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Gerry looks forward to retirement

Gerry Gilroy

Gerry Gilroy with Liam Ward, Director of Service at a function in the Old Courthouse Lifford to mark Gerry's retirement from Donegal County Council .


After more than 41 years service with Donegal County Council, Gerry Gilroy is looking forward to a new chapter in his life.


Gerry is well known throughout the Council and it is safe to say that he has had a varied and interesting career.  Starting out in 1974 as a clerical officer in the Revenue Section or Rates Office as it was known then, Gerry recalls a time when all bills issued were handwritten from a ledger, phones were few and far between and there was no computers or e-mail. 


“When I started in the Council my first job was to write out bills for domestic water charges by hand. All transactions had to be recorded into a large ledger and everything had to balance at the end of each day. 


“Things were much more formal in the early days.  Every letter from the Council was issued in the name of the County Secretary and there was no delegation of the County Manager's functions like there is today.


“Technology has brought about the greatest change not only in how we work but in how we live our lives.  We had no mobile phones, there wasn’t a phone on every desk and a clerk typists typed all letters and minutes of meetings and so on.  For example the draft minutes of Council meetings were typed up with each page on a stencil and if a significant change had to be made the whole set of minutes might have to be done again.


When Gerry first started in the Council, the Troubles were at their height in Northern Ireland and like many of his colleagues Gerry and his young wife Betty lived in Strabane in the early days of their marriage.  He recalls a bomb going off one evening in Strabane during the Winter of 1975/76.


“I was working overtime at the time and Betty and our baby daughter Amanda were at home in Strabane but we had no phone at home so I had no way of knowing that they were okay.  I rushed back into Strabane to make sure they were okay and thankfully they were.  The bedroom window was shattered however and there were pieces of glass in the baby's cot. We didn’t stay in Strabane long after that, we moved firstly to Coolatee just outside Lifford and then finally settled in the Alt, Castlefin where we have reared our five children.”


Gerry has had many interesting and varied roles in the Council including Water Safety Officer, EU Liaison Officer with the N.A.S.C. project, Chairperson of the Management Committee for an Estate Management Project, Deputy Returning Officer at four Local Elections and has also undertaken the role of Acting County Secretary and Acting Assistant County Manager on a number of occasions during the 1990s.


However, when asked what his most challenging role has been he talks about his work as Administrative Officer in Housing in the late 1990s.


 Gerry Gilroy

Gerry with his daughter Erin at a function in the Old Courthouse Lifford last Thursday to mark Gerry's retirement from Donegal County Council .


“In the late 1990s, working in the Housing Service was very challenging.  There was a high turnover of staff, lots of construction was taking place throughout the county and the High Court had required the Council to put in place emergency accommodation provisions for the Traveller community. It meant a lot of public meetings throughout the county to explain what was being done and to address concerns / objections.


“In addition to all this Better Local Government was being introduced with the most significant changes in local government for a century taking place. Although it was a stressful time, I had a great team of people working with me and we got through it and still managed to deliver a good housing service for the people of Donegal”.


Gerry has also worked closely with the elected members of Donegal County Council particularly in his role as Area Manager for Corporate Services in the Donegal and Stranorlar areas a role which he took on in 2002, and more recently as Area Manager in the Housing and Corporate Services in Stranorlar.


“I have enjoyed working with Donegal County Council who has been a good employer for me. I have made many good friends both at work and through my work with the council. These past forty one years have flown by but I am now ready to enjoy the extra free time I will have relaxing with my wife and family, especially with my two grandchildren, and try to improve my golf.


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