Gale force wind blows in as the county manager blows out

Philomena Poole  New COunty Manager

Philomena Poole New COunty Manager

Hundred-mile an hour winds buffeted the country last Wednesday. By lunchtime the waves were pounding the promenade at Blackrock while another storm was about to unfold.

County manager Philomena Poole hit the airwaves with the news that she was leaving her post in Louth.

She is expected to take up a new position as county manager of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown. She spent six months as Louth County Manager.

It didn’t seem long enough to be even called a blow in.

Eight minutes after it was announced on air, Dundalk Town Council chairman Eamonn O’Boyle got a phone call from the county manager to let him know she was off.

“I was surprised and disappointed,” the chairman said. “I think it’s incredible. It’s the shortest reign ever.

“She clearly could have made a major contribution to the area. I wish her well. It’s her decision. It will be a loss to this county.”

The chairman of Louth County Council, Declan Breathnach, was also surprised.

“I’m disappointed,” Cllr Breathnach said. “She had good vision for the county. I hope her replacement is going to stay. It’s disappointing. But I wish her well.”

Cllr Breathnach thought a minimum amount of service as a county manager should be introduced into contracts.

“If there is a maximum time of service, then there should be a minimum service of five years,” he said.

Like councillor O’Boyle, he was looking forward to working with the new manager, especially on environmental issues, the very issues Ms Poole had found wonderful about Louth.

“This is the cleanest county I have ever seen,” she said, when she took up office last August.

“The gold and silver medals attained in the national tidy Towns are a credit to all.”

And all were looking forward to winning more gold and silver with the new team coach.

She came to Louth at what she believed was an exciting time for local government: the merger of councils, the sharing of services, and the development of green energy.

“The Wee County packs a big punch,” she said, and it sounded like the gloves were on.

But no. The bell was a false alarm. The Wee County is orphaned once more.

“It has the two largest towns in the country and the cross-border link gives it an added dimension.”

Well, that doesn’t seem to have done the trick either.

She wanted the Narrow Water Bridge project to succeed. Over E2m was committed to the project by Louth Local Authorities but the whole thing is still up in the air.

This is a difficult time for local authorities.

A whole new council structure has been drawn up. A whole new council will be elected in May.

Council departments are being amalgamated.

So it is time the ship was steadied?


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