Dublin, Cork and Limerick elect lord mayors

CITIZENS of the country’s three main cities had new lord mayors elected last night.

In Dublin Labour Party’s Paddy Bourke assumed the chain of office.

The Artane father-of-three received 31 votes, which beat off Sinn Féin’s Robert Sargent (10 votes) and Fine Gael’s Naoise O’Muiri (nine votes).

Mr Bourke, a community employment supervisor, narrowly missed out on election last year.

He was first elected to the council in 1991, lost 1999 and retook the seat in 2004.

He said: “I am delighted. It is a great honour to be elected lord mayor and every member of Dublin City Council would do everything they could to get it.”

Cllr Ann Carter from Donaghmede, also a Labour councillor, was voted the new deputy lord mayor.

In Limerick, barman Ger Fahy was elected mayor at a meeting last night.

The Fine Gael councillor, who works in the Spotted Dog in Janesboro, was elected unopposed.

Mr Fahy, 54, was first elected to the city council in 1985.

A group of teenage skateboarders mounted a flying protest outside the meeting.

They demanded to know why a €125,000 grant for a skateboard park has not been spent for two years.

Mr Fahy said: “My main priority will be tackling social exclusion and in doing so support the Fitzgerald report and Brendan Kenny who took up duty today as chief executive of the two regeneration boards in Southill and Moyross set up as a result of the Fitzgerald report.”

In Cork, a former local authority official and administrator in University College Cork became the city’s figurehead.

Fianna Fáil’s Donal Counihan, 66, was elected by 22 votes to three, benefiting from the formalities of the long-standing Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael/Labour Party pact.

The Blackrock-based father-of-three first joined the council in 1979 and last night took the chain of office as his wife Breda became lady mayoress.

Minutes into his new roll, her husband told the public craning from the balcony that community life will be top of his agenda.

“There are warning clouds gathering on the horizon regarding the effectiveness of their (community groups) future role and the voluntary input which motivates their membership. It would be my intention to fully address these issues,” he said.

The meeting was avoided by Socialist Party councillor Mick Barry in protest at the salary the city’s first citizen will enjoy.

Mr Barry did not join the Green Party and Sinn Féin in voting against Mr Counihan. The two parties also opposed the successful election of Fianna Fáil’s Terry Shannon as deputy lord mayor.

In Waterford, Fine Gael’s Mary O’Halloran was elected the first female mayor of the city.

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