The County’s first ‘twitcher’ has been elected Mayor of Cork County. West Cork Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan, an avid bird watcher, was voted in after his Fianna Fáil Party struck a deal with Labour and a number of Independents. It is expected that Youghal based Cllr Mary Linehan Foley will take the Chain of Office next, as part of the Independent pact.
The agreement will see Fianna Fáil Cllr Gillian Coughlan from Bandon take the chain in 2021, followed by Independent Cllr Danny Collins from Bantry, followed by Fianna Fáil Cllr Frank O’Flynn from North Cork. The Deputy Mayor is Independent Cllr Martin Coughlan from Macroom.
The ex-Labour County Mayor lost his seat five years ago but returned to contest the May 24 election after he was persuaded by friends to run as an Independent. The Fine Gael Party, who have a two seat majority in the Council Chamber, failed to get sufficient backing for their candidate for Mayor, Cobh born Noel McCarthy.MMCllr McCarthy, who serves on the Fermoy Municipal District for the Party, received 21 votes, Cllr O’Sullivan obtained 27, with 7 members abstaining.
The 55 seat Chamber is currently made up of 18 Fianna Fáil, 20 Fine Gael, 10 Independents, 2 Labour, 2 Sinn Fein, 2 Greens, and 1 Social Democrat. The Sinn Fein Party abstained from voting, stating they preferred the use of the D’Hont system when agreeing a County Mayor. D’Hont is a form of allocating seats in party-list proportional representation. By agreeing the use of this system, Party pacts would no longer operate in Cork County Council when deciding a Mayor over the next 4 years.
Fine Gael have not had a Mayor in Cork County since Cllr Noel O’Connor, who served from June 2013 to June 2014. Mayor O’Sullivan (37) is a Law Graduate from University Limerick, an Environmentalist and a three time Chair of the Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce. A Cllr for the past 12 years he was co-opted to replace his father, Christy O’Sullivan, who was elected to the Dáil in 2007.
The new Mayor has also played an integral role in the establishment of nature tourism in West Cork, operating whale and dolphin watching trips out of Courtmacsherry.
The Clonakilty based Cllr said that, for his term in office, he intends to grow Cork as a go to destination for tourism, while also working at reducing our Carbon footprint.
“It shouldn’t always be about what we can’t do, but what we can aim at doing. “Why not make Midleton the first town in Ireland to have half its shops plastic free and completely refill friendly. These are genuinely the ideas we have to be striving towards.”
As a Council the organisation should look at purchasing hybrid electric vehicles when replacing old ones, and invest in solar panels for new build social houses.”
“I’m not asking everyone to go vegan, but there are tiny little steps we can all take, and follow the lead of the kids we saw outside County Hall” he said.