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Hayes to be next county mayor

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East Clare County Councillor Pat Hayes is set to be voted in as the county’s next mayor at the local authority’s AGM on Thursday, bridging a 16-year gap since the region had mayoral representation.
Councillor Hayes has been a county councillor since 1999, having stood in 1991 unsuccessfully. He lives in Maghera, Caher and comes from a very musical family. He is the son of Peggy Hayes and the renowned musician PJoe Hayes, now deceased.
The part-time farmer, community worker and father of three was nominated by his Fianna Fáil party colleagues two years ago to represent them in the bid for mayor. He is expected to be named as the new mayor, due a standing arrangement within the various groupings of Clare County Council.
Asked about the role, Councillor Hayes says he is both apprehensive in the sense that it is a big challenge taking on the role of Mayor of a county but is also deeply honoured to take on that responsibility.
“If someone told me years ago that I would become the mayor of Clare I could never have dreamt it but it has happened,” he said.
“My big aspiration was always to get elected. I have always been a community activist and I’m a Fianna Fáil member and I always felt I’d like the opportunity to represent the people. I’ve always said it is my religion in life to help people and communities and I’m going to stick by that motto. Once you are elected you always aspire to progression and to progress to the mayor of a county will be a humbling and honourable progression,” he outlined.
In taking on the role, Councillor Hayes hopes to bring his own style to the role of mayor of County Clare.
“I hope this county will look inwardly in a sense at the wonderful assets and wonderful people it has. The people are the assets of this county and we need to see how we can develop on these. For too long there has been a perception of why doesn’t someone do it for us but we need to look at what we can do for ourselves at county level. Sometimes, we often demean ourselves but if I can inspire people to celebrate with communities and individuals what we really have here and bring people back to a social conscious.
“I suppose if the recession brought anything about it brought this back that we are beginning to look at what we can do for ourselves. It’s important that we all share the responsibility and I would hope to work with our colleagues across all political divides to work for the betterment of this county and try and celebrate what is good about this county,” he continued.
Following in the footsteps of a number of councillors, including former East Clare councillor Colm Wiley, who was mayor of Clare from 1993 and 1995, Councillor Hayes will try to strike a county-wide balance.
“I think it is important that I highlight tourism and job creation and projects around East Clare as well and I would be hoping to help what way I can but being mindful that I’m elected for the whole county.
“I’m honoured for my family, Ann, Aoife, Ciara and Liam, my extended family  and my community of Caher and Flagmount that I will be the first person to be mayor to represent that rural countryside and I wouldn’t be there but for the support of the East Clare people over the last 12 years.
“In essence, I am their mayor, they elected me and I feel it is important to acknowledge where you came from,” he said.
As he was recovering from illness last year, Councillor Hayes was unable to make the AGM but is looking forward now to Thursday’s events, stressing that he is “up for the challenge”.
“I hope to do this council proud and I will serve all the people in this county,” he concluded.

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