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Mayor of Australian local authority welcomed to Tullamore

27th July 2017

Camilla McLoughlin

THE Mayor of Inverell Shire Council in Australia, Cllr Paul Harmon, his wife Anna, son Daniel and fiance Rachel Dennison, were welcomed to Tullamore Municipal District offices last Thursday afternoon, by Leas Cathaoirleach, Cllr Declan Harvey, Cllr Frank Moran and Town Manager, Sean Murray.

In his speech, Cllr Harvey informed the group that Mayor Harmon's great grandfather Martin Harmey, apparently left Killeigh in a hurry in the early 1900's following an incident with the local landlord, Lord Digby during which Lord Digby's driver was unfortunately shot.

The incident is recorded in the King's County Chronicle, but it doesn't name Martin Harmey.

Martin made his way from Killeigh to Australia where he changed his surname to Harmon to avoid arrest for the Killeigh incident and the surname which carried through to the current generation.

''As far as is known there is no direct descendants to the Harmey family in Killeigh, the last of Martin's siblings Stephen Harmey, died in 1947, leaving no descendants,'' outlined Cllr Harvey.

Cllr Harmon was elected as Mayor of Inverell Shire in September 2016. Situated in New South Wales, Australia, Inverell Shire covers an area of 8,623 square kilometres of rich farm and grazing land, including large mineral deposits particularly sapphires. T

he shire includes the town of Inverell and a number of small towns and villages. The population is approximately 17,000 and it is situated 664 kms north of Sydney and 437 kms from Brisbane.

The council is made up of nine councillors who elect the Mayor and Deputy Mayor every year.

The councillors are elected by residents and rate payers every four years. The local government system is similar to the Municipal District of Tullamore, in terms of population and number of elected members.

Cllr Harvey noted that its budget included a provision for Bushfire Equipment Upgrades, to which he said ''it's flooding here that can be an issue.'' Town Manager, Sean Murray interjected saying ''we have verbal bushfires''.

Speaking afterwards to the Tribune, Mayor Harmon described Tullamore as a ''beautiful town.''

He went on: ''It's like coming home, I suppose because we've got ties to the community all be it a little bit shady, but certainly it has a similar feel to it. I think being close to Dublin it has a bit more metropolitan feel about it compared to Inverell where we have a bit more of a country atmosphere. That's the great thing about it, it's a busy town and it's similar in size but it just seems busier in Tullamore.

We mine sapphires and we have a large argri business, and a large export abattoir. We export a lot of beef to China. We have a mixed and diverse population, a very multi cultural community. I preside over a number of citizenship ceremonies when people take out Australian citizenship. In my time as Mayor from 2012, I've conducted 138 citizenships across 15 different nationalities.

After the ceremony, the Mayor was presented with a bottle of Tullamore DEW whiskey and a local authority tie, while his wife Anna was given a scarf and brooch.

In return Mayor Harmon presented a vase, cufflinks and pins to the Tullamore MD.

They then enjoyed some refreshments.

While here the Mayor has gone back to his roots and he and his family are staying at the home of Andrew and Breda Dooley in Killeigh.

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