History made as Cork elects youngest mayor

HISTORY was made when the largest local authority in the country elected its youngest ever mayor.

Fine Gael Councillor Tim Lombard, a 35-year-old married father of two from Minane Bridge, was elected Mayor of Co Cork yesterday.

In another historic move, Fianna Fáil decided not to put a candidate into the mayoral race for the first time as Labour declared it would support Mr Lombard, who was elected unopposed.

He was co-opted onto the council in 2003 after Simon Coveney was elected to the Dáil.

Cllr Alan Coleman, the leader of Fianna Fáil on the council, said the party wouldn’t put up a candidate because it was engaging in “new politics”.

Mr Lombard took over the chain of office from Kevin Murphy, another Fine Gael member.

He said his primary aim would be to get the council more engaged with the business sector in the hope of sustaining and creating jobs in the region.

Cllr Noel Collins (Ind) was proposed as deputy mayor, again unopposed.

The longest serving councillor, who was elected in 1974, said he would accept the honour only if another Independent, Cllr Declan Hurley, was allowed the title for the second half of the yearly term. This was passed by members.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil Cllr Terry Shannon, 49, who represents the city’s south-east ward, was elected Lord Mayor of Cork last night under the terms of a mayoral pact between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour.

He was elected by 19 votes to seven, defeating Cllr Fiona Kerins (SF), the youngest member of the council.

Northside Cllr Tony Fitzgerald (FF) was elected deputy lord mayor.

During the course of a wide-ranging speech, Mr Shannon said he plans to overhaul the council’s standing orders — the rules which govern how council meetings are run.

“The recent unruly behaviour has no place in a democratic forum,” he said.

“The revised standing orders must impose sanctions on those who would bring this council into disrepute.”

He is also planning to convene a jobs forum to develop practical proposals to protect existing jobs and create new jobs. He plans to pursue the redevelopment of Páirc Uí Caoimh, and he wants to organise an indoor bowls tournament for senior citizens in City Hall.

He pledged to prioritise the revamping of City Hall to mark the 75th anniversary of its opening, develop a mayoral and civic museum in City Hall, encourage school visits to the historic building and other civic institutions, build on the city’s tourism potential and secure a conference centre.

He paid tribute to outgoing mayor, Cllr Michael O’Connell, for his year in office, and, in particular, for opening up City Hall to civil marriages, and for his hosting of the historic visit of Queen Elizabeth II.

First elected to city council in 1999, Cllr Shannon, who drove the official car for Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin during his term as lord mayor of Cork in 1992-93, was watched last night by his wife, Ursula, and their children, Robert, 20, Conor, 16, Katie, 14, and Emily, who was celebrating her 10th birthday.

Picture: Outgoing Mayor of Co Cork Cllr Kevin Murphy gives best wishes to incoming Mayor, Cllr Tim Lombard. Picture: Larry Cummins



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