Sinn Féin secures Lord Mayor position for Easter 2016

County councils elect mayors and deputies

Cllr Kevin Sheahan (right) after being elected cathaoirleach of the new Limerick City & County Council, at the University of Limerick Concert Hall. Photograph: Don Moloney/Press 22

Cllr Kevin Sheahan (right) after being elected cathaoirleach of the new Limerick City & County Council, at the University of Limerick Concert Hall. Photograph: Don Moloney/Press 22

Sat, Jun 7, 2014, 01:00

The formation of ruling coalitions on county councils yesterday, as well as new mayors taking up their chains of office, saw the changes ushered in by last month’s local elections come into effect.

A Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Dublin will preside over the 1916 Rising centenary commemorations in the capital alongside the President and the Taoiseach, after the party succeeded in forming a ruling coalition on Dublin City Council.

Mansion House protocol stipulates that the mayor comes second only to the President at official ceremonies, making the office holder technically on a par with the Taoiseach.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Fine Gael pulled out of negotiations on the rotation of the role of Dublin mayor because of the uncertainty around reductions in property tax and commercial rates.

The local authority deals also saw arrangements between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, as well as others, in Kerry, Limerick, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and Fingal to secure governing majorities. However, in other councils, such as Louth, parties came together to keep Sinn Féin from office for the next five years.

Dublin City

Sinn Féin will hold the position of Lord Mayor of Dublin for the 1916 centenary commemorations after negotiating a ruling coalition on Dublin City Council. Christy Burke (Ind) was elected Lord Mayor for 2014-2015 yesterday, but a planned arrangement, whereby the position would rotate between the five largest group- ings on the council, collapsed after Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil pulled out of negotiations.

Instead, Sinn Féin, the largest party on the 63-seat council with 16 seats, has entered into coalition with Labour, the Green Party and 11 Independent councillors.

The agreement will see Sinn Féin and Independents holding the mayoralty for two terms each with Labour holding it for a single term.

In a statement, the coalition, calling itself the Dublin City Alliance said it would commit itself to reducing the burden of the local property tax “subject to the powers available”. It would also commit “to continuing the previous council policy of not increasing commercial rates and, where possible, decreasing them”.

Sinn Féin councillor Larry O’Toole was elected as deputy Lord Mayor.

Fingal

Fingal’s new mayor Mags Murray (Fianna Fáil) said she would fight to retain courthouses in Balbriggan and Swords, which are under threat of clo- sure. Ms Murray was elected after members of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and some Independents united to give her 21 votes out of 40. Fine Gael councillor Ted Leddy was named deputy mayor.

Outgoing mayor Kieran Dennison of Fine Gael took a swipe at “poorly thought-out” proposals to have a directly elected mayor in Dublin, and commended the courage of councillors who voted it down.

Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown

Fine Gael councillors have taken the positions of cathaoirleach and leas cathaoirleach in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.

A voting arrangement involving Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party saw Fine Gael’s Marie Baker elected to the chair for the second time. Her party colleague Brian Murphy was elected leas cathaoirleach, again with support from Fianna Fáil and the Greens.

Ms Baker easily defeated Victor Boyhan (Ind) and Lettie McCarthy of Labour. She received 22 votes from the expanded 40-member council while Mr Boyhan received 11 votes from other Independents, People Before Profit councillors and Sinn Féin. The Labour candidate was supported only by party colleagues.DAN KEENAN

South Dublin

Sinn Féin councillor Fintan Warfield was elected as the new mayor of Dublin South County. There are 40 councillors in the new council.