Councillor born in mother and baby home becomes Mayor of Co Cork

A councillor who gave a moving account of being born at the Bessborough mother and baby home has been named as the third female Mayor of Co Cork.
Councillor born in mother and baby home becomes Mayor of Co Cork
The newly elected Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley from Youghal. Included are outgoing mayor, Cllr. Ian Doyle and Tim Lucey, Chief Executive, CCC. Photo: Brian Lougheed
The newly elected Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley from Youghal. Included are outgoing mayor, Cllr. Ian Doyle and Tim Lucey, Chief Executive, CCC. Photo: Brian Lougheed

A councillor who gave a moving account of being born at the Bessborough mother and baby home has been named as the third female Mayor of Co Cork.

Cllr Mary Linehan Foley has been appointed Mayor following a unanimous vote by the full council.

Members of Cork City Council listened in silence six years ago when the Independent Councillor told a packed chamber of being born at the home. The facility was run by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary.

Cllr Linehan Foley said she was one of the “lucky ones” having been adopted from the Cork home by loving parents.

Mayor Linehan Foley intends to lead the way in supporting the regeneration of the economy of Cork County by championing local businesses and ensuring that supports are available for tourism, agriculture and fishing.

A mother of five, she follows in the footsteps of her father, the late Paddy Linehan, who served the people of Youghal in the Council for forty-three years.

She is currently Chairperson of Youghal Town Twinning; Chairperson of Community Radio Youghal; a member of the East Cork Garda Youth Diversion Project and Chairperson of Youghal Socio-Economic Development Group.

Cllr Linehan Foley was the first woman to be elected as Mayor of Youghal.

Cllr Linehan Foley said her life had involved many challenges including being a lone parent at a relatively young age.

I feel these experiences have equipped me well for dealing with the trials that one faces in life and has given me the skills and empathy to advocate on behalf of our citizens, many of whom live in challenging circumstances.

Meanwhile, earlier this month Cllr Joe Kavanagh became the Mayor of Cork city.

The Fine Gael councillor works in sales and was previously employed as a tennis coach.

Cllr Kavanagh, who lives in Montenotte on the northside of the city was elected Mayor by a margin of 20 votes to 8.

In his mayoral speech, the new Lord Mayor said his priorities for the year include leading the safe and gradual recovery of the city’s economy, a reimagined Decade of Centeneries programme and fostering environmental awareness in local communities.

Working together we can reignite the glowing embers of our local economy by supporting local business, hospitality and tourism to get back on their feet.

"We, as a Council, had wonderful plans to recognise the many important historical events in this Year of Commemoration. The global pandemic has disrupted these events but I wish to work with the Commemoration Committee and officials to regenerate and deliver as many as we possibly can,” he said.

Outgoing Lord Mayor, Cllr John Sheehan noted some of the highlights of his year in office, including commemorative events, school visits and fundraising events such as the Lord Mayor’s Christmas Concert and Lady Mayoress’ Coffee Morning. He acknowledged the incredible community response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It has been an incredible honour and privilege and I will always be grateful to Cork City Council for electing me.”

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