“I’ve had an absolute ball,” beamed the current Buncrana Mayor, Nicholas Crossan.
But the Independent councillor’s days with the coveted chain are numbered as next Wednesday a new Town Mayor will be elected at the council’s Annual General Meeting.
Since last June the proud Buncrana man has been welcoming the Canadian Ambassador, entertaining students and meeting some of the country’s biggest politicians. And he has loved every minute of it.
“I love meeting people and this past year I’ve meet so many people from all different walks. I’ve had a ball and I will miss it a lot. It is a priceless job and you get so much satisfaction out of it.
“It has been a crazy year. When I was nominated as Mayor I was on crutches and just out of hospital. But it has been an absolute pleasure from start to finish.”
Nicholas has been a councillor for 18 years, and this is hissecond term as Mayor of Buncrana. He’s delighted to have been given the chance to do it all again.
“The first time I was Mayor, 15 years ago, was a very different era for me. I had two young children and my wife was pregnant with our third. On top of that I was working six days a week. It was definitely more of a chore, but I was delighted to get the chance again and I was sure I wasn’t going to make the same mistake again.
“I think anyone who is elected as Mayor of our town should put time aside and do it properly. There were very few events I missed and I tried to attend everything I was asked to, from a small event in a local school to welcoming the Canadian Ambassador to the town.”
His involvement with the local schools will be a lasting legacy for Colr. Crossan. It was an impromptu meeting with Crana College students which stands out in his head.
“There have been so many different events this year, but recently when I was in the middle of organising the Mayor’s Ball, the Crana College Student Council came to meet me. It was really heartening to see those young people and hear the questions they were asking me. We sat for an hour in the office and it was one of the best hours I’ve spent as Mayor. It gave me a real sense of what is coming behind us.”
Nicholas is chairperson of the group of independents within the Association of Municpal Authorities of Ireland, which involves every one of the 85 town councils in the Republic. He is a strong believer in representation at the local level and hopes the current Minister does not “decide to destroy” the smaller councils.
“I believe in Town Councils. I believe the power should be at the lowest tier of society. There is an awful lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, whether it be with community groups or voluntary groups.There isn’t a group in Buncrana which doesn’t have some input from the Town Council.
“As well as that, we are the people on the street and there is a lot to be said for local knowledge. People have the confidence in us to come and speak to us, and we might not always be able to help, but we probably will be able to find out a problem or point them in the right direction.”
Despite being a councillor for almost two decades, Independent man Nicholas has never been tempted to join a political party.
“I think local government is too small for politics, -it is more important to look after people and not parties. I have been asked to join a few parties in my time, but I was always happy to be an Independent, and I think you always get your answer at the polls anyway. With a bit of luck and good work, I’ve got on ok.”
Looking forward to festival
Despite being involved in everything to do with Buncrana for the past year, from the Rás, the Road Ahead Conference, Junk Kouture and the Tip O’Neill project to the walk and cycle group, Nicholas is still looking forward to a busy summer chairing the Buncrana Festival Committee.
“This is my first time being involved in the festival. It wasn’t going to go ahead but now we will be launching a full programme over the next few weeks. There is a small group of us working on it and it will be happeningfrom the 26th – 29th July. I’m really looking forward to that now this year.”
Nicholas thanked all the staff in the civic offices and praised the commitment of voluntary groups “who don’t always get the credit they deserve”.