The new Lord Mayor of Cork has vowed to build bridges between communities across Cork city, writes Eoin English.
Northside Fianna Fáil Cllr Tony Fitzgerald was speaking this evening after being elected during the annual general meeting of Cork City Council.
Nominated by FF Cllr John Sheehan, and seconded by FG Cllr John Buttimer, he was elected 25 votes to four, defeating the only other nominee, Worker's Party Cllr Ted Tynan, under a pact arrangement between FF, FG and SF. He was supported by votes from Independents.
Cllr Fitzgerald's party colleague, southside Cllr Fergal Dennehy, was elected deputy mayor.
Mr Fitzgerald praised outgoing mayor, FG Cllr Des Cahill, for his work over the last year.
In a wide-ranging speech, the new mayor said he hoped to progress the delivery of a Northern Ring Road, and build on the city's designation as a Healthy City and a UNESCO Learning City. He also said he hopes to build bridges between the city's various communities.
"Not the bridge of ‘bricks and mortar, or steel components’ connecting one bank of the river to the other, but a ‘citizen’s bridge’ connecting different ‘peoples’ in our city, one to the other, and to wider Cork," he said.
"My vision is to help build an even more inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable city of the future - a city that continues to make connections locally nationally and internationally."
Mr Fitzgerald, 57, who has lived in Knocknaheeny for over 40-years, was first elected to Cork City Council in 2004 in the then five-seat north west ward. He was reelected in 2009 in the reduced four-seater ward and again in 2014, coming second in the poll.
He has been employed for several years by the HSE as a community support worker on the city's northside, working with a range of youth and active ageing groups.