Lord Mayor sparks war of words for choosing to stay silent in protocol row

The Lord Mayor of Cork sparked a war of words last night after refusing to address guests at the launch of a joint city and county council food promotion strategy yesterday in a row over protocol.

There were tasty treats on offer at the launch, but the outgoing lord mayor, SF Cllr Chris O’Leary, found it hard to stomach he was placed last in a list of six speakers, even behind a British food-marketing expert drafted in for the day to offer advice. He accused the county council, which hosted the event, of ignoring long-held protocols attached to the office of the lord mayor, which dictates the office holder should be the first speaker at any event within the city’s administrative area, trumped only by the President of Ireland.

While the event was hosted in the county council’s headquarters, County Hall, the building is within the city boundary.

“I attended the event out of respect for the strategy, but I didn’t speak at it. This isn’t about ego. This is about respect for the office of lord mayor,” said Mr O’Leary, as he left just after the main course of speakers.

Mayor of Cork County, Cllr John Paul O’Shea, found Mr O’Leary’s claims hard to swallow.

“I have the utmost respect for the office of lord mayor, and for the current mayor, on a personal level,” he said, but he added that, given the County Hall was the venue, as mayor of Cork County and event host, he was entitled to deliver the opening address.

He said the lord mayor had declined the offer to speak secondly, and was then asked to address guests lastly, to close the event.


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