Friday, 27 September 2013

Gwen Horrigan

It is unfortunate to see the current speculation about the future of my ward colleague Gwen Horrigan. In my view Gwen epitomises much of what is good about local government. For about 20 years she has served the residents who have elected her tirelessly taking a particular interest in housing and the armed forces. She is much loved by residents across the Town as has been immediately evident on the occasions I have canvassed on her behalf. I would have to say that on the doorstep she has had a more positive and widespread reaction than any other councillor I have worked with - and obviously that includes me! As mayor she (supported by her husband Pat) was tireless in her enthusiasm and dedication to the job. Unfortunately recent months have seen a deterioration in Gwen's physical health of and we can only hope that with the care of her family and others this can be reversed. Gwen last attended a council meeting in May of this year. The rules provide that if she misses a period of 6 months her term will come to an end and it will then be a question as to whether or not residents trigger a by election. Accordingly at the moment she is still within the very time limit intended to cover situations like these so why the speculation. Surely her service to the Town demands we all show a little patience. Arguably I should be keen for her to step down - at present we cannot rely on her vote leaving the chamber potentially with no effective majority and in circumstances where we would be hopeful of winning any by election it would reinstate an effective majority. It would also mean that my ward colleague John Lamb and I would have help in dealing with ward issues. But I still think that Gwen deserves better and I am happy to wait for her to make her decision and am confident that when and if she decides she cannot return she will stand down. In the meantime do we really want the cost to the town of a winter by election?

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