PAST and present staff colleagues, councillors and friends gathered in the Vertigo suite in Cork’s County Hall recently to pay tribute to senior executive technician Martin Walsh on his retirement, or as he would prefer to call it, his ‘change in direction’, after 34 years of outstanding service to Cork County Council.
Leap-born Martin is also a renowned photographer and sports journalist, specialising in motor rallying for The Southern Star and other media for many years. He is also very involved in community activities in Courtmacsherry, where he resides.
MC Ritchie Keating, senior executive officer at the property section said he learned a lot from Martin because his experience, knowledge and ability ‘are incomparable’.
He added: ‘He will be a huge loss and is irreplaceable but I’ve no doubt he’ll have plenty to do, including trips to Old Trafford’.
West Cork divisional manager Clodagh Henehan described Martin as ‘our known expert on land registry’ who was very organised, personable, hard working, reliable, helpful, a great colleague.
Clodagh presented a sculpture to Martin, and Ritchie presented a bouquet to Martin’s wife Assumpta.
Martin also received a memento book signed by colleagues and friends, along with other gifts.
Thanks were expressed to function organisers Tracy Sheehan and Martha Drake, photographer Tina Horgan and Brook Food Services.
County solicitor Orla Deasy spoke about Martin’s invaluable support to the legal department in County Hall. ‘You were always on hand to check a map or a folio, and no issue was ever too big or too small. You have great corporate knowledge of Council property as well as a great memory and will be a great loss to the organisation.’
A tribute on behalf of elected members was paid by Cllr Mary Hegarty.
Present also were Cllrs Deirdre Forde and Susan McCarthy and former councillor Vivian O’Callaghan as well as Martin’s sister Mary O’Shea, Assumpta’s niece Karen and grand niece Edel, Martin’s sister in law Martha Drake and Paul Finn.
Long time colleague Ed O’Connor recalled humorous times working with Martin since 1984 and wished him well.
Returning thanks, Martin Walsh said his working career began in 1976 at MC O’Sullivan consultant engineers in Cork, followed soon after in the Dept of Finance Valuation Office in Dublin.
His next job was with McCarthy and Partners in Dublin headed by Leap man Paddy McCarthy, where he worked on many major projects.
He joined Cork County Council in 1984 where he was welcomed by another Leap man, Donal O’Callaghan. Martin fondly recalled working in Skibbereen, running for the Council in the City Sports and fun times on Floor 8 in County Hall where his mammoth task for many years was setting up the land bank for the whole county.
Manual compilation of property records were to involve countless trips totalling around 800,000km to the Land Registry in Dublin, followed in 1997 by Waterford and other destinations, plus commutes to and from Courtmacsherry.
‘I’ve enjoyed my time in the Council and never once woke up wishing I didn’t have to come in. I leave with fond memories and great friends,’ said Martin, who thanked his colleagues – ‘the real cement’ that keeps Co Hall, together – but especially his wife Assumpta, who he described as ‘patient, adorable and the best’.
‘So, I’ve worked in the private sector, civil service and local government and now I’m off to work for myself,’ added Martin who was given a standing ovation.
Martin will continue to contribute news and photography to The Southern Star and will also continue with his Motorsport column.