council united on at our last meeting.
“With the Covid pandemic now stabilising the Mica epidemic in the county must consume all of our political energy over the months ahead.
“Nothing less than 100% scheme will give the families the justice they deserve. It’s important we reiterate that message today as the Mica Working group convenes this week for the first time.
“I welcome the commitments given my Minster O Brien and An Taoiseach to resolve the scheme issue rapidly, but they must know that the scheme can’t be delivered fully for families who are at no fault whatsoever.”
Cllr Donaghey, looking back on the past twelve months, highlighted many positive initiatives, achievements and successes that Donegal has welcomed. Initiatives such as the commercial rates waiver, start-up grants, developing digital hubs and supports for domestic violence victims have been vital to communities during the crisis.
She acknowledged the real and tangible work of the council in the daily lives of Donegal people, which amounts to a spend of almost €1million per day.
Above all, Cllr Donaghey issued a thank you to the people of Donegal for their support and encouragement throughout the year.
“It has been my greatest privilege to serve as your first citizen and only the third woman to do so,” Cllr Donaghey said.