July 2008

Roscommon Councillor becomes 10th Chairman of the BMW Regional Assembly. Councillor Tom Crosby from Tarmonbarry, Co. Roscommon has been elected unopposed as the new Cathaoirleach of the Border, Midland and Western Regional Assembly at their Annual General Meeting held on Friday 18th July, 2008 at the Assembly Chamber in Ballaghaderreen. Councillor Larry Bannon from Legan, Co. Longford was elected Leas Cathaoirleach.

Councillor Crosby was first elected to Roscommon County Council in 1991 for the Strokestown electoral area and continues to represent this area. Cllr. Crosby was Chairperson of Roscommon County Council for the term 2001/2002 and 2005/2006 and was also Chairperson of the Planning and Development SPC between 1999-2004. He was also a Chairperson of both Ireland West Tourism and Roscommon VEC. He has been a member of the BMW Regional Assembly and West Regional Authority since 2004 and is currently Chairperson of Roscommon County Heritage Committee. In accepting the position, Councillor Crosby said that he was both honoured and privileged to be elected Cathaoirleach of the Assembly.

Accepting the nomination as Cathaoirleach, Councillor Crosby stated that he looked forward to co-operating with the elected members and the staff of the Assembly to ensure that the BMW Region received its full entitlements under the new NDP in the current challenging economic climate. He informed the Assembly that one of his first priorities would be to seek a meeting with the Taoiseach Mr Brian Cowen T.D. to highlight the issues facing the Region. He also stated that he would continue to foster relations with the Northern Ireland Executive and the Northern Ireland Ministerial Council, and he looked forward to the 1st meeting between the Northern Ireland Executive and the Assembly which will take place on the 23rd of July next.

As a former Chairman of Ireland West Tourism, Cllr Crosby is fully aware of the tourism potential of the BMW Region and highlighted the need for further promotion and development of tourism in the Region. He called for the extension of the Mid-Shannon tourist investment scheme to all counties within the BMW Region bordering the Shannon river. The 10th Cathaoirleach of the BMW Regional Assembly also identified the importance of investment in high quality infrastructure for the development of the Region. He stated that the acceleration of improvements to the N5 through Roscommon and Longford would be one of his main priorities during his term. Cllr Crosby also highlighted the need for the Government to fully complete the Western Rail Corridor and ensure that the National Broadband Scheme was fully rolled out in the Region.

Mr. Gerry Finn, Director of the Border, Midland and Western Regional Assembly, congratulated Councillor Crosby on his appointment and looked forward to working with him over the coming year. He also paid tribute to the outgoing Cathaoirleach, Councillor James Deegan for the effective way in which he discharged his duties over his term as Cathaoirleach and to Councillor Andrew Boylan who acted as Leas Cathaoirleach for the past year. In his closing address, outgoing Cathaoirleach Councillor James Deegan acknowledged the co-operation and support of the Assembly members and staff and referred to the continued progress being made across the BMW Region. He also highlighted the successful Annual Conference that had been held in Portlaoise in May and welcomed the new opportunities for North South co-operation that were emerging.

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