APPLAUSE echoed around the chambers of Wexford County Council on Monday as County Secretary David Minogue brought the curtain down on over three decades of service to the local authority.
aving started out with Kildare County Council in 1983, Mr Minogue moved to Wexford in 1990 during which time he’s held a vast number of roles including town clerk for New Ross, Enniscorthy and Gorey, as well as his most recent roles as County Secretary and Head of Communications.
Somewhat emotionally, Mr Minogue spoke of how he enjoyed every moment of his career with Wexford County Council, the highs and the lows.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time with Wexford County Council and Kildare County Council before that. I come from a local authority family. My father before me would have served on Clare County Council.
“I’m very grateful to Wexford County Council for the what it has given me and my family. I want to thank all of the members, past and present, for the way in which they’ve supported me and my family over the years. We don’t always agree on issues, and we shouldn’t, but there’s always been absolute respect.
“We’ve shared the highs and lows; elections won and elections lost, and I have huge admiration for those people who stick there head above the parapet, put their name on the ballot paper and go before the people.”
Speaking of his decision to finish up now, Mr Minogue said: “I’m really content with my decision. Myself and my wife had come to this decision some time ago. I’ve had a blast and I’ve enjoyed the company of everyone here. I hope I’ve contributed to the council in some form.”
The Clare native’s 38 years service to local authorities comes to an end on somewhat of a bitter note, as he recently found himself embroiled in a controversy with local radio station South East Radio who accused him of attempting to “censor” editorial output on behalf of the council.
Mr Minogue was blasted for proposing a list of “criteria” when negotiating the renewal of a €50,000 advertising contract, which included presenters not being able to give their personal opinion on council matters and a request that the station not return to a topic once the local authority has given a statement on it.
South East Radio Managing Director Eamonn Buttle has been vocal in his calls for a full independent investigation, having rejected offered mediation, but it appears that Mr Minogue will now be retired by the time any investigation takes place, hanging up his spurs on July 1.
There was plenty of praise from the chamber floor for Mr Minogue as those present acknowledged and long and storied career with the council. Particularly fulsome in his praised was Cllr Michael Sheehan.
“No matter what we agreed or disagreed upon, David would come to whatever problem there was from a member’s point of view,” he said. “He’s operated in a number of different guises, but I believe he’s always called the big decisions right. If there’s one official who always hit the right note in a public setting, it’s David Minogue. I think he should be very proud of his legacy and achievements here.”
Perhaps referencing recent controversies, Cllr Pat Barden said: “As a new member, I’ve always found David to be very approachable and he was always at the end of the phone. He was controversial at times, but he always rose above it on a personal level and I really admire that about him.”
Cathaoirleach Barbara-Anne Murphy recalled how Mr Minogue had been there as she both won and lost elections. “I just want to thank you for all your hard work and courtesy over the years,” she said. “I wish your wife Anne all the very best for the future.”
Chief Executive of Wexford County Council Tom Enright praised the outgoing County Secretary for his loyalty to the local authority.
“I’d just like to join in the tributes that have already been paid,” he said. “David definitely understands the role of councillors and how to support them. He’s been very loyal and devoted to his job.
“As David mentioned, his father served with Clare County Council and I’ve no doubt that if he were alive today, he would’ve been very proud to see his son rise to the rank of County Secretary. David’s knowledge and expertise will be a huge loss and I wish him all the very best for the future.”
Noting the importance of the role, Mr Enright was also keen to announce the new County Secretary who will be taking over the reins from July 1, Michael Drea from the Housing Department.