The outgoing Mayor of Donegal Town, Paul Keeney has spoken to this newspaper on his reflections on his last two years as Mayor of Donegal Town and outlined his priorities for the town and its hinterland as he seeks re-election to the office of Mayor next Friday (March 25th.)
Keeney told this newspaper, “Like many other urban centres across the country, Donegal Town has faced its fair share of challenges which have been exacerbated by the chill winds of recession but I firmly believe that the town is well positioned to survive the storm and benefit when economic growth returns to the North West.
Speaking as he embarked on the campaign trail, Paul underlined what he sees as the key issues and the main areas on which he pledges to continue working if re-elected.
“I sincerely believe in Donegal Town and its people and am firmly of the view that this town has a wealth of potential.
“While the role of Mayor is an honorary position which means it has no executive function, there is a myriad of opportunity and scope which a young and enthusiastic person can bring to the job.
“I made no apology for endorsing a vibrant “Shop Local” campaign as Mayor of Donegal Town, it stands to reason that if we support local retailers, we sustain local jobs and create the potential to even increase employment.
“In addition to the value of these jobs, we all turn to these businesses for seasonal employment for our young people and sponsorship for our clubs and community events.
“Not only does it make commercial sense and constitute fair play to shop local, but it also most convenient and represents great value to boot.
“At the outset in March 2009 when I became Mayor of Donegal Town, I expressed my confidence in the people of Donegal and their resourcefulness.
“Our Enterprise Centre at Lurganboy will be fully complete in May next, this a major vote of confidence in the town with an investment of approximately €750,000. This will help promote a culture and spirit of enterprise locally with suitable premises being made available to local start-up businesses and entrepreneurs at favourable rents. Job retention and creation is very much to the fore on my agenda.
“It has been my great privilege to forge even greater links with our young people through my involvement on the Youth Advisory Council and the Adult Advisory Council of the local branch of Foróige.
Our youth is our future and by my association with the No Name club and the St John Bosco Club as well as Foróige, I have been so impressed by the energy, ingenuity and genuine pride of our young people in Donegal Town and its hinterland.
I always believed the office of Mayor should be open to everybody and the Mayor should be available to everybody and that has been part of my motivation for continuing my work with the youth which I find both enlightening and enriching. I am also acutely aware of the recreational needs of this section of society and plan to continue my work on their behalf.
“Donegal Town is synonymous with tourism with the industry now one of our major employers. In addition to the very high-standard of accommodation and hospitality which we offer, we also have superb beaches, bays, walks, mountains, sporting facilities, fishing and a rich history to attract visitors here.
“I am delighted that I have been able to get a commitment from the former Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW that a detailed structural survey of the Manor House at Donegal Castle will be carried out with a view to restoring the building.
“This would be a further boost to our tourism facilities in the town.” he said