Fine Gael Councillor Jim Daly gave up teaching shortly after being elected to Cork County Council in 2004 to concentrate on politics and he saw that effort rewarded yesterday when he took over the office from Cllr Derry Canty.
The 37-year-old, who lives in Clonakilty, topped the poll in the Skibbereen electoral area during last year’s local elections, comfortably exceeding the quota on the first count. Yesterday his efforts were rewarded by his colleagues in County Hall when he was elected as Mayor of Cork County.
A delighted Cllr Daly received his chain of office watched by his Estonian wife Virge and sons Daniel, Denis, Conor and Ciarán.
He declared that building tourism and business would be his main priorities during the coming year.
Cllr Daly also expressed the desire to see the setting up of a film commission in Cork to promote the county as an attractive destination to shoot films.
Fine Gael’s Cllr John O’Sullivan, also a member of the Skibbereen Electoral Area, was elected deputy mayor.
Meanwhile a Labour Party councillor is to head up Kerry County Council.
Delivery truck driver Pat Leahy, 59, from Moyvane was elected mayor of Kerry. He has been a Labour councillor since 1991. He was yesterday elected unopposed in succession to Fine Gael Councillor Bobby O’Connell.
A pact between FG and Labour, who between them hold a majority on the council, ensures the parties will alternate the mayorship during the council’s five-year term.
Killarney-based Labour Ccuncillor Marie Moloney was elected vice-mayor, also unopposed.
Former Labour party leader Dick Spring was in the Kerry County Council chamber, in Tralee, to see the party taking the chair for the first time since 1972 when the honour went to the late John Joe O’Sullivan, from Ballyheigue.
Mayor Leahy, a married father-of-four, listed the tackling of the unemployment problem and the provision of broadband throughout Kerry among his priorities.