A family affair as TDs pick siblings to ‘guard patch’ in Cork County Council

Picture: Martin Walsh

Of the six newcomers co-opted onto Cork County Council, three are siblings of councillors elected to the Dáil.

Six councillors triumphed in the general election and had to vacate their council seats. However, three of them will have close relatives watching their home patches while they are in Dublin.

Two political dynasties have their bloodline continued in County Hall, in particular the Moynihan clan from Ballyvourney. Aindrias Moynihan (FF) won a seat in Cork North West and he is replaced on the council by his sister, Gobnait.

The social care worker was heavily involved in her brother’s election campaign and previously campaigned for her father, Donal, who won several terms in the Dáil. If Gobnait, or any other member of the Moynihan clan, manages a few more years on the council they will set a remarkable 100 years of unbroken service by the family on the local authority.

Another Fianna Fáil political dynasty has ensured it will keep a presence on the local authority for the forseeable future. Kevin O’Keeffe’s elevation to the higher house — representing Cork East — has paved the way for his sister, Deirdre O’Brien, to take over in County Hall, just as Kevin did when his father, Ned, was elected to the Dáil in the early 1980s. She works for Laya Healthcare in Little Island.

A third co-option might signal the start of a new political dynasty. It’s been a meteoric rise for Michael Collins (Ind), who was only elected to the council in 2014 and now finds himself in the Dáil as a TD for the Cork South-West constituency. His brother, Danny, 40, who replaces him, runs the Boston Bar in Bantry.

Margaret Murphy-O’Mahony (FF), who was also elected in the same constituency, is being replaced by Gillian Coughlan, who lost the nomination race against her to contest the general election. A former Bandon town councillor, Gillian teaches at Coláiste an Phairsaigh, Glanmire.

Sinn Féin got two councillors into the Dáil: Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, and Pat Buckley. The former is replaced by Eoghan Jeffers, 27, who lost his job as a mechanic during the recession. Danielle Twomey, a part-time student in CIT, takes up the latter’s seat.

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