Limerick votes to create dual-mayor council system

Limerick’s City and County Council yesterday voted to create a second mayor’s role in a move to end confusion over chains of office.

Following an amalgamation process, a new council of 40 members was headed by Fianna Fáil councillor Kevin Sheahan, who had been elected cathaoirleach.

However, 21 members also sit on a metropolitan district body which is chaired by Fine Gael councillor Michael Sheahan, who holds the office of Mayor of Limerick.

Following a divisive vote yesterday, the council backed a motion to replace the title of cathaoirleach with the title Mayor of the City and County of Limerick.

Following the vote, Kevin Sheahan’s title changes from cathaoirleach to Mayor of the City and County council, while Mr Sheahan continues to use the title of Mayor of Limerick.

Council chief executive Conn Murray said there had been confusion over the titles cathaoirleach and Mayor of Limerick since the council was elected.

Mr Murray said the titles, in Irish or English, are fixed in law but the choice was the council’s.

The office of Mayor of Limerick, he said, would now co-exist with the title Mayor of City and County of Limerick.

Fianna Fáil’s Michael Collins said the change from cathaoirleach would remove confusion over the titles.

However, some council members raised objections to the change, with Sinn Féin councillor Séighin Ó Ceallaigh saying having two titles of mayor would cause more confusion.

Fine Gael’s Daniel Butler said it was important to retain an Irish title such as cathaoirleach, and doing away with it would further diminish the Irish language in the council.

He said there should be further consideration of any move to remove the title.

Michael Sheahan said more time should be given to the proposal so they could arrive at a truly democratic decision What they were now embarking on, he said, was an historic decision and more time should be given to any change in protocol.

He wanted to arrive at a decision on which everyone could agree. On a vote, the proposal was carried by 23 votes to 12 with two abstentions, while the remaining members were not in attendance.

More in this section