Leitrim County Council made a special presentation to newly elected Sinn Féin TD, Martin Kenny at Monday's meeting.
Council Chief Executive, Frank Curran, paid tribute to the former councillor, noting that, since his co-option following the resignation of Liam McGirl in November 2003, Kenny had “worked tirelessly to represent his local community and the county.”
With Deputy Kenny set to take up his new role in the Dáil this Thursday, Mr Curran commended him for his many years of service to the county and the council noting that he had “forged excellent relationships with the staff and executive” of the council and had always acted with courtesy, professionalism and respect.
“It is very important that Leitrim has a voice in the Dáil and I believe (Deputy Kenny) will continue to represent his constituency in the same manner he has in the Council.”
Cathaoirleach, Cllr John McCartin, also paid tribute to Deputy Kenny, praising the capable and courteous manner in which he had always approached his job and wishing him the very best in his career in Dáil Éireann.
He also praised Cllr Paddy O'Rourke and Cllr Des Guckian for running in the last election.
Cllr O'Rourke observed that it was not until he entered the race for a seat that he understood the level of achievement involved in securing a seat, adding “I am sure (Deputy Kenny's) apprenticeship in Leitrim County Council will stand him in good stead for his years going forward and I wish him every success in the future.”
Cllr Des Guckian said that he hoped that when Deputy Kenny “entered the Dáil he didn't do like a lot of TDs and forget where he came from,” and he urged Deputy Kenny to stand up against the Dublin centred agenda in the media.
Other messages of congratulations were given by Independent councillors, Enda Stenson and Gerry Dolan as well as by Sinn Féin councillor, Padraig Fallon on behalf of Martin's own party.
Cllr Mary Bohan paid tribute to Deputy Kenny on behalf of Fianna Fáil while Cllr Frank Dolan added words of congratulations on behalf of Fine Gael.
Responding from the public seats of the Council chamber, Deputy Kenny thanked everyone for their words of tribute and said it was a very different prospect to be “shouting in from the sidelines.”
“Thank you all for the last 13 years. There have been so many other councillors who have served alongside me who are no longer here and I want to pay tribute to them,” he said.
“I know that I have a big task ahead of me and I hope there will be a new future ahead for all of us.
“I feel that Leitrim has been left behind and I want to play my part in addressing that.”
He also paid tribute to the staff of Leitrim County Council and said “on behalf of the 30,000 odd people who live in this county” he wished to thank the staff for their work on the ground.”
“I am very grateful to all of you, to all the people of Co Leitrim and the media,” he concluded before a special presentation was made by the Cathaoirleach.