Councillor Emma Coffey was elected as the new Cathaoirleach of Dundalk Municipal District last night (Tuesday 2nd June) at their monthly meeting. Cllr Coffey won the vote by a margin of 7 votes to 5, drawing support from across party lines.
In a heartfelt and moving speech following her victory, Cllr Coffey began by extending condolences to the families of all those in Louth who lost loved ones due to Covid-19.
Cllr Coffey went on to set out her priorities for the year ahead, including helping Dundalk’s businesses reopen after Covid-19, ensuring Brexit doesn’t result in a hard border and investment in tourism initiatives such as greenways and the extension of the Navvy Bank Walkway.
Cllr Coffey also spoke of the need to protect Tidy Towns funding and advancing the university status for DKIT.
Commenting on Dundalk’s recovery from Covid-19, Cllr Coffey said; ‘’I want to secure long-term relief on commercial and water rates as well as extra supports from Louth County Council to help our businesses through this crisis. I would also be encouraging the Council to seek emergency funding from central Government and ease the pressures on the small businesses in Dundalk and North Louth.’’
Cllr Coffey went on to say: ‘’Similar lessons that we have learned in the past couple of weeks has shown that our small businesses are the glue which bind our community together. Here in the Council chamber, we must show the same togetherness and resilience and in working in harmony to support our business community.’’
Concluding her speech, Cllr Coffey appealed for all Cllrs to work together; ‘’What the lessons of the past has shown us is that by putting aside our differences, by working together to achieve what is best for us all, by being positive and steadfast unity in the face of adversity, the great town of Dundalk can survive, can thrive and be on the frontline of recovery. Together we can make this happen.’’
Cllr Coffey was co-opted onto Louth County Council in 2016 and defended her seat on the Dundalk South constituency in the 2019 elections. She is a practising solicitor and runs her own legal practice in Drogheda.