Councillor Willie O’Regan is to step down from Mallow Town Council within the next two months, paving the way for a new Sinn Fein member to take his place and lead the party into the elections for the new municipal council next year. The councillor was first elected in 2004 and served one term as Mayor. Speaking to the Mallow Star this week, Cllr O’Regan said he decided to step down and let another Sinn Fein candidate step forward, due to work commitments and his anger and disappointment at the decision by Minister Hogan to abolish the Town Council next year. “I’m extremely angry that [the Minister] decided to take away the first and most important tier of local democracy” he said, adding that “I am very proud to have served the people of Mallow for the last two terms and I would like to thank the public for putting their faith in me. I hope I have repaid that faith, and while the decision [to resign] was very difficult to make, I feel it is the right decision, and by co-opting another member of Sinn Fein to the local authority, I think it is important that the people of Mallow get to know our future candidate for the 2014 elections.

“I will miss the engagement with the community, trying to address problems and situations, but I will continue to work at a local level with Sinn Fein.”

The councillor was elected in 2004 and comfortably retained his seat in 2009. He served as Mayor of Mallow in 2010 and among his achievements was putting the issue of radon gas on the public agenda, not just locally but at a national level. When asked if he had any disappointment regarding his time on the council, he commented, “I feel frustrated at the funding cuts to local authorities, and at not being able to address housing needs quicker.” He said his saddest moment came when Cllr Jack Tierney died. “Jack was a lovely man, and his contribution as an independent was massive.”

Cllr O’Regan will officially announce his retirement at the September meeting of the council, and after the Sinn Fein convention a new councillor will be chosen and presented to the October meeting of the council.