Local legend retires from Dun Laoghaire Rathdown county council

by Rebecca Ryan
Philomena Poole Chief Executive Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Tom Byrne Credit: Margaret Browne

After four decades of service to local government, Tom Byrne from Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, is retiring.  

Described as a “local legend” Tom was recently honoured at a farewell party at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire.

Guests included Tom’s wife Christine, his daughter Jenny, elected members past and present, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, and many of Tom’s work colleagues.

Paying tribute to Tom Byrne, the Minister said: “Tom has been a legend in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, he is totally respected by the public and public representatives alike.

“I am very glad to have known Tom in my professional life. He represents everything a public servant should, and he will be impossible to replace.”

Tom began his career in local government 40 years ago in Dun Laoghaire Corporation, which later became Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

A very young, green-fingered, Tom started his career as a junior gardener. He was then elevated to the position of Grade 1 Gardener.

Tom worked with many committees during his career, including the Tidy Towns, Residents’ Associations, Community Groups, Estate Management companies, DLR Golf Society and the DLR HUG, just to name a few.

Looking back over the last four decades, Tom said one of the highlights of his career was the restoration of the People’s Park.

Tom said seeing the lodge, the restaurant and the park itself being restored, and also the development of the promenade is something he will always be proud of.

He also recalls his team discovering two covered fountains in the park. He said they were hidden for about 70 years, and within a short space of time, Tom and his team had them working again.

Another career highlight for Tom was The Flower Show which took place in the People’s Park. He said: “It was a great success. It was really very special. It brought various communities together.”

Tom is described by colleagues as very much ‘a people person’, with an open-door policy.

He certainly is a very modest man and takes no credit for his career achievements, telling Dublin Gazette “it’s all about team work”.

Speaking on his retirement, Tom said it is bitter sweet retiring as he loved his job very much.

Tom with his family

Tom with his family

Even though Tom will miss working with the council, he is also looking forward to spending more time with his family.

He said: “Myself and my wife Christine get on so well. We’re married over 40 years and together at least 50 years.

“I have two amazing grandchildren Keane and Alex who are five and two.

“And I have a very special daughter and son in law. He plays golf and I play golf, and unfortunately, he’s a better golfer than me! But maybe with the time I have free I’ll try to catch up to be nearly as good as him!”

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