There were emotional moments at a meeting of Sligo County Council this morning as councillors paid tribute to their late colleague, Councillor Margaret Gormley.
It was the first meeting of the council since Cllr Gormley’s death last month.
After all councillors paid tributes to her this morning, the meeting was adjourned until next Wednesday as a mark of respect.
Margaret Gormley had been an Independent county councillor for almost 40 years.
A consistent poll-topper, she became renowned as a passionate advocate for all things rural, particularly in south and west Sligo.
Today, all councillors paid their tributes to her, some very personal, some even emotional at times.
The proposal to adjourn this morning’s meeting was made by another Independent, Councillor Declan Bree, who not only served alongside the late Cllr Gormley for all her time on the council but also sat beside her on the Independents’ seats.
This morning, Cllr Bree, now Sligo’s longest-serving councillor, recalled their times together, having gone from having been council colleagues to becoming ‘very special friends.’
Cllr Michael Clarke, another Independent who seconded Cllr Bree’s motion, said Cllr Gormley’s imprint is on many projects in South Sligo.
Couincillors also recalled her support for the GAA, including ladies Gaelic football.
They also recalled how, in 2004, she carried out her role as cathaoirleach of the council with dignity and honour, with Cllr Sinead Maguire recalling her ‘wearing the chain with a great smile surrounded by men.’
Council CEO Ciaran Haynes said it was difficult to look down this morning at the empty chair where Cllr Gormley had sat.
He said she was a proud woman, proud of her area, proud of her role and responsibilities, of football . . . and of her family, and they could be proud of her.
Mr Hayes and the councillors also recalled this morning the other councillor who passed away during the term of the what is now the outgoing council . . that was the late Cllr Seamus O Boyle who died suddenly in August 2015.