There was a shock announcement at today’s monthly meeting of Wexford County Council when Sinn Fein’s Cllr Oisin O’Connell told the members that it was his last meeting as a councillor and he was resigning his seat before Christmas.
Cllr O’Connell cited increased family and business commitments as the reason for his departure and he thanked his fellow councillors and officials for their courtesy towards him since he was elected in 2014.
Cllr O’Connell’s replacement is Marie Doyle, a native of New Ross town, who was in attendance at the meeting in an observer capacity.
Cllr Tony Dempsey lead the tributes; “I am sorry to see you go. You were always a positive contributor,” while Cllr Mary Farrell described the councillor from Horetown as “a pleasure to work with” and “a man of integrity.”
Cllr Martin Murphy asked to be associated with all the kind and positive remarks from the members and described Cllr O’Connell as “the gentleman of politics” and he wished both Oisin and Marie every success in the future.
“A gentleman to work with,” stated Cllr Tony Walsh, while Cllr Willie Fitzharris said “Oisin has contributed greatly to the Council and I wish him well for the future.”
Cllr Davy Hynes said he was taken aback by the news. “We have lost a few councillors already. It is a busy life being a councillor.You were always approachable and gave it your best shot.”
Cllr Robbie Ireton wished Cllr O’Connell well and wished to be associated with all the fine tributes. “It is a sad day for Wexford. You made a great contribution for the betterment of Wexford and a great warrior for that. I hope you’ll be back here again when the kids grow up!”
Cllr John Fleming; “You were courteous and respectful and easy to work with. Thanks for your contribution.”
Cllr Michael Whelan recalled Cllr O’Connell’s courtesy and he acknowledged his work for the betterment of New Ross district and Wexford county.
“A true gentleman” said Cllr Oliver Walsh, while Cllr Michael Sheehan said “he worked for the betterment of the town and county and the people” and he showed integrity and great ability.
Fellow Sinn Fein member Cllr Johnny Mythen said it was “a sad day” for the party. “You made a great contribution in all aspects but we have lost a great colleague. A sad day for the party but a good day for family life. You will be missed.”
Chairman of Wexford County Council, Cllr Keith Doyle said Cllr O’Connell held three virtues “integrity, honourable and trust.”
Chief Executive Officer Tom Enright thanked Cllr O’Connell for a great contribution and for the work he did for the people looking for his help. “Your approach won a lot of friends here. You have done a lot in the past five years.” Marie Doyle will be co-opted as Cllr O’Connell’s replacement and will attend her first meeting of Wexford County Council at the January meeting.